One of baseball's more lighthearted traditions at the beginning of the season has become pointing out that this or that team -- on the basis of a 1-0, or 2-0 record -- remains on pace to go a perfect 162-0.
Well, based on two games and 10 plate appearances, Anthony Aliotti of the Midland RockHounds remains on pace to go the entire season without making an out.
The Athletics prospect constructed his second straight perfect night at the plate Friday, going 4-for-4 with a homer, double, three RBIs and a walk in Midland's 10-3 road win over the Northwest Arkansas Naturals.
The effort built on his Opening Day performance, when he went 2-for-2 with a double, two RBIs, three walks and a run scored.
"Never had [a groove like this] at the start of the season, no," Aliotti said, laughing. "I'd say I'm getting good counts, seeing the ball real well. You don't expect to see it like that the first couple games, you're a little hyped up, but I'm seeing it well, getting good counts."
The 25-year-old first baseman starred for the RockHounds last season, hitting .292/.385/.426 with 10 homers, 29 doubles and 76 RBIs in 123 games. He walked in roughly 13 percent of his plate appearances, and it's that patient approach that's allowed him to start the season by reaching 10 straight times.
"First and foremost, it's gotta start with his selectivity up there," Midland manager Aaron Nieckula said. "He's got a professional approach, he tries to get his pitch, get in a hitter's count, and when he does get a pitch he's putting a good swing on it.
"He leads his teammates with his observations of the game, he's ready to play every day, tries to make himself better as well as his teammates. And I know he's in that cage every day, in there trying to perfect his feel for it."
Aliotti has built his career on that selective approach to hitting. In 2011 with Class A Advanced Stockton, he hit .276 with a .392 OBP. A year earlier with Class A Kane County, where Nieckula also managed him, it was a .278/.397 split.
"When I get guys in scoring position, less than two outs, if it's there, I'm gonna put a swing on it," the St. Mary's College product said. "If I'm leading off an inning or there's no one on, depending on the situation, I'll wait for a pitch. If it is there and I'm seeing it well, then I'm gonna put a good swing on it then, too."
It's not a stretch to suggest that if Alliotti can maintain a few hot weeks and build off his solid 2012 season with Midland, a call to Triple-A Sacramento may not be far off.
"I'd love to [move up], if that's what happens," the 2009 15th-round Draft pick said. "Hopefully, your performance on the field turns some heads and gets your name in the conversation here and there, but as far as getting to me, it doesn't affect me. But, yeah, I would love to get to the next level."
Jeremy Barfield added a solo shot and Chad Oberacker tripled and drove in three runs for the RockHounds.
Mitch Canham led the Naturals with three hits, including a double, and an RBI.