I wrote many, many, many words about the 2019 Valley League season. (If you’re interested in the Annual from that season, let me know.) One of the most indelible memories from that season, though, is Sonny DiChiara taking a mighty hack in the playoffs, losing control of the bat, and the bat whirly-gigging into the screen down the third base line… and then sticking there, dangling, about 15 feet off the ground.
At any rate, Sonny D is off to an almost unbelievable start to his 2022 college season- so good, in fact, that we need to take a minute to enjoy it in this space.
The senior transfer has been the best hitter in Auburn’s lineup so far; he’s hitting .438/.585/.917 in 96 at-bats, with 30 runs scored, 13 doubles, 11 home runs, 32 RBIs, and a crazy 31 walks against 17 strikeouts. He leads the Tigers offense in runs, doubles, home runs, RBIs, total bases, walks, batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage. Get a load of this, though- he’s first in all of Division I in on-base percentage and slugging percentage, third in batting average, and tied for 17th in walks. Whoa. (Stats through Wednesday, April 13)
He has reached base in every single game he’s appeared in, and has had some huge games:
- February 23, vs Troy: 2-2, three runs, double, home run, walk, four RBIs
- February 25, vs Yale: 3-5, three runs, double, home run, two RBIs
- March 17, vs Ole Miss: 2-4, run, home run, two walks, three RBIs
- April 2, at LSU: 4-5, run, double, home run, three RBIs
- April 10, vs Vanderbilt: 3-5, three runs, double, two home runs, five RBIs
DiChiara was the 13th best hitter in the VBL in 2019, but… he most likely would have ranked higher if he hadn’t been playing on an injured ankle. Even while hobbled, he hit .313/.385/.550 in 36 regular season games and 131 at-bats, with ten doubles, seven home runs, 36 RBIs (in 36 games), and 15/28 BB/K ratio. He went off in he playoffs, going 11-25 in six games, with six runs scored, a double, four home runs, ten RBIs, three walks, and one bat spun into the screen.
I am very, very interested to see what happens to this young man when the MLB draft rolls around this summer!