The Cincinnati Reds have signed free agent catcher Rocky Gale to a minor league contract for the 2021 season that includes an invitation to spring training. The soon-to-be 33-year-old catcher has had very limited action in the Major Leagues in parts of four seasons. In both 2015 and 2017 he got 10 at-bats for the San Diego Padres. In the 2018 season he played in three games with the Los Angeles Dodgers, getting two at-bats. During the 2019 season he played in five games for Los Angeles and picked up 15 at-bats. In his 37 plate appearances in Major League Baseball he’s never drawn a walk, struck out 11 times, homered once, and picked up four hits for a .108/.108/.189 line.
Rocky Gale was originally drafted in the 49th round of the 2006 Major League Baseball Draft out of high school by the Royals. That was so long ago that the round he was drafted in hasn’t existed for years. He opted to head to college and was drafted four years later in the 24th round by the Padres out of the University of Portland. He worked his way through the farm system rather quickly for the Padres, reaching Triple-A in his first full season – but despite seeing action in both Double-A and Triple-A over the next three seasons he didn’t get called up until the 2015 season.
In that 2015 season he hit .307/.349/.391 for El Paso, the Triple-A team for the Padres. That followed up a .303/.328/.355 line the previous year in El Paso. He hasn’t been able to repeat that production since. Gale has struggled to hit for much power in his career. In 10 seasons and just over 2700 plate appearances he’s hit 18 home runs as a professional. His minor league line of .263/.306/.333 reflects that there’s not any power, and there aren’t many walks in his offensive game. There aren’t a lot of strikeouts in his career – he’s sporting a 15.3% strikeout rate – but he’s not a high contact guy, either.
While it’s tough to talk about how his framing skills are, or how well he calls a game, we can look at the stat sheet to see that he’s thrown out 36% of opposing base runners in his minor league career.
In 2020, Rocky Gale was at the alternate site with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He didn’t get a call up during the year, but unlike many minor league players, he was on the field every day and participating in game-like situations. With Tucker Barnhart and Tyler Stephenson on the Reds 40-man roster, and Kyle Farmer being an “emergency third catcher”, Gale seems like he’ll be in the running for Triple-A catcher who gets called up if and when an injury takes place during the season.
Rocky Gale Career Stats