* Kellin Deglan set the Australian Baseball League home run record with his 16 homer and after he crossed the plate was greeted by Brad Harman, his teammate and the former record holder, came out to congratulate him. Photo: Brett Crockford/SMP Images. .....
By Alexis Brudnicki Racking up accolades during his winter down under, Australian Baseball League home run record holder Kellin Deglan added another to his tally for the season on Wednesday when he was named the Delta Air Lines Player of the Week for his outstanding performance in Round 10 action.
The Jet Couriers Melbourne Aces Canadian catcher and first baseman earned the award – his second this year – after going 7-for-14 against the Canberra Cavalry at Melbourne Ballpark with five long balls to set a new circuit standard at 16 for the season, 22 total bases and eight runs driven in.
“It’s another huge honour for me,” Deglan said. “I couldn’t be happier to break the home run record and to be named the Australian Baseball League Player of the Week all in the same week. [It] is pretty amazing.
“There are a lot of good things that have been happening to me out here and I’m just trying to ride this wave and keep it going because everything is feeling good and everything is falling into place. I couldn’t be happier.”
The 22-year-old Texas Rangers prospect went into the most recent home series four homers shy of the ABL record of 15, originally set by his current Aces teammate Brad Harman in 2011 and matched the following season by triple crown award-winner Adam Buschini, a member of the Cavalry.
“I’m really honoured to break Brad Harman and Adam Buschini’s home run record,” Deglan said. “… To just go out there and hit five home runs and break the record that series is just what I wanted. I couldn’t be happier and I feel good right now.”
The Canadian national team member started the four-game set with two home runs on the opening night, added one in the second matchup of the series, and then Deglan tied and broke the long ball record in the third game with two more jacks, his fourth multi-home run game of the year.
“I’ve been feeling good out here,” he said. “I’ve been playing every day which is really helpful to me [to] get my timing right – I’m not in and out of the lineup and I’ve been putting together good at-bats…That’s been the main thing, have a good approach, getting my pitch to hit, and not missing it.”
With his 16th, the former first-round pick also matched the season-high he set in 2014 splitting time between the Hickory Crawdads in the South Atlantic League and the Myrtle Beach Pelicans in the Carolina League.
“He’s been tremendous,” Aces manager Tommy Thompson said. “…He’s facing tougher left-handed pitchers, he’s getting a lot of changeups; off-speed pitches, and he’s doing a tremendous job in every part of the game. He’s a force in our lineup.”
An incredibly bright spot in what has been a less-than-ideal season for Melbourne, Deglan is proud of what he’s been able to do for his squad and the native of Langley, BC has been flattered by the amount of support he’s received throughout the year from around the globe.
“All season it’s kind of been that way, from Hickory to Myrtle Beach and all the way out here in Australia,” he said. “It seems like people have embraced me this year. I’ve got to give a shout out to my family back home – they’ve been staying up watching my games and cheering me on, wanting me to get that home run record as well.
“The city of Melbourne has been behind me all year. And then with Canada, all these Canadians are behind me showing me lots of love and support. Then with the Rangers organisation I’m starting to get some recognition from them. And I’ve got a lot of new followers on Instagram since I’ve broken the record, so it means a lot to get some love and some support.
“Everybody seems to be pulling for me and I really appreciate it.”
To take home the weekly honour, Deglan narrowly beat out an extremely hot-hitting Aaron Miller of the Adelaide Bite. The outfielder from Texas had four home runs, two doubles, eight RBI and nine runs scored in his standout home series against the Sydney Blue Sox.
The two imported players are currently tied for the league-lead in runs driven in with 33 apiece. Deglan ranks second in the league with a .669 slugging percentage and a 1.009 on-base-plus-slugging percentage to Miller’s .701 and 1.145 marks, respectively. Adelaide’s right fielder is second in the circuit with 12 homers.