Yanks' Dunham turns on power in 2-HR game

October 27th, 2021

PEORIA, Ariz. -- isn’t known as a power hitter, but the Yankees’ No. 24 prospect does have the ability to drive the ball out of the yard and did so twice Wednesday.

Dunham hit his first two homers of his Arizona Fall League campaign, driving in four runs and finishing 3-for-4 in Surprise’s 5-1 win over Peoria.

“The type of player I am, I’m just trying to have quality ABs and get on base,” Dunham said. “I think that’s winning baseball. I’m not so much into the new wave of hitting a ton of home runs. I want them, I want them to happen, but I feel like those are outcomes from following a smart process and trying to hit the ball hard.”

Using his compact left-handed swing, Dunham repeatedly hit the ball hard against the Javelinas. His first homer traveled 435 feet and had an exit velocity of 109 mph. His second blast left the bat at 103 mph and landed 424 feet from home plate.

“I’m not a big home run threat sometimes,” the outfielder said. “I’m just trying to get barrels, but I did know [those balls were gone].”

After hitting 13 long balls in the regular season between Low-A Tampa and High-A Hudson Valley, including one multihomer performance, Dunham is off to a strong start in Arizona. He's batting .344 with six RBIs though nine games.

The Fall League is often filled with advanced prospects, and after making his professional debut this year, the Indiana has adjusted well to the competition.

“I’m just here trying to have quality at-bats every day,” the 23-year-old said. “I can’t control where it goes on the field, all I can control is swinging at strikes and hitting it hard. Just keeping it simple and staying mentally right with each AB.”

That simple approach worked well for Dunham in the regular season too. The Indiana native posted a slash line of .262/.362/.463 over 93 games. He caught fire in September, hitting .283 with three homers in 15 games over the season’s final month and carried that momentum to Arizona.

“Just doing what I always do, just trying to keep it simple,” Dunham said. “Just hit strikes and not try to do too much with it.”

Owen White continued to impress and improved to 3-0 with another dominant outing. The Rangers’ No. 29 prospect threw 40 of his 68 pitches for strikes and struck out five over five scoreless innings, lowering his AFL ERA to 1.20 with 14 strikeouts through three starts (15 innings).

“He’s been great,” Dunham said. “He’s always a quality outing when he goes out, so it’s nice playing behind him.”

White, a second-round pick from the 2018 Draft, retired 12 of the first 14 batters he faced and didn’t surrender a hit until the fourth. Peoria loaded the bases against the right-hander in the fifth, but he escaped unscathed. He scattered three hits and and two walks over his five frames.

The Saguaros, who have won four straight games, improved to 9-3.

“I’m having a great time, especially with our team,” Dunham said. “We’re really good. So it’s a lot of fun winning and we have a good energy too. It’s been a great time so far.”