CHAPEL HILL, N.C. –Mike Fox isn’t one for hyperbole, so when he says that shortstop Logan Warmoth was in the weight room during UNC’s off day on Monday longer than anybody, he’s telling the truth.
That mentality of going beyond what’s required has been evident throughout Warmoth’s 2017 season. Against Elon on Tuesday, his RBI triple in the bottom of the second inning helped the third-ranked Tar Heels roll to an 11-2 victory. The second the ball smacked off Warmoth’s bat, it looked headed beyond the left field wall, only to fall a little short to stay within the park’s parameters. Two hits later, the junior crossed the plate to collect his team-leading 40th run s of the season.
The Orlando, Fla. native has led the Tar Heel offense all season long, leading the team in batting average (.345), slugging percentage (.560), on base percentage (.425), runs scored (40), hits (59) and home runs (7). His proficiency at the plate has earned him a spot on the midseason Golden Spikes Award watch list.
While Warmoth has become UNC’s most intimidating player at the plate, it wasn’t that way when he arrived in Chapel Hill three years ago. The shortstop only hit a total of five home runs in his first two years, a number he has already surpassed in 41 games this season.
“He’s not even close to the same player he was when he got here,” Fox said after Tuesday’s victory. “He works and wants to be really, really good… He’s worked on his swing a lot and gained some strength, learned how to create some backspin. The power comes when you get a better swing, but also you look at the ball better.”
As is the case with many power hitters, Warmoth has a tendency to aim for the trees. It can get him in trouble sometimes – he is fifth on the team in strikeouts with 25 – but outfielder Brian Miller, who hits in front of Warmoth in the lineup, sees it as a positive trait.
“He’s an aggressive hitter and he wants to go up there and swing,” Miller said. “Not to say he can’t work a walk or have a good long at bat, but he’s up there to swing and has a good line-drive approach.”
Don’t let the power numbers fool you, though, as the shortstop still prides himself on his jets. He leads the team in steals (15) and can leg out some doubles even if he didn’t connect fully on a ball.
Midway through the season, Warmoth was putting together a streak rarely seen at Boshamer Stadium. Spanning the 2016 and 2017 seasons, he reached base in 41 straight games – a streak that was broken at Florida State on April Fool’s Day. However, it wasn’t the streak that gained the awe of his teammates, it was how he responded when it was finally snapped.
“When his streak ended, he came right back,” freshman Ashton McGee said. “His mentality is great. Coming in each day and taking a new game and each at bat separate from one another. Coach always says to not take your last at bat with you to the next.”
Warmoth took the advice to heart and is already building his next streak – he has reached base in each of the past 14 games.
For a player who hasn’t been gifted anything in his career, the hard work Warmoth has put in is paying off during this career season. And for his teammates who have been along with him the whole time, the reward is that much richer.
“He deserves everything he’s getting,” Miller said.