Former Crowder and current Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes (Colorado) right fielder Sam Hilliard reached two milestones during Saturday’s game against the Fresno Grizzlies (Washington).
Hilliard knocked his 35th home run of the season and his two RBI Saturday night brought his seasonal total to 101.
On the season, after 124 games, Hilliard hit .264 (130 for 493) with 108 runs scored, 29 doubles, seven triples, 35 homers, 101 RBI, 54 walks and 162 strikeouts, and 21 stolen bases in 26 attempts. In addition, he’s thrown out five runners from right field.
Entering the day Sunday, Hilliard ranked third in the Pacific Coast League in homers, fourth in RBI, 10th in stolen bases, seventh in triples, and first in strikeouts.
Hilliard leads the league in runs scored, by seven over Las Vegas’ Seth Brown.
Hilliard’s 2019 season ranks among the best in franchise history: He already owns the records for runs scored and extra-base hits with RBI and total bases also within reach down the home stretch of the season.
“Definitely in some areas it’s been good,” Hilliard told the Albuquerque Journal. “There’s always room for improvement. In other categories, I feel like I can do a lot better. I think it comes from the work that we put in every day. The coaching staff — our hitting coach Tim Doherty is in there every day grinding with me and making sure I’m doing what I need to be doing.”
The Albuquerque Journal article cites his current manager Glenallen Hill calling Hilliard a clear five-tool player and quotes from Rockies manager Bud Black.
“He’s sort of come on the scene the last couple years as a true player, and there’s still a gap between where he is and the ceiling, so that’s exciting,” Black said in the Denver Post. “What we’re tracking is the strikeouts, to see if that rate can come down more, and it’s been a little bit better lately. Beyond that he plays an up-tempo game — he runs well, he defends, and he’s got the power we’re seeing.”