Peoria's Lugbauer homers twice in big day

November 5th, 2021

PEORIA, Ariz. -- was headed back from a vacation in Hawaii and taking some more time off in Los Angeles when he got a phone call from the Braves in mid-October. As their run to a World Series championship continued, they needed to keep Shea Langeliers (No. 2) on their taxi squad and tabbed Lugbauer to replace him in the Arizona Fall League.

Since joining the Peoria Javelinas on Oct. 21 and homering in his first game, Lugbauer has been one of the developmental circuit's hottest hitters. He crushed a pair of homers Friday afternoon, part of a 4-for-5 day that included five RBIs and three runs in a 12-1 rout of the Scottsdale Scorpions.

"I was just enjoying vacation, taking some time off," Lugbauer said. "I found out, I think, five games into the season here. I came out here, and I wanted to play. I wanted to come out here at the beginning of the year, so I'm glad I got the opportunity."

Lugbauer offered one of the better power bats in the college class in 2017, when the Braves drafted him in the 11th round out of Michigan. He spent some time at catcher and third base in his first two pro seasons but has been primarily a first baseman since, starting just one game behind the plate in Double-A this year. He hit .223/.331/.453 with 18 homers in 86 games at that level.

Though Lugbauer hadn't played a game in nearly a month when he got to Peoria, he has had no trouble acclimating to the AFL. He's batting .444/.559/.889 with four homers, 12 runs and 12 RBIs in seven starts and a pinch-hitting appearance.

"It took a couple days to get the swing back, the feeling back," Lugbauer said. "I hit some rounds off the machine. I've been playing this game for a while, so it's definitely an adjustment, and at the same time you go out there thinking, 'I haven't played in a while, so let it eat. Let it go.'"

Lugbauer's first bomb against Scottsdale came on a 91-mph fastball from Red Sox right-hander Connor Seabold (No. 13) and traveled 406 feet with an exit velocity of 105 mph. The second went even further, going 434 feet at 106 mph as he teed off on an 83-mph slider from Cleveland left-hander Matt Turner.

Mariners third baseman Jose Caballero also homered for Peoria. He broke the game open in the sixth with a three-run homer (404 feet, 106 mph) against Twins left-hander Zach Featherstone. Mariners right fielder Zach DeLoach (No. 6) collected three hits, three runs and two RBIs while finishing a homer shy of a cycle.

Phillies right-hander Hans Crouse (No. 4) took over the AFL strikeout lead by fanning five while allowing one unearned run in the first five innings for the Javelinas. All five of his whiffs came on his 85-87 mph cutter/slider, giving him 24 K's in 16 innings as he lowered his ERA to 5.06.

Rays first baseman Curtis Mead (No. 14) extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a fourth-inning single off Crouse and notched two of the five hits mustered by the Scorpions, who dropped to a league-worst 7-14 record. The Javelinas improved to 10-9-1 but remain in last place in the West Division, 2 1/2 games behind the Surprise Saguaros.