Koss powers Greenville with three-homer game
Christian Koss entered Thursday night with six homers for the season. He’ll head into Friday with 50 percent more. The Boston infield prospect belted three long balls out of the leadoff spot, accounting for all his team’s runs as High-A Greenville blanked visiting Rome, 4-0. “I think the big thing
The Boston infield prospect belted three long balls out of the leadoff spot, accounting for all his team’s runs as High-A Greenville blanked visiting Rome, 4-0.
“I think the big thing is I’m just getting on time,” he said after his power showcase. “Early on, especially through Spring Training coming back from COVID, seeing those live arms kind of got to me. I always felt like I was putting good swings, I was just late on a lot of stuff. Coming into July, I just tried to be a little earlier, and things started falling for me.”
Thursday was a continuation of Koss’ offensive resurgence. The shortstop connected on a solo blast to left-center field in the third inning -- one that traveled 444 feet and reportedly left the bat at 104 mph. After another solo homer to left in the seventh, he capped his day with a two-run shot to center in the eighth for the first three-homer game in Greenville's 15-year history.
“I struck out my first at-bat, so honestly after that, I was kind of thinking it was going to be one of those days,” Koss laughed. “My first one, I got an 0-0 hanging breaking ball and was able to put a good swing on it.
“[In the seventh,] I got a full-count fastball and put a good swing on, and then going into that last at-bat, kind of that same approach. I was just trying to hit something hard middle and got another hanging breaking ball. It’s one of those nights where you can’t really say what happens, just the swing works out.”
The shortstop had just one home run in the season’s first two months and was sporting a slash line of .230/.301/.327 at the close of June. Then, with his timing adjusted, he took off. Since July 1, Koss has batted .362/.400/.648 with eight homers and 23 RBIs.
“Early on, I still had that confidence,” he said. “I tried to keep taking the same at-bats. When they start falling for you, it helps that confidence show a little more. I think the lineup we’ve had and the dudes we’ve had on this team have really kept us in ballgames. When you’re able to stay in ballgames, you’re able to take better team at-bats. I think that’s helped me.”
Koss’ impressive night backed a momentous start by one of Boston's top prospects. Seventh-ranked
“The crazy thing is that this kind of eclipsed the fact that this was Jay Groome’s first win [in High-A],” Koss said. “The fact that I was able to make that happen for him is more important to me.”
In fact, it was Groome’s first win of any kind since 2017. The 2016 12th overall pick has dealt with lat and forearm issues and had Tommy John surgery in 2018 that limited him to just three appearances the following year. After the pandemic wiped out the 2020 season, Groome started 2021 with an 0-6 record.
“If you look at his past couple starts, he gives up minimal runs,” Koss said of Groome, who has allowed more than three earned runs in a start just once since May 16. “It just happens to be the game where we didn’t put up enough runs for him to get a win kind of thing. It was actually brought up early on that it was something we wanted to do, help him get through tonight. I guess it just happened to be me.”
Jacob Wallace and Zach Bryant pitched two perfect frames apiece behind Groome to finish off the one-hitter, racking up seven strikeouts between them.
Tyler Maun is a reporter for MiLB.com and co-host of “The Show Before The Show” podcast. You can find him on Twitter @tylermaun.