The No. 4 prospect of the Miami Marlins, JJ Bleday, made hard contact against the Cincinnati Reds all Tuesday with nothing to show for it. He finally reaped the rewards this Wednesday night, hitting his first major league home run in his second at-bat.
Bleday took advantage of the change at knee height right-hander Luis Castillo, the Reds’ All-Star, for a leadoff HR to right field in the fourth inning at Great American Ball Park. According to Baseball Savant, it would have been a home run in every ballpark except Coors Field:
While the 24-year-old Bleday seemed calm, casual and collected as he rounded the bases, he finally cracked a smile as he reached the dugout and was greeted by coaches and teammates. After flying sharply to the warning track during Tuesday’s 5-0 performance, his first no-hitter since he debuted Saturday, Bleday took it out in his 16th career plate appearance.
In his first matchup with Castillo, a former Marlins prospect who is the best starting pitcher on the Trade Deadline market, Bleday faued a four-seam fastball at 98.2 mph. On the next pitch, he struck out on a 98 mph lofty fastball.
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Bleday, who turned heads in February with a bulky physique, found his power punch in 2022 after hitting just 12 HRs for Double-A Pensacola in 2021. Before his promotion, he racked up 20 home runs at Triple-A Jacksonville. Although his average had dropped (.229), he still had a high on-base percentage (.365) thanks to a keen eye at the plate.