Yastrzemski completes cycle in Keys' rout

O's prospect triples in ninth after hitting first Carolina League homer

Mike Yastrzemski is one of two Minor Leaguers with double digits in homers, triples, doubles and steals. (Tracy Proffitt/MiLB.com)

By Mark Emery / MiLB.com | July 5, 2014 11:41 PM

Unaware that he needed a triple to hit for the cycle, Mike Yastrzemski stopped at second base after lacing a ball to right field in the seventh inning on Saturday night.

When he came up again leading off the ninth, the Orioles prospect had only one thing in mind upon making contact.

"I was just going to put my head down and go, no matter what," he said.

Yastrzemski's drive nearly cleared the fence, which was just tall enough to keep the ball in the yard. As it bounced back onto the field, he hustled around the bases, his journey ending exactly where he hoped it would. In his last at-bat of Class A Advanced Frederick's 17-3 win at Lynchburg, the Keys outfielder managed the elusive triple, completing the 12th cycle in the Minor Leagues this season.

"I was laughing," Yastrzemski said, "because I was looking down at the bullpen and the guys were going nuts. They were throwing up the Vandy 'Anchor Down' sign, just messing around with me, giving me a hard time. It was just a great moment, for sure."

The Vanderbilt product finished the evening with a career-high five hits in six at-bats. He singled in the first inning, doubled in the second, grounded out in the fourth, homered in the fifth, doubled in the seventh and tripled in the ninth.

His cycle was the first in the Carolina League this season. The last member of the Keys to hit for the cycle was Jeff Fiorentino, who accomplished the feat on May 2, 2005 against Winston-Salem. Yastrzemski's grandfather, Carl, also cycled during his Hall of Fame career, doing so on May 14, 1965, in a loss to Detroit at Fenway Park.

The younger Yastrzemski had not heard from the Red Sox great after his performance.

"Not yet," the 23-year-old said. "He's probably sleeping."

The homer he hit in the fifth inning, a two-out two-run shot to left-center off reliever Navery Moore, was the first in 15 games at Class A Advanced for the 2013 14th-round pick.

"It was just a first-pitch fastball and that's what I was looking for," he said. "Just put a good swing on it and got lucky.

"It's always nice to get the first one out of the way. A lot of the time, that's the hardest one to get. It kind of frees you up and lets you go out and just relax and play the game and have fun, instead of trying to do too much."

While Yastrzemski did not officially get his triple until the ninth, he should have knocked it off the list in the first. He reached third following his hit to center but was ruled out for failing to touch second base.

"I was looking toward the outfield and I actually tripped going around second base and got called out for missing the bag," the Massachusetts native said. "I guess I should thank the guy for calling me out instead of calling me safe -- I wouldn't have had the cycle."

Between 78 games at Class A Delmarva and Class A Advanced Frederick, Yastrzemski owns a .309/.368/.541 slash line with 18 doubles, 11 triples, 11 homers and 16 stolen bases in 20 tries. He and Cubs prospect Arismendy Alcantara are the only players in the Minors with double digits in each of those four categories.

Additionally, Yastrzemski has 56 RBIs. He drove in a career-high six runs on June 1 for Delmarva.

If that game marked the high point of his Class A career, Saturday must have been his highlight at the next level -- so far, at least.

In that last at-bat, a triple is what he needed and a triple is what he got.

"The guys on the bench were giving me a bunch of hassle for not going for it on the last double that I hit because I had a chance before that, and I wasn't even thinking about it," Yastrzemski said. "I had no idea that I had a chance for it. So once they said that, I just kind of put my head down and ran."

With 17 runs, Frederick set a season high. The Keys scored in every inning except the first and the eighth. Michael Burgess went 4-for-6 with two homers, a double, four RBIs and four runs scored, but he was ejected in the ninth inning after striking out for the second time. First-base coach Shawn Roof also was tossed in the fifth.

Branden Kline (5-3) picked up the win. Baltimore's No. 14 prospect gave up three runs over five innings, fanning five and walking none while yielding seven hits.

Wes Parsons (4-5) took the loss after being tagged for nine runs -- seven earned -- on eight hits over four innings.

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

View More