On Friday night at Chase Field, catcher John Hester etched his name into the record books with one swing. In addition to becoming the 101st player in history to blast a home run in his first at-bat, Hester became the 100th former Mobile BayBear to play in the major leagues. He followed teammate Gerardo Parra in both accomplishments.
Hester, 25, was a leader behind the plate in 2008 for the BayBears, while batting .268 with 11 home runs and 26 doubles. He was then named as the best catcher in the organization here on FutureBacks.com in terms of both calling a game and in blocking pitches in the dirt this offseason. The defense had been there for a long time, but his bat has caught up to his glove of late. Hester batted .281 and slugged .500 in the second half of 2008 before going .273/.353/.523 with 11 RBI in 21 Arizona Fall League games.
Hester then hit .328 with 9 home runs and 66 RBI in Reno before being promoted to the Arizona Diamondbacks
this August 28. Those 66 RBI tied him for fourth among all Arizona farmhands, and is a new career-high for the Stanford alum. While in Reno, Hester hit two grand slams and had the longest home hitting streak in the PCL this year, hitting safely in 26 consecutive games at Aces Ballpark from May 11 to August 2.
He cracked 31 doubles and swiped a career-high 13 bases for the Aces. His
second half was again particularly strong, as he went .367/.426/.622 with 29 RBI
in 98 at-bats.
Hester has continued his hot hitting since joining the Diamondbacks. He went 2-for-3 with a home run and three RBI in his first two games with the parent club. A 13th-round draft choice out of Stanford University in 2006, Hester became the eighth player to make his major league debut for the Diamondbacks this year.
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