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Eric Peterson, Published September 04 2012

Delgado finds groove as RedHawk designated hitter

Fargo

Ryan Delgado has the power to smack 400-plus foot home runs, but that may not be the most impressive part of his game.

Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks manager Doug Simunic also likes that Delgado is willing to punch a slider on the outside corner into right field with runners on base.

“What he really does well is that he has a two-strike approach,” Simunic said. “He’ll reach for an outside pitch and flip it … that’s having a nose for an RBI.”

The designated hitter has developed into one of the top run producers in the American Association in his first season with the RedHawks.

The league All-Star is one of the reasons F-M had the best record in the league during the regular season.

The RedHawks host the Winnipeg Goldeyes at 7:02 p.m. Wednesday to start the first round of the league playoffs.

Delgado was tied for the league lead in home runs (20) and RBIs (86) heading into Monday’s regular-season finale. Delgado made a successful transition to playing designated hitter the majority of the time after primarily playing catcher in two previous years in the Atlanta Braves organization.

“Hats off to him for doing it as a DH,” said RedHawks shortstop Zach Penprase, who calls Delgado easy going. “He’s come up in clutch situations and got it done. He’s just stayed consistent.”

Simunic didn’t know much about Delgado prior to this season, taking a “flyer” on the former Azusa (Calif.) Pacific University standout.

“I didn’t really have any expectations,” Simunic said. “But he’s just been a real solid performer. A dangerous guy, he’s got big, strong power.”

Coming into this season, Delgado had eight home runs in 263 at-bats as a professional, playing in rookie and Single-A leagues with the Braves organization.

In two seasons at Azusa Pacific, Delgado cracked 47 home runs and had 151 RBIs in 105 games.

Delgado played prep baseball at Damien High School in La Verne, Calif., the same high school where Mark McGwire played.

Delgado played more than 70 games at designated hitter this season. He said there was some adjustment getting used to playing the role on an extended basis.

“As a DH, you’ve got more time to think about it and sit on the bench,” said Delgado. “It’s really a challenge to be more mentally focused, too.”

Delgado has been steady throughout the season, batting .300 in May, .304 in June, .299 in July and .333 in August.

His RBI numbers were also consistent through the heart of the season. Delgado had 25 RBIs in 24 games in June; he had 26 RBIs in 28 games in July; and he added 26 RBIs in 28 games in August.

“It’s just a great group of guys,” Delgado said. Being in the clubhouse, everybody keeps it loose. The great mix of guys, it blends well together.”


Readers can reach Forum reporter

Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found

at peterson.areavoices.com