Joey Gallo on critics for not hitting against shift: 'They wouldn't step in the box and do it, I'll tell you that much'

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Joey Gallo has been a source of frustration for many fans since he was traded to New York last summer not just because of his immense struggles at the plate, but because of Gallo’s inability, or refusal, to take advantage of the vacant left side of the infield.

Gallo’s pull-hitting tendencies leave teams to stack the right side of the infield against the lefty Gallo, who faces a heavy shift in every at-bat. Gallo has never been shy about voicing the difficulty of hitting against the shift with the quality of today’s pitching in the majors, and how he knows who he is as a hitter and won’t shy away from that.

Talking with ESPN’s Jesse Rogers, Gallo doubled down on those comments, particularly towards those who criticize his lack of hitting to the opposite field.

“Everybody wants you to go the other way," Gallo told Rogers. “I don't think people who say that realize how hard the game is. They wouldn't step in the box and do it, I'll tell you that much.”

Only 8.3 percent of Gallo’s grounders have gone to the opposite field this season, and 16.7 percent of his line drives, per FanGraphs. Across his career, he has hit just nine percent of his grounders and eight percent of his line drives the opposite way. Gallo says making an adjustment is hard after not facing many shifts during his time in the minor leagues, where he developed a tendency to play to his strengths before defensive adjustments took a large part of that success away.

“It's tough to adjust to it because it wasn't a thing in the minors,” Gallo said. “Over time it's gotten more extreme and more effective. From a hitter's standpoint, it's something that could be changed.”

If it were changed, Gallo would certainly be one of the beneficiaries, though he has struggled to even put the ball in play much this season. But staring at a more open right side of the field may help in that area as well.

“I think,” Gallo said. “It opens up a whole new f-----ing world for hitters.”

Follow Ryan Chichester on Twitter: @ryanchichester1

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