Homza wraps up successful season of rookie ball in Arizona

September 24, 2017

Jonny Homza baseball

Jonny Homza

Jonny Homza’s first season of professional baseball was a hit.

The Anchorage 18-year-old handled himself well at the plate and in the field for the San Diego Padres rookie ball team in the Arizona League.

The fifth-round draft pick played a team-high 52 games and finished among the Padres leaders in batting average, runs, doubles and total bases.

He also showed off his versatility on defense, playing third base, catcher, shortstop and second base.

Homza, of South High fame, turned pro just a few weeks after playing in the high school state tournament. He was drafted with the 138th pick – the second-highest selection by an Alaskan.

The 6-foot, 190-pounder collected two hits and three RBIs in his pro debut.

He was at his best in the middle of July during a career-high seven-game hitting streak when he batted .414 with six doubles.

In early August, he was hitting .288 and settling into a groove.

But fatigue caught up with Homza, who slowed down the last month of the season. He played more than 75 games this summer for the South Wolverines, Anchorage Bucs and Padres rookie team.

Most of his games in Arizona were played in 100-plus degree temperatures.

Yet he still finished as one of the team’s most reliable hitters, batting in the No. 2 spot most of the season.

Defensively, Homza played 24 games at third base, 19 at catcher, four at shortstop and two at second base. Three times he was a designated hitter.

Even though they moved him around, the Padres see him as a catcher.

He held his own behind the plate despite not really playing the position much over his career. He finished with a .992 fielding percentage and threw out 7-of-32 base runners.