Boise Hawks rookie owns the deep ball
Daniel Jipping has hit not one, but two videoboards this season.
Anything beyond the wall is fair game for the Northwest League’s home run leader.
The Boise Hawks’ rookie outfielder belted five home runs in his first eight games as a pro and won the home run derby at last week’s Northwest/Pioneer All-Star Game in Hillsboro, Ore.
But you’re running out of opportunities to see the 6-foot-2, 232-pound slugger in person at Memorial Stadium.
Jipping and the Hawks play five more games at home — one each night at 7:15 p.m. through Tuesday — before heading out on a 16-game road trip. Their final homestand of the season is Sept 1-3 against Hillsboro.
“You can just look at him and tell he’s got a lot of power,” said Hawks outfielder Steven Linkous, who leads the NWL in stolen bases with 25. “It was awesome watching him (in the home run derby). He hit some balls a very long way. I have the special privilege of seeing him do it all the time, so it was cool to see other people’s reactions when he was hitting balls out left and right.”
Jipping, 21, connected for 23 homers overall during the home run derby on Aug. 1 and outlasted Idaho Falls’ Robby Rinn 6-1 in the bonus round for the win.
“I’m a big kid, so power just comes along with that,” said Jipping, who was drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 22nd round of the 2017 MLB Draft out of Central Michigan.
Jipping was rewarded with a $1,000 check for his efforts, but he doesn’t anticipate the performance will do much to elevate his professional career.
“Honestly, a home run derby doesn’t really mean much to an organization. We take BP (batting practice) every day,” Jipping said. “It’s more about what you do in the game. They already know I have power, so it’s not like that opened their eyes. ... You could be the best 5 o’clock hitter ever and then never make it.”
Entering Thursday’s game, Jipping was batting .241 with 10 home runs, three doubles, a triple and 26 RBIs. After a smoldering start, he went homerless for three weeks. He finally connected again Wednesday night.
Hawks hitting coach Robinson Cancel wasn’t worried about Jipping’s homer drought. The Hawks’ single-season home run record is 17, set by Paul Hoilman in 2011.
“It’s just a matter of time when he is going to figure it out completely,” Cancel said before Wednesday’s game. “I have no doubt in my mind that he can be one of those guys like (New York Yankees’) Aaron Judge or (Miami Marlins’) Giancarlo Stanton. I have no doubt of his strengths. It’s just a matter of time.”