Maybe nobody expected Jose Medina to hit three home runs on Saturday, but the monster performance did not come as a total surprise to his coaches.
"He's taking good swings so far. The stats don't show it, but he's put a lot of good work in," Class A Lake County hitting coach Justin Toole said. "You knew he was close to doing some stuff, that he was going to get some good pitches and do some damage. It's a testament to the work he's been putting in."
The Indians outfield prospect was 4-for-5 with five RBIs and four runs scored to power the Captains to a 17-5 whipping of the Lugnuts at Lansing. It was Lake County's first three-homer game since Jesus Aguilar had a hat trick against Bowling Green on April 23, 2011 and the first three-homer performance in the Midwest League this season.
"I was happy for him and I was happy for the team," Captains manager Larry Day said. "I think today was a coming-out situation for our whole offensive squad. They've been putting in such good work, working hard to get into a good spot, physically and mentally, and it doesn't always show in the scoreboard. But if you're there, at our ballpark, at 12:30, 1 o'clock, you can see it."
2017 Minor League milestones
Medina had totaled 12 homers over 174 games, including 60 in the Midwest League last year, and entered the day hitting .167 (3-for-18).
"To me, the biggest thing is just his trust in the work he's been putting in," Toole said. "He's a strong kid with the ability to drive the ball, and he got good pitches and put good swings on them. When you have that situation, good things are going to happen."
The hitting coach, a veteran of seven pro seasons, wasn't surprised to see the 22-year-old native of the Dominican Republic get a jump on his power numbers early in his first full season.
"That's just experience. Anytime a guy gets older, he knows what to expect a little more," Toole said. "Anytime a hitter gets some experience under his belt, his confidence level goes up, and a confident hitter is dangerous."
Medina, a left-handed hitter, pulled all three of his homers to right field. In the second inning, he went yard off Lansing starter and Blue Jays No. 26 prospect Osman Gutierrez for a solo jack. In the seventh, it was a two-run roundtripper off No. 19 prospect Zach Jackson. Two innings later, he victimized Tayler Saucedo for another solo blast. His RBI two-bagger came in the fourth, also off Gutierrez.
"They were trying to attack the zone and he was able to attack right back at them. Earlier, he's been hesitant early in counts. I think he was trying to be too fine with his mechanics. Today, he let himself be a strong, athletic kid." Toole said. "Anytime a guy his three home runs, it's definitely a special occasion, a special moment, but he's a guy who's a strong kid, and when he gets good pitches to hit, these kinds of things are capable of happening."
After Medina's third homer, the benches cleared. Following a 16-minute delay, Lugnuts catcher Michael De La Cruz, Captains second baseman Jorma Rodriguez and pitcher Dalbert Siri -- who never entered the game -- were ejected.
Conner Capel, the Indians' No. 30 prospect, tripled, singled, stole a base, scored three times and drove in two runs as part of Lake County's 14-hit outburst.
Blue Jays top prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. singled, walked and scored twice for Lansing.