No. 6 prospect Loperfido mashes HR hat trick, claims all-baseball lead

April 13th, 2024

Prior to Friday night, sat atop professional baseball’s home run leaderboard alongside three-time American League MVP Mike Trout, among others. Just a few hours and three big swings later, the 24-year-old slugger has sole possession of pole position with nine home runs for Triple-A Sugar Land.

In Sugar Land’s 16-2 rout of Albuquerque on Friday night at Rio Grande Credit Union Field at Isotopes Park, the Astros’ No. 6 prospect started his night with a strikeout. His next at-bat ended in a respectable, 416-foot home run that extended the Space Cowboys’ lead to 3-0 in the fourth inning. But often home runs come in bunches, and that was certainly the case for Loperfido, who hit both his second and third home runs of the night in the seventh inning. The second travelled 440 feet, while the third fell short of that at 420 feet – but also cleared the previously loaded bases. This brought his RBI total for the night to a staggering seven, a career high.

"I try to treat every at-bat the same, but when you have a good game like tonight, I think you’re definitely up there at the plate feeling free and feeling loose, which is typically when good things happen," said Loperfido of his performance.

Early in this season, Loperfido long balls seem inevitable, but that hasn’t always been the case. His single-season high while at Duke was eight, which he reached during his senior campaign. Houston took him in the seventh round of the 2021 Draft but as a player who could hit for average rather than power. That ability didn’t immediately manifest in pro ball. He batted .116 for Single-A Fayetteville in his first taste of the Minors.

In 2022, things started to come together for Loperfido as he had a combined .316 average between Single-A and High-A. But this was just a sign of even better things to come as the left-handed-hitting outfielder/first baseman vaulted up the system in 2023, ending the season at Triple-A and with the title of Houston’s Minor League Player of the Year. He more than doubled his home run total from the year before, hitting 25, five of which were at the Triple-A level.

"I really wouldn’t call myself a power hitter still. I think the power and the home runs come when I stick to my approach and I’m not trying to do too much," said Loperfido.

Power hitter or not, he is on track to blow his 2023 home run total out of the water. It's often said that you can't win an award early in the season, but you can certainly lose it. While he has put his best foot forward, it's also got him knocking on the big league door to Houston.