Perdomo's unlikely spark has D-backs back in NLCS

October 12th, 2023

PHOENIX -- Out of all the players in the D-backs' starting lineup in their National League Division Series-clinching win over the Dodgers, you wouldn’t have expected to be the one to start a power surge.

Perdomo has hit 11 home runs in two full seasons, with six of them coming in 2023, and he had a .266 xSLG in the regular season, the lowest in MLB among 258 qualified hitters. His last round-tripper came on Aug. 13.

The 23-year-old infielder is an unsung hero for the D-backs. He resided as the ninth hitter for the majority of the season and led MLB with 14 sacrifice bunts. Perdomo was second on the club in walks (64), first in walk percentage (12.9 percent) and fourth in runs scored (71).

“He's an on-base machine,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. “He is very patient. And when he gets on base, he turns it over to the top of that lineup. That's by design when I'm setting up the lineup.

“He's got some sneaky pop, there's no doubt about it.”

It wasn’t a surprise that in his first at-bat in the third inning in Game 3, he showed bunt, as heading into Wednesday, Perdomo was just 1-for-9 in the postseason. But this is the playoffs, where one swing can change everything. And that’s exactly what happened when Perdomo slugged a four-seam fastball from Lance Lynn that traveled 383 feet into the right-field stands.

“Baseball is a team sport,” Perdomo said in Spanish. “One day it’s someone’s turn to go deep, the next day it’s someone else’s. Thanks to God, I was able to get the party started today. But, we’re going to keep moving forward. We’re still working hard and hungry to keep winning.”

Getting the party started is definitely a way to describe it, but Perdomo’s homer was the beginning of history in the making. Ketel Marte, Christian Walker and Gabriel Moreno also went deep as the D-backs became the first team in postseason history to hit four home runs in a single inning.

As a result, Arizona will play in its first NLCS since 2007, and it all started with one magical swing from Perdomo.

“I was so happy for him,” Marte said in Spanish. “He’s a tremendous ballplayer, so it doesn’t surprise me that he had his moment.”

The D-backs' postseason run isn’t over, and that home run merely added to Perdomo’s career year, both on and off the diamond. Last week, his mother watched him play in a Major League uniform for the first time. She took the field with him during the last regular-season game.

His mother also manifested Perdomo making his first All-Star Game earlier this season. After the initial rosters came out, Perdomo was left off the NL team. On July 7, Perdomo got the news that he would be taking the place of the injured Dansby Swanson in Seattle. It was revealed that Perdomo's mother had a dream the week before that he received an invitation to the Midsummer Classic.

That moment meant the world for Perdomo, not just because it rewarded him for all the work he put into his career, from playing baseball in the Dominican Republic to earning his way into the Majors, but also because he got to honor his Latino heritage on an international stage.

He invites people from all over the world to look at this D-backs team as an example of the impact Latinos can have not only in the sport, but in the community, too.

“It’s really important to me,” Perdomo said. “This team has plenty of Latino representation. We’re going to need all the support from Latinos, it doesn’t matter if you’re Dominican or Mexican. This is a place where the culture is celebrated and embraced.”