Homza getting extra-base hits, time behind the plate in Arizona

July 3, 2017

Jonny Homza baseball

Jonny Homza

Anchorage’s Jonny Homza is starting to barrel up the baseball in the Arizona rookie league.

The 18-year-old ripped doubles in back-to-back games for his first and second extra-base hits of his budding career in the professional ranks.

Homza, of South High fame, was a fifth-round MLB draft pick of the San Diego Padres in June. His first stop is with the Arizona Padres.

He is batting .227 in eight games with four RBIs and two runs scored. He’s been hitting No. 2 in the order.

But his offense is only half the story.

Homza has held his own defensively in spite of being moved around the diamond and being placed him at two positions – third base and catcher – he didn’t really play in high school.

The two-time Gatorade Alaska Player of the Year grew up playing primarily middle infield in high school and American Legion but did see time at third and catcher with the Alaska Baseball Academy, so it’s not like the move came out of left field.

Catching is probably the most demanding position on the field and players can take a pounding physically. They don’t call the equipment ‘tools of ignorance’ for nothing.

So far, though, Homza has handled the transition pretty well.

He’s played four games at catcher, earning one start. He has one assist and zero errors, although he’s given up four passed balls. He’s allowed four stolen bases without throwing out anybody in 14 innings behind the plate, which isn’t bad given how the whole league knows he’s new to the position.

He’s started two of four games at third base. He’s been a designated hitter twice.