Dragons' Manzanero slugs three homers

Reds prospect becomes fourth in team history to achieve feat

Pabel Manzanero moved into a tie for eighth place in the Midwest League with 12 RBIs in 14 games. (Freek Bouw/Phrake Photography)

By Brian Stultz / MiLB.com | April 23, 2019 11:25 PM

Pabel Manzanero must feel comfortable in the batter's box at Lake County's Classic Park.

The Reds prospect became the fourth player in team history to hit three homers in a game, powering Class A Dayton to a 7-4 victory over the Captains on Tuesday night.

Gameday box score

Manzanero slammed the first pitch he saw from right-handed starter Juan Mota in the first inning, sending a two-run shot over the right-center field wall to put the Dragons on the board.

After striking out in the third, the right-handed hitter again wasted no time in the fifth, pouncing on the first pitch from right-hander Thomas Ponticelli and going the opposite way for a solo homer. Manzanero followed that with another solo blast off Ponticelli in the seventh, this time to left-center.

Manzanero had homered once in 54 at-bats entering the game, but Dragons hitting coach Mike Devereaux knew the long balls would come.

"His average is high and he's been hitting the ball hard all year and been getting hits, so it was only a matter of time before the ball was going to go out of the ballpark," Devereaux said.

Manzanero and his coach both mentioned the same word when it comes to the catcher's at-bats.

"I have the same plan at the plate," Manzanero said. "I work the same every day to get better. I prepare my mind in the box and get ready for the pitch."

"He's a big, strong kid and has the ability to go to all fields. His work ethics are to the point where he works on that," added Devereaux, who spent 12 seasons in the Major Leagues. "He has a plan and he goes about his plan the right way at the plate, which is what you need to do."

For pitchers, the coach said, a hitter's ability to spray the ball to different parts of the field is a nightmare.

"That's the pitcher's worst enemy, to see the ball over the plate and look away and react in, keeping the ball on a low plane as far as hitting line drives and not trying to lift the ball," Devereaux said.

With Manzanero becoming the third player in the Midwest League to record a three-homer game in the season's first month, is there something going on in nation's midsection?

2019 Minor League milestones

"I don't know," Devereaux said, laughing. "But if it is, and you are working with the elements that way, that's the way you have to do it. You don't want to hit the ball hard when the wind is blowing in and get it up in the air."

The 1995 National League Championship Series MVP was sure to give all the credit to his player, not the elements.

"The wind was kind of blowing out, but the one he hit to left field was more against the wind. He hit them all real good," Devereaux said. "The credit goes to him. I'm not going to go and say it was the wind because he's been hitting the ball hard all year."

The 23-year-old from Venezuela had a pair of two-homer games since signing with the Reds in October 2012, most recently with Rookie Advanced Billings last July 24, when he recorded a fourth straight three-hit effort. It was the Dragons' first three-homer game since Byron Wiley had a hat trick in a 20-11 loss to West Michigan on July 5, 2009.

Brian Stultz is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @brianjstultz. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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