Jose Pujols has put together a hot streak that has resulted in four homers in his last six games-including last night’s game when he homered in his third straight game. He now has hit 17 long balls on the season to put him into third place among Florida State League home run leaders. He trails only Daytona’s Ibandel Isabel with 23 and Tampa’s Brandon Wagner with 20 homers.
All-time in Clearwater Threshers history, Pujols trails only former slugger Art Charles who hit 19 homers in 2014 and his current teammate Kyle Martin who also hit 19 last season. Ryan Howard holds the all-time home run record with 23 back in 2003 with when the then-Clearwater Phillies played at Jack Russell Stadium. They were all left-handed bats.
Pujols’s home run last night gave the Threshers a quick 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first. His blast hit high off the back wall of the Threshers bullpen in left. Watch HERE.
He would drive-in his third run of the night on a single to left that would start start a five-run, seventh inning to get the Thresher back into the game to take an 8-7 lead. Watch HERE.
The Threshers would go on to win the game 10-7 and move a half-game behind second-half leading Dunedin Blue Jays in the battle for a final playoff berth. Another important factor in the Threshers streak has been closer Addison Russ. Watch him get the save to go 5 for 5 in save opportunities since coming up from Lakewood, HERE.
The Threshers have won five of their last six games to put them back into playoff contention. The hot streak was started by Pujols when he hit a grand slam against the Florida Fire Frogs last Friday night. In addition to his four homers, he has driven in 12 runs during the last six games.
The only question remains is how much longer will Pujols stay in Clearwater. With 35 games remaining in the season if he stays, he would likely break the all-time Threshers home run record and perhaps challenge Ryan Howard’s all-time Clearwater record.
The Phillies minor league department, known for moving players up and down the system on a moment’s notice, might be tempted to move Pujols up to Reading to finish the season if he continues his hot streak.
The Front Office has challenging decisions to make ahead on the talented right-fielder. Jose will be eligible for the Rule Five draft in December, if he is not protected on the 40-man roster. Do they send him to the Arizona Fall League to help them make that decision?
August will be an important month for the Phillies and Jose Pujols. After all what other MLB team would not want a 22-year-old, right-handed, power hitter for only $50,000 in the Rule Five draft? Especially, one who has hit four homers and driven in 12 runs to lead his team to a 5-1 record over its last six games in the chase for a playoff spot!