It’s probably safe to say most Arizona Diamondbacks fans didn’t know the name “Jon Griffin” when they woke up Wednesday morning.
Twenty-four hours later things changed.
Griffin, a first baseman playing for the Double-A Mobile BayBears, uncorked home runs in his final four at-bats, driving in seven runs in a 17-7 win over Tennessee.
In doing so, Griffin became the second player in Southern League history to homer four times in a game, and first since 1969.
Then, the following day, he homered again in his first at-bat.
“It’s kind of crazy, it’s all happening pretty fast,” he told Bickley and Marotta on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Thursday afternoon. “Just seeing the ball well and trying to simplify things up there at the plate, and it’s been paying off for me.”
Five home runs in five straight at bats, with the final blast coming on a different day than the first four. That’s not only historic, it’s really, really impressive.
“Yeah, it really didn’t hit me until I was running around the bases, what I really just did,” he said. “I try to put every at-bat that I have, good or bad, in the past and forget about it and focus on the next one.
“That’s what I did coming into the game, I just wanted to forget everything that happened last night. I got a good pitch to hit my first at-bat on a 2-2 count.”
Seems simple enough, but when you launch homer after homer after homer after homer after homer, well, it’s clear things are going exceptionally well.
And by the time he walked up to the plate for his second at-bat Thursday, it was apparent (and understandable) that Tennessee pitcher Corey Black wanted nothing to do with him.
“They pitched around me,” he said. “I ended up getting to a 2-2 count and I was kind of hoping he’d try to sneak a fastball in there and he ended up bouncing a slider that I swung through. I kind of regrouped after that.”
In parts of four minor league seasons, the 6-foot-6, 230-pound Griffin has hit 66 home runs. Up to this point he’s never reached a higher level than Double-A.
Entering play Friday, he’s hitting .285 with 10 home runs and 28 RBI in 2014, and is a career .287 hitter with 251 RBI.
A former 21st-round draft pick of the D-backs in 2011, his progression through the farm system has been steady, even if he hasn’t exactly gained much notoriety.
And his power is something that comes as no surprise to his opponents.
“I was blessed with a lot of power, and that’s something a lot of people know about me,” he said. “So I kind of have to go up there with a good mindset going to the plate, and if my head is in the right place, then my God-given abilities will take over, and that’s what’s been happening.”
Where he goes from here, though, is yet to be determined. Griffin is 25 years old and would appear to be nearing the point of reaching the big leagues, but with Paul Goldschmidt putting up MVP numbers for the Diamondbacks, there may not be room for another first baseman.
But Griffin isn’t worried about being blocked, so to speak, understanding that a promotion could come with any team in baseball.
“I love the Diamondbacks and everything that they’ve done for me; I’ve learned so much here,” he said. “I can’t really control other people making decisions. Paul’s obviously a stud, that goes without saying, so I just have to come out here every day and just focus, lock in and do my thing.”