This Hickory Crawdads team is quite seriously like no other a-ball team I, or the South Atlantic League has ever seen. They are on pace to easily surpass both the South Atlantic League's single-season homerun and strikeout records for an offense. Through 82 games, Hickory has hit 120 homers (1.5 per game) and fanned 859 times (10.5 per game). Over a full season, that's 205 homeruns and 1,466 strikeout pace. The SAL record for homers in a year is 173 and strikeouts 1,380.
Tuesday, 3B Joey Gallo, who entered the game in an 0-for-20 skid, hit a grand slam off Julian Hilario and a three-run jack off Wanel Mesa. Both were absolutely crushed to right-center, the big part of Historic Grayson Stadium. He also hit a ball to the front of the warning track against Gabriel Ynoa in his first AB that would go out of about 97% of other professional baseball stadiums. Gallo for the night: 2-for-5, 2 HR, 7 RBI. At 19 years old, Gallo now leads all of minor league baseball with 25 homeruns. He's also hitting just .233/.322/.558 overall thanks to 125 strikeouts in 78 games. He's drawn 35 walks, which is fine, but he's striking out in 38% of his plate appearances. He's big (6'5"), strong (205 lbs) with a length in his swing, and he's trying to put the ball over the wall on every swing. It's wildly entertaining to watch.
Ynoa's line: 6.2 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 1 HR - 97 pitches. Two of the runs, he bequeathed to Hilario and with two outs in the seventh and scored on Gallo's slam. He could easily have had a 6.2 inning/2 run performance. Ynoa was far from dominating however, retiring the side in order only once. He did not seem sharp early at all. Still, his sweepy slider is getting better or at least more usable in a-ball. I had notes that it accounted for at least three of his strikeouts (two looking, one swinging). I don't have notes on the three other strikeouts which suggests they were fastballs. Ynoa might not see a lineup with this much raw power and batspeed again until AA. The 20-year-old's two starts against the Crawdads this year: 11.2 IP, 15 H, 9 R, 9 ER, 5 HR, 2 BB, 10 K.
Daily NimmoCF Brandon Nimmo was 1-for-4 with a solid line drive RBI single to left field in the fourth. Philip Evans was thrown out at the plate trying to score from second on the play. Nimmo came to the plate four times, and three times hit the ball to left field, once on a line for a single, once solidly for a fly out and once a softer fly out. The left-hander is very clearly trying to hit the ball the other way regularly: five of his six hits on the team's current homestand have come on the opposite side of the diamond. Nimmo is hitting .167/.245/.167 in 12 games in the second half and .271/.370/.362 overall. There's a pretty obvious contrast with Gallo (who's probably two inches taller and at least 10-15 lbs heavier). Gallo's working on hitting the ball out of the park on every swing, and Nimmo's working on keeping his hands inside the ball and going the other way.