Hitting three home runs in one game is an accomplishment not to be ignored. For a left-handed hitter to hit three in one game all off of left-handed pitchers makes the feat all the more impressive. But in the case of High Desert's Joseph Dunigan, the enthusiasm certainly needs to be tempered.
If you look at the box score from last night's game where Dunigan did his damage, you'll see that his three blasts gave him just eight round trippers and only 16 RBI on the season. What has he been doing all season you ask? The answer is he has been struggling.
Dunigan entered the Mariners system as a fairly highly touted college slugger at Oklahoma and a 5th round draft choice in the 2007 draft. But while the power he flashes on nights like last night can be tantilizing, the left-handed outfielder-slash-first baseman that is built like a linebacker has never been able to shake the strikeout bug that ails him so often.
In Joe's 1,870 professional plate apperances in the Mariners' system, he has taken a u-turn after striking out 587 times. In no season has he had fewer strikeouts than games played, and in no season have fewer than one-third of his at-bats ended in a 'K'. He has never drawn more than 43 walks in a season, and has just 155 in his career. He whiffed an astounding 81 times in his 49 games and 200 PAs with Jackson this year prior to his demotion.
And now the 25-year-old is back in the California League. The same league in which he hit 30 homers back in 2009 (while striking out 129 times).
So certainly acknowledge the achievement, but don't look for a spot on the big league roster for him just yet.