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Texas Rangers: Nick Williams Shines, Joey Gallo Struggles in 1st Spring Game

Mar 15, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Texas Rangers outfielder Nick Williams (46) celebrates a home run against the Oakland Athletics at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Trey WarrenContributor IIIMarch 16, 2014

The Texas Rangers and Oakland Athletics put on an offensive slugfest at Phoenix Municipal Stadium Saturday.

The AL West rivals combined to score 31 runs and pound out 34 hits in the Rangers’ 16-15 victory. Texas pitchers Colby Lewis and Nick Tepesch both struggled in the game, giving up a combined 13 runs on 14 hits over 4.1 innings.

The real story, however, was the performances of young prospects Nick Williams and Joey Gallo. Both played in their first game of spring training this year but had vastly different outcomes. Both players are ranked in Keith Law’s top 10 Rangers prospects.

Williams did not start the game but was able to leave an impression. The 20-year-old hit two homers in his only two at-bats, the second one tying the game at 15-15 in the ninth inning. He finished the game with three RBI. It was a good sign for Williams in his first sort-of big league game. He also had an assist in right field.

The game went a lot differently for Gallo, however. He started and played the whole game at third base and came to the plate six times. Five of those at-bats ended in strikeouts for the Las Vegas native. He also committed an error at third base.

Feb 17, 2014; Surprise, AZ, USA; Texas Rangers third baseman Joey Gallo during team practice at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The strikeout department is something the Rangers are hoping Gallo will improve on after he struck out 165 times playing for Hickory last season. He committed 20 errors in 2013 as well, posting a .924 fielding percentage for the Crawdads.

Obviously, one game will not tell the complete story, but it is hard to ignore each player’s line in the box score. Gallo was able to put the ball in play just once in six tries, and Williams found the outfield advertisements twice.

At any rate, both players are still playing A-ball and have a ways to go before finding their names on a big league roster.


*All stats courtesy of MLB.com and Baseball-Reference.com

You can follow Trey on Twitter @treydwarren

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