Anthony Gallas is living out his dream of playing for his hometown team. Growing up in Strongsville, Ohio, Gallas was able to watch the Cleveland Indians ever since he was a kid. Now, he’s in Akron, and part of the team that he grew up with, and is starting to settle in at the top part of the RubberDucks lineup.
Gallas, 27, was signed by the Indians as a non-drafted free agent in 2010. He went to high school in Strongsville, OH and then also attended college at Kent State University in Kent, OH. In 2014, he had a breakout season in High-A Carolina where in 58 games he hit .276/.331/.480 with 8 home runs, 21 doubles, and drove in 31 RBI. He was later promoted to Double-A Akron where he become one of the biggest offensive producers on the team. In 73 games with the RubberDucks he hit .293/.337/.536 and clobbered 16 homers, 16 doubles, 2 triples, and drove in 49 RBI. After losing Giovany Urshela and Francisco Lindor to promotions to Triple-A Columbus, Gallas became one of the most important bats in that lineup.
This season hasn’t started off as hot for Gallas as he’s s
cuffled in the first month of the season. In April, he hit .242/.309/.323 without having a home run, and only driving in 5 while hitting 5 doubles. Gallas had also been nursing an injury to his Achilles for part of the end of April.
“Honestly I feel the same. Kind of like tonight where I just lined out a bunch. I’m getting good swings on balls, and not chasing. Hitting balls that I want to hit. I’m getting my best swing off,” Gallas said regarding his slower start.
For Gallas, the biggest tool that he brings to the table is his power. In his career in the minors, he’s hit 43 home runs over seven seasons. That may not look like a lot of power coming from the right side of the plate, but he’s really developed his power over the last two seasons as he hit a total of 24 home runs in 2014.
At the start of the season, the current team in Akron, as a whole, has had a hard time driving in runs. Just like the Indians. Part of that was due to the fact that the top of their lineup wasn’t producing, and missing one of their bigger pieces in that lineup, being top prospect Tyler Naquin. This may have caused Gallas to try and do more then he should have when he was at the plate.
“Anthony, I know, is trying to be the best player he can be, and the best teammate he can be,” manager David Wallace said about Gallas. “He feels a lot of the pressure to drive in the runs, or hit the ball out of the ball park, and those are expectations that we have for him. If that’s what he’s concentrating on, and that’s what he’s worrying about, then that’s not going to do him any good.”
This can happen to a player when their lineup seems to not be producing like it should. Ever since Gallas has returned from his injury though, he has been able to drive the ball a lot better. In his first two games back, he accumulated 4 RBI. Remember, in April he only had 5 total, so two of those came in a matter of two days.
“I just think that I’m getting situations with guys on third base. I don’t think I had a situations before with a guy on third base. Maybe twice in Altoona, maybe opening night? But before that I don’t think I had it. I think the big thing is having Naquin back,” Gallas said.
Having a table-setter at the top of the lineup is nice and all, but bringing Gallas back to the norm is even more important for this RubberDucks team. So far in the month of May, Gallas is hitting .200/.368/.267. He’s already driven in two, but he’s also only got 1 double thus far this month. What’s extremely encouraging to see is that he has 4 walks to six strikeouts. In April, he only walked 6 times. It seems as though he’s starting to settle in at the plate a bit more.
The slow start by Gallas isn’t looking like an issue thus far though. He’s making solid contact with his swings, he’s just not getting his results yet.
“He hit a couple of those balls hard. I think that last ball, in June, is over the batters eye. Just balls aren’t going anymore. He’s going to be fine. He’s swinging it well. There’s no concern there,” Wallace said.
His hits will come, especially as the weather warms up. The cold air in Ohio has really hampered a lot of players and their power. Brandon Moss is a perfect example of that issue in Cleveland right now.
Being in Akron means more to Gallas than just moving up to Double-A with the Indians. Being from the area, his family is also able to come watch him play whenever they can. Last season, his immediate family came to games on almost a nightly basis. That isn’t as much the case anymore.
“My parents and brother and sister live in California, but my other brother is in Korea. My immediate family does not, but my uncles and my aunts and my grandmother come down,” Gallas said.
It’s a pretty cool feeling when you’re not only playing in front of your hometown crowd, but also in front of your family. That make Akron a special place for Gallas.
“It’s comfortable here. Shad does a good job of keeping us comfortable in the clubhouse,” Gallas said. Wally and the whole staff do a good job. The whole front office here does a good production. It’s just a comfortable place to play.”
For Galls, he just needs to keep grinding out the season until things start to go his way. As of right now, he’s starting to really settle in at the plate, and the balls are going to start dropping. Hopefully those balls start to drop over the outfield fence into the bullpen sooner rather than later.
“What did Aaron Rodgers say at the beginning of the season? R-E-L-A-X,” Gallas said. “We just gotta keep working hard every day, and it’s going to work itself out. We’re going to take off.”