BA’s AFL maven Bill Mitchell reports that Athletics farmhand Grant Desme has homered twice again Wednesday. Batting cleanup for the Phoenix Desert Dogs, Desme hit his ninth and 10th home runs in an 11-6 victory against the Peoria Javelinas.
Desme, a second-round pick in 2007 out of Cal Poly, homered in the first inning off Brewers righthander Josh Butler, a three-run shot. He hit a solo homer in the eighth inning off Brewers righty Omar Aguilar for his 10th. Desme, the minors’ only 30-homer, 30-steals performer in 2009, is now just four home runs shy of the AFL record set in 2005 by Brandon Wood, and he’s done his damage in just 12 games.Desme’s success is striking in the context of this decade, when college outfielders frankly have assembled a dismal track record. This is a story idea I discussed with a couple of staffers today and hope to follow up on this offseason, as we wrap the 2000s as a decade. We were discussing our all-college team of the decade, and every infield position as well as catcher has lots of competition.
But we couldn’t think of obvious outfielders, guys who were slam dunks. So I started looking through big league rosters for candidates, knowing the pickings were pretty thin. They’re actually painfully thin; several of the top big league outfielders who went to college actually played infield in college—guys like Ryan Braun (third base), Nick Swisher (first base), Pat Burrell (third base) and Adam Lind (first base) jump to mind.
Desme fits in with some of the college outfielder success stories in that he’s not from a traditional powerhouse school. Some of the better big league outfielders who played outfield in college happened to go to schools that aren’t in power conferences, such as Jason Bay (Gonzaga), Lind and Juan Pierre (South Alabama), Curtis Granderson (Illinois-Chicago), Josh Willingham (Division II North Alabama) and Hunter Pence (Texas-Arlington).
There’s something going on there that will require some research and phone calls. There’s also something going on in Arizona with Desme, which will require some more Bill Mitchell and a closer look during Ben Badler’s upcoming trip to the AFL.
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