Rangers' Huff has Texas-sized night with bat
Sam Huff’s 60-grade power figures to do a lot of damage from the middle of the Rangers’ lineup at Globe Life Field for years to come. Consider what happened Friday night to be an appropriate first act. The second-ranked Rangers prospect launched his first home run at Texas’ new ballpark
The second-ranked Rangers prospect launched his first home run at Texas’ new ballpark in the second inning of a 5-4 win over the Astros. He followed up the 390-foot solo shot with another dinger in the fifth and finished the night 3-for-4.
Entering this at-bat, four of Sam Huff's past six hits had gone for extra bases.— Minor League Baseball (@MiLB) September 26, 2020
Now it's five out of seven.pic.twitter.com/WtYtiTssHX
No Rangers player had produced multiple homers in any of the club's 58 games this year. Huff did it in his ninth. The only other rookie catcher in Texas history to leave the yard twice in one game was Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who did it on Aug. 22, 2007 in a 30-3 rout of the Orioles.
“[Huff's] obviously still got a long way to go,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward told reporters. “But when you look at how quickly he was able to get comfortable, I don’t like to use the word comfortable too often, but he looks comfortable. He’s calm in the batter’s box. Now what you saw earlier, he was kind of ... all over the place.”
Huff’s first homer of the night -- and his second in the Majors -- came with two outs in the second. Astros right-hander
Urquidy fed Huff strictly four-seam fastballs when the catcher came up again in the fifth, the game again tied after No. 25 Rangers prospect
“It means a lot, if I can help contribute and win a game,” Huff told reporters. “ … I’m relaxed, I’m calm and I understand what I need to do.”
Sam Huff already went deep to left tonight. Now he's gone oppo.— Minor League Baseball (@MiLB) September 26, 2020
Stay tuned to see if he can go center.pic.twitter.com/bVgcZhQx0f
Huff singled off Urquidy in the sixth, grounded out in the ninth against
The strong surge to end the season is a promising sign for Huff, who was selected in the seventh round of the 2016 Draft and had yet to reach Double-A. He began last year at Class A Hickory and hit 15 homers in 30 games, then spent the rest of the season with Class A Advanced Down East.
Huff hit .262/.326/.425 in 367 at-bats in the Carolina League, posting decent power numbers with 13 homers and 17 doubles. He won MVP honors at the All-Star Futures Game, thanks to a 418-foot blast that accounted for the exhibition’s only big fly.
The only drawback of Huff’s power stroke is the number of strikeouts that come with it. He posted a 28.9 percent strikeout rate with Down East last season and has fanned nine times in 29 plate appearances in the Majors. Those numbers won’t matter as much, though, with more games like the one the Arizona native had Friday.
Joe Bloss is a contributor for MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @jtbloss.