Lancaster JetHawks 22-year-old first baseman Chase McDonald stands 6’4″ and weighs 265 pounds and, other than hitting from the right side, looks a lot like Babe Ruth. McDonald hit his California League-leading fifth home run on the season last night to extend his hitting streak to 12 games.
Thursday’s home run in the 11-3 loss to the Modesto Nuts was McDonald’s fifth home run in his last 35 plate appearances. In those eight games, McDonald is hitting the ball out of the park at the rate of one home run per every 4.375 at-bats, a rate that even Ruth, Barry Bonds, and Mark McGwire would envy.
McDonald, who was playing at second base last night, isn’t just hitting home runs; in his last ten games, he is hitting .375 with five homers and 12 RBI. He’s hitting .333 with runners in scoring position, and he’s managed to scored nine runs and even steal a base in that span. Heaven forbid opponents send a lefty to the mound — McDonald is hitting .500 (8-for16) against lefties and an impressive .333 (14-for-42) against right-handers.
If the game is late and it’s close, you want McDonald at the plate. Unlike “the Mighty Casey” who struck out, McDonald is hitting .750 with one home run in that situation.
Now imagine if you will, you have a guy at first base (usually), hitting in the five hole (most of the time), standing in at 6’4′ and 265 pounds (not a typo), leading the league in home runs, while leading his own team in the Triple Crown categories (.379, 5 HR, 14 RBI) with a .415 OBP. Imagine letting this slugger bat leadoff.
Crazy? Maybe not, if you are stat geek playing Billy Beane or Jeff Luhnow baseball, because McDonald is hitting .571 (8-for-14) with two home runs and two walks (.625 OBP) when leading off an inning at the plate.
Drafted by the Astros in the 12th round of the 2013 Draft out of East Carolina University, the big man with quick hands, who does not appear on any Top Prospect rankings, is putting up Ruthian numbers well under the radar this month, en route to what could be his first Astros 411 or Houston Astros organizational “Player of the Month Award.”
Watching the big man play this month has been worth the price of admission. Check him out.
I’ll see you at the ball park.