It was perhaps the best day of baseball in JJ Bleday’s professional career.
It started with Triple-A Jacksonville’s first game of a doubleheader against Memphis on Friday at AutoZone Park. Bleday, the Marlins’ No. 6 prospect, drew walks in the first and third innings before reaching on an error by Memphis first baseman Luken Baker in the fifth. In his fourth plate appearance, the 24-year-old outfielder hit a towering home run just over the right-field wall to cap the Jumbo Shrimp’s 7-3 win.
And Bleday's night was just getting started. He continued where he left off by leading off the second inning of the second game with another booming home run to right field. He later walked and singled before doubling to center in the ninth. His sixth-inning flyout in the 10-6 win was his only out made in nine plate appearances on the day.
Overall, Bleday went 4-for-6 with two home runs, three RBIs, four runs scored and three walks to lead Jacksonville to a 2-0 record on the day.
“I just stayed aggressive and ready for that first pitch and stayed on time,” Bleday said after Friday night’s games. “That's really it.”
MLB Pipeline's No. 67 overall prospect has been scorching at the plate lately. Through his first 18 games, Bleday was hitting .159/.321/.286 with just two home runs in 63 at-bats. Over his eight-game hitting streak since then, Bleday is slashing .414/.509/.828 with three home runs and three doubles in 29 at-bats.
“I just feel like I've gotten my timing back. I feel free. My swing feels free. I feel aggressive,” Bleday said of his recent hot streak. “I'm sticking to a plan and I'm playing the game pitch to pitch. I'm not worried about the next at-bat. I'm just completely focused on the moment and doing my best to get on base and help the team win.”
Bleday admitted late Friday night that it "was a long day," but the Jumbo Shrimp and Redbirds will be right back at it again Saturday evening in Memphis.