Yankees prospect Hardman leaves yard three times

Fifth-round pick from 2021 Draft has three multihomer games in past two weeks

July 2nd, 2023

Not even the calendar flipping to July could stop Tyler Hardman.

It’s been a fruitful past two weeks for the 18th-ranked Yankees prospect. He slugged his first multihomer game of the season on June 17, notched another one on Wednesday and, three days later, left the yard three times in the infielder’s first career three-homer game for Double-A Somerset in its 9-5 win.

“Obviously, it felt really good,” Hardman said. “When I was a kid, I definitely would have been trying to hit homers every at-bat, like, ‘Let’s see how many I can get.’ But what really good hitters do, and what I aspire to do, is separate every at-bat from the other, good or bad. I try to be level-headed, not get too high or too low.”

That approach has been working for the 24-year-old, who has been leaving the yard at a torrid pace. He’s clubbed eight dingers in his past 11 games to help put him atop the Eastern League home run leaderboard with 19 overall. He cranked 22 long balls in 111 games last year and is well on his way to shattering that mark in 2023.

The righty slugger started his night with a walk against Bowie hurler Carlos Tavera and later took advantage of the righty when he gave him a pitch to hit. Hardman demolished a middle-middle offering to lead off the fourth frame, sending the ball over the fence in left-center.

His next two at-bats came against righty Ignacio Feliz, whose number Hardman was also about to have. In the sixth, the Oklahoma product crushed a 1-1 breaking ball to left field for his second solo homer of the day, and one frame later, Feliz threw him the same pitch and Hardman slugged it to the exact same part of the park for his third long ball of the day.

“For me, it’s always been my swing decisions. When I’m going bad, I tend to get myself in a hole when I don’t swing at pitches that are really hittable,” Hardman said. “It’s a lot of preparation with my swing decisions; taking swings at good pitches and getting my body in the right spot to see those balls in the right way.”

It’s not lost on Hardman, who was selected by the Yankees in the fifth round of the 2021 MLB Draft, that the franchise that took him was one of the world’s most iconic. When reflecting on his own tendencies to get frustrated by bad results, he noted that the stars of today’s game -- including, of course, Aaron Judge -- rarely display their anger when the results aren’t there.

Hardman is more than confident that if any organization is going to turn him into the hitter he wants to be, it’s the Yankees.

“When I realized that I wasn’t just getting drafted, I was getting drafted by a team that has some of the most iconic history to its franchise, it was a really cool feeling,” Hardman said. “From day one when I showed up, I realized why they were able to do that. They produce and train and get people to perform at higher levels. They do a great job of getting the best out of every player.”

Eight of Hardman’s 19 dingers came in the month of June, and now he’s got three to start July. The California native is hitting .250/.336/.582 on the season with 29 extra-base hits, 27 walks and 40 RBIs in 57 games.