For any prospect, there are plenty of productive ways to announce your arrival at a new level. Then there is what Hudson Haskin did Sunday.
Haskin, the Orioles No. 16 prospect, achieved the first three-homer game of the year in the Minor Leagues, leaving the yard thrice to lead Double-A Bowie to an 11-6 win over Richmond. Hitting solo shots in the fourth and sixth and a two-run homer in the seventh, Haskin matched the team record, becoming the sixth player in Baysox history to do so.
"I'm very lucky and thankful that I was able to have the day that I did,” Haskin said. “It’s funny, people were asking me: 'Were you thinking about it at all?' Honestly, I wasn’t, because I've never hit two home runs before in a game. I'm not a home run hitter.”
Haskin’s barrage came against three different pitchers. He cleared the Prince George's Stadium wall in center with his first and sent the next two to the opposite field.
"After I hit the first one, I was like, ‘Okay, great, let me stay locked into the game and try and hit something hard and help the team,’” Haskin said. “When I hit the second one, I was like ‘Wow, that's crazy.’"
It was a breakout power surge for Haskin, who hit five homers across 83 games in 2021, his first full professional season. But the Orioles have always seen power potential in the speedy center fielder, who they drafted out of Tulane in the second round (39th overall) in 2020. The 23-year old stood out mostly in ’21 for his combination of on-base skills and speed, stealing 22 bases with an .381 OPS.
Now at Double-A, he’s a part of arguably the largest collection of position-player talent anywhere in Baltimore’s top-ranked farm system, alongside infielders Gunnar Henderson (Orioles No. 3 prospect), Jordan Westburg (No. 6), Joseph Ortiz (No. 15) and others. Westburg also homered Sunday, his second in three games this season.
For Haskin, health was a goal heading into 2022, after he missed the final six weeks of last season with a fractured thumb.
“Since I signed, I’ve been constantly making adjustments, trying to get the most out of who I am as a hitter,” Haskin said. “This offseason, I worked on keeping my posture and allowing my body to be in a better position so I can be athletic and use my hands, which are one of my biggest strengths.”
He also has another, unique secret weapon. Haskin didn’t do anything different Sunday morning prior to the game. But he did mix up his diet a little Saturday night while at Olive Garden with Henderson.
“We shared a cheesecake for dessert,” Haskin said. “And I jokingly said, this has got some hits in it, for sure!’ Now I think that's something I've got to go back to over the course of this year.”
To Haskin, it was kismet. He and Henderson actually ordered a different, off-menu dessert, only to settle on the cheesecake when it was served. Then he woke up and had the best game of his life. The way he sees it, he has little choice but make cheesecake his go-to postgame treat.
The only problem might be staying in baseball shape.
“I’m going to have to save it for special occasions,” he joked.