Your leadoff hitter has to provide a jolt in whatever way you need. Jordany Valdespin sure did Wednesday for the Buffalo Bisons.
Herd starter Jeurys Familia gave up a three-run homer in the top of the third to Scranton's Dewayne Wise that put the Bisons in a 3-2 hole. With one out in the fourth and a man at first, Valdespin turned the deficit around for good.
Valdespin pummeled a Dellin Betances pitch high over the party deck in right for his first homer of the season, a two-run shot that put the Herd ahead for keeps in its 12-3 romp past the Yankees.
"I tried to get good contact, but God gave me even better contact, and I hit the ball a long way," said Valdespin. "I wanted to move the runners home, but I did more."
"We have a lot of guys who can go out and drive the ball, and it even starts at the top of the lineup with Valdespin," said Herd designated hitter Valentino Pascucci. "People might underestimate his pop a little bit, but he's got a live bat just like a lot of guys in the lineup. And the time of the game was big."
Valdespin is a wiry 6-foot, 190-pounder and the 22-year-old has some power, as evidenced by his 17 home runs last year (15 at Double-A Binghamton, two in Buffalo).
"I can hit them like that," he said. "But that's not my game. I just want to concentrate on whatever area I need to here."
Valdespin also stole 37 bases last year (33 in Binghamton) and showed his speed when he scored from second base on Josh Satin's long fly to center field in the fifth.
It came on a spectacular catch by Scranton center fielder Chris Dickerson, who appeared to jam his neck sliding into the base of the fence head-first. He flipped the ball to right fielder Colin Curtis while prone and Curtis fired toward the plate but Valdespin never stopped and alertly scored from second on what was a sacrifice fly.
"The moment dictates what you do," Valdespin said. "I saw the outfielder went back, and I tagged and I saw [manager Wally Backman] saying to go to home plate so I went."
Valdespin is a natural shortstop, but the Mets used him some in spring training in center field, and he's out there again now that Kirk Nieuwenhuis has been called up.
"It's comfortable for me," he said. "I practiced in the winter in the Dominican because I knew this moment would come. I'm ready.
"The first thing is to help the team here in the outfield, shortstop, second base. Whatever they needed and then hopefully help the big-league team."