After smacking five home runs in the last six games, Syracuse Chiefs rookie first baseman Tyler Moore leads the league in long balls.
Meanwhile, his teammate – journeyman third baseman Mark Teahen – stands near the top of International League batsmen with a scorching .367 average.
The 25-year-old Moore hails from Central Mississippi while Teahen, 30, was raised outside San Bernadino, California. Teahen, who bats left, has played for the Kansas City Royals, the Chicago White Sox, the Toronto Blue Jays and the Chiefs’ parent-club, the Washington Nationals. He boasts a career major-league average of .264.
Teahen knocked out four hits Sunday as the Chiefs overwhelmed the Empire State Yankees 7-2 at Alliance Bank Stadium.
After a rain-delay of 53 minutes, Moore – a right-handed hitter – led off the top of the second inning against Yankee hurler Ramon Ortiz and powered an opposite-field solo home run over the right-field wall. It was his league-leading fifth HR of 2012. Moore had homered twice on April 12 against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs in Allentown, Pa.
Now flirting with a .300 batting average – he’s currently at .297 – Moore has contributed 11 runs batted-in.
Chiefs fans can expect more from Moore. He has hit 31 home runs in each of his last two seasons, in 2010 at Single-A Potomac and last year at Double-A Harrisburg.
Another rookie power-hitter, centerfielder Bryce Harper, has yet to take one deep, but he has looked good at the plate drilling three doubles, a triple and five singles over his first 41 at-bats.
While the Chiefs’ lineup has started to heat up, its pitching staff has yet to find its rhythm.
Two starters, southpaw Zach Duke and righty Mitch Atkins each won games last week, but other starters struggled. The bullpen has proved generally reliable after solid outings by Josh Wilkie, Austin Bibens-Dirkx, Atahualpa Severino and Ryan Perry.