Big blast, day for Bleday at Arizona Fall League
Marlins prospect JJ Bleday on Monday had three hits, including a home run, as he continues to show promising signs at the Arizona Fall League
By Joe Frisaro @ManOn2nd
SURPRISE, ARIZ. — It’s only eight games, but still there are plenty of encouraging signs for JJ Bleday at the Arizona Fall League.
The Miami Marlins outfield prospect is off to a hot start for the Mesa Solar Sox.
Monday afternoon was another big day at the plate for the left-handed hitting left fielder, who went 3-for-4 with a home run, two RBIs, two walks and two runs scored.
The lone out Bleday had on the day was a well-struck line drive to left field.
ManOn2nd was on hand, and spoke with Bleday before the game. The full interview is on the 5 Reasons Sports YouTube channel (below).
The Fall League is considered the “finishing league” for prospects on the cusp of being big league ready.
For Bleday, the experience in the desert also is another opportunity to make adjustments and gain additional game experience.
“Cleaning up my swing path and making sure I’m trusting myself, trusting my hands and getting into a good spot to hit,” Bleday said.
Even before his big game on Monday, you could see Bleday was striking the ball with authority in batting practice. It carried over into the game.
In his first plate appearance, he walked. His next time up, Bleday crushed Washington Nationals’ prospect Cole Henry’s 95 mph fastball for a no-doubt, two-run homer to right field. The exit velocity was 106 mph.
Through his first eight games in Arizona, Bleday is hitting .367 (11-for-30) with an OPS of 1.058. He has two doubles, a homer, eight RBIs and six runs.
The fourth overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft, Bleday has responded nicely after striking out four times in the first AFL game. Entering Tuesday, he has seven strikeouts and 10 walks.
The AFL also allows Bleday to work daily with Phil Plantier, the Marlins’ Triple-A Jacksonville hitting coach, who is on the Mesa coaching staff.
Bleday projects to start off 2022 at Triple-A.
The Fall League also is providing Bleday the opportunity to end 2021 on a high note after he endured a frustrating 2021 at Double-A. With Pensacola, he batted .212 with 12 home runs and 54 RBIs. Signs of improvement came in September, when Bleday picked things up in his final 13 games in September, batting .311 in that stretch.
“There were a lot of growing pains,” Bleday said. “But I think it was all for the better. Facing it head on, and learning from it is the best experience you can get from it.”