This Padres Draft pick once hit a 513-ft. HR

July 19th, 2022

SAN DIEGO -- The longest home run recorded by Statcast at Petco Park was 479 feet. That’s something to keep in mind should Griffin Doersching make his way to the Padres.

Doersching was the Padres’ eighth-round selection in the 2022 MLB Draft, which wrapped up Tuesday with Rounds 11-20. The 23-year-old first baseman out of Oklahoma State University brings raw power and perhaps even more personality.

“It feels like nine years of my life has built up to this moment, in regards to the work I’ve put in,” Doersching said. “It’s taken everything I’ve got to get to this moment, and now I know I’ve got more to go.”

Doersching, a right-handed hitter who’s listed at 6-foot-4, 251 pounds, hits dingers, and he hits them far. His longest recorded one was 513 feet this past season. He also claimed the 2019 College Home Run Derby crown in 2019 while playing for Northern Kentucky University.

At Northern Kentucky, there is a parking lot behind the left-field fence. When Doersching showed up and took batting practice, staff started a pool on how many windshields he’d break. It required a 450-foot poke to put the cars in peril. Unlucky 13 was the number.

Doersching played a game at Parkview Field, home of the Fort Wayne TinCaps, the Padres’ High-A affiliate. He hit a ball so hard it broke a brick.

Doersching even made his mark in Cooperstown as a 12-year-old on a visiting travel-ball team. The All-Star Village field has its version of a “Green Monster” in left field. Doersching cleared that and then some.

“The ball actually carried over the creek and over to the center fielder on the other field, beyond the creek,” recalled his father, Greg. “A 200-foot fence for 12-year-olds, and he hit it like 325. I was like, ‘OK, that was really hard.’”

Youth exploits and the Home Run Derby title aside, Doersching’s power come to the forefront with that 513-foot monster in May against Texas Tech. Doersching took a good look at that one disappearing into the night before getting impressive height on his bat flip, too.

With the bat flips, a blond mohawk and an arm full of tattoos, Doersching is every bit an extrovert. But nothing is done just for attention -- it’s done with intent.

“When something exciting happens, there’s no reason to dull down the excitement of that moment,” he said. “Sometimes, it might get out of control. There’s that fine line of showing up the opponent and firing up your team. Once you learn how to walk that line, there’s more for the fans and more excitement you can add to the game.

“The fans are everything. Without them, you don’t have a sport. So you’ve got to be able to entertain.”

Raw power is Doersching’s most entertaining tool, but few sluggers climb to the big leagues on that ability alone.

“One of the things people are going to be most surprised with is how good of a defensive first baseman he is, how athletic he is,” said his father. “I love watching him play -- I’d rather watch him play defense than hit, as amazing as that sounds, because I certainly like watching the home runs.”

Doersching reached double figures in home runs in each of his four years at Northern Kentucky but went undrafted. Having earned a degree -- and another year of eligibility after the COVID-19 pandemic -- Doersching transferred to Oklahoma State. There, he was tutored by former MLB All-Stars Matt Holliday and Robin Ventura, both Cowboys assistant coaches.

“The biggest thing, for me, with those two guys, is how much they know the game,” Doersching said. “There’s a lot of mental things I took away. Don’t get me wrong -- getting in the cage with Matt Holliday every single day definitely will help your swing. But these guys taught me a lot of mental things about the game, how to overcome, certain approaches at the plate.”

Holliday, in fact, helped point the Padres toward Doersching. The team did its due diligence on Holliday’s son, Jackson, who wound up as the No. 1 overall pick. In the conversations, the former big leaguer mentioned Doersching.

“Matt texted me last night about what a great human and what a great leader Griffin is,” said Chris Kemp, the Padres’ amateur scouting director. “That’s what excited us most. … He’s just a prolific home run hitter with great makeup and leadership.”

It remains to be seen whether that power and personality will lead Doersching to Petco Park. If he gets there, he’ll endanger the bricks of the Western Metal Supply Co. building, as well as Franmil Reyes’ Statcast-best 479-foot homer.