1B/C/OF Joe Genord was the first player drafted in 2019 MLB to hit a home run at the professional level. During the season opener, Genord’s solo shot would be the one run difference in a 5-4 win against the Staten Island Yankees (New York Yankees, Single-A Short-Season) on opening day.
After being drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2015 (19 round), Genord opted to attend the University of South Florida. In his freshman year, he split time between first base and catcher eventually making the full shift to first in his sophomore year.
It’s no question the depth Genord added to South Florida’s lineup. He was second in home runs his freshman year for the Bulls then led the team the following season with nine. His senior year was his best offensive year leading USF in batting average (.333), home runs (13), doubles (14) and RBIs (52).
The biggest difference between the New York-Penn League and the collegiate level is the velocity, said Genord.
“They got more velocity, better stuff here. I had to make the adjustment early on that, but when we played Florida, UNC schools like them, FSU, I see it, you know,” said Genord, “And I’ve done pretty well against them. So I wasn’t, when I got here it wasn’t like, ‘oh crap, I haven’t seen this before’, but, I didn’t see it every absolutely every day at college.”
The New York Mets selected Genord in the 9th round in the 2019 draft, finishing his collegiate career with 44 home runs, third in school history.
In their second series against the Staten Island Yankees, Genord went into the game hitting .250 with four hits and 3 RBIs. Friday, June 21 he went 2-5 with a run and a stolen base in a 10-3 loss.
Three weeks into the season, Genord now leads Brooklyn in batting average but is also dominating the rest of the league in offensive stats. He leads the New York-Penn League in home runs (5), RBIs (15), slugging (.696) and OPS (1.087).
In a late-game rally for the Cyclones, Genord hit the game-winning three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth. He is hitting .250 at home and .406 on the road.
On the fourth of July, Genord went 1 for 4 with the game-tying RBI double in the bottom of the eighth.
Genord said, “I was too anxious early in the game and swinging at not good pitches and using too much of my body. I was just thinking, just let your hands work, see the ball, let it come to you and try to get a barrel.”
Genord, consistently batting third in the lineup, has recently struggled in his last couple of starts. On Friday, July 12 double-header, Genord started at first in the first game, but manager Alfonso sat him in the second game for a “mental break”. He was brought in late in the second game with two runners on base but wasn’t able to bring the runs in.
“I think it’s more mental than anything cause he’s working so hard every day to try to get back and, and you know, sometimes you need to go to through a slump like that,” said manager Edgardo Alfonso.
After the fourth of July game against the Aberdeen Ironbirds that resulted in a 10th inning 6-2 loss, Genord said, “I stick with my approach cause it’s what’s got me here and it’s proven to work kind of, you know, I’m not gonna say it’s the best approach, but it’s working for me. I just, I really just try to hit the ball hard really is all I do. I don’t sit a certain pitch. I just read and react pretty much all I do. I haven’t really changed my approach when it came from playing college to here because it’s the same game, just different pitchers.”