We imagine suspended Yankees star Alex Rodriguez is mighty proud of his 18-year-old nephew, who managed to hit a remarkable eight home runs in consecutive at-bats recently.
When it comes to stroking baseballs to all corners of the field, it's very much "like uncle, like nephew."
The Miami Herald's Ruben Palacios reports that Joe Dunand, a Miami Gulliver Prep senior, was absolutely red hot during the Horizon National Tournament, which took place in Scottsdale, Ariz., over the weekend:
In five games, Gulliver went 4-1 and Dunand batted a head-turning .833 (10 for 12) at the plate with nine home runs. Inexplicably, opposing pitchers kept throwing him balls to hit and Dunand did just that — his last eight swings were all home runs.
Despite the offensive explosion, Gulliver finished third in the tournament. However, for what may soon be an official record-breaking performance, Palacios also reported that coaches gave Dunand the MVP award before the championship game, which seems like the right decision from where we are sitting.
Yahoo! Sports' Ben Rohrbach states we have a rather special record.
"If confirmed by the National Federation of State High School Associations," Rohrbach writes. "Dunand's performance would shatter the national prep record of six straight at-bats with a home run held by six high school players."
Of course, those who took in the absurd outpouring of home runs were impressed. Gulliver coach Javier Rodriguez had this to say, per Rohrbach:
It’s the most unbelievable thing. I’ve never seen anything like that. It looked like a video game at one point. It didn’t matter what they were trying to throw at him, everything was gone. I don’t know how to explain it. His last eight swings were home runs. Everyone was in awe.
I hope he continues what he was doing out here, but nothing is going to top this. Not even if he is a major-league 15-year All-Star, he won’t be able to top this.
Broaching the elephant in the room, hearing about Dunand's weekend at the plate reminds baseball fans on this beautiful Opening Day that uncle Alex Rodriguez is tasked with sitting out the 2014 major league season. The 38-year-old is suspended for the entirety of the 2014 season for his part in the Biogenesis scandal.
But it's best not to dwell on the negative and briefly forgotten, because it's Dunand's day to shine. The prep slugger had this to say about his performance, per Palacios:
"I was surprised, but I wasn’t complaining. I was just letting it happen. I was seeing the ball very well. I just hit it and it kept going every time."
As far as his team's fine finish, Dunand continued, "I think it’s really good for the team, we are coming together at a perfect time. It’s looking bright."
Having a player who can collect home runs in an instant shouldn't hurt things either.
Rohrbach states that Dunand has even more similarities to A-Rod besides possessing a prolific bat. Dunand is a 6'2" shortstop/third baseman who bears a striking resemblance to his famous uncle.
Here are some tweets that show off what could be a doppelganger to a much younger Yankees star:
Estos son Joe Dunand padre e hijo, hermano y sobrino de A-Rod. Joe Jr es un asesino de pitchers pic.twitter.com/JUNupTkPBv— Enrique Rojas/ESPN (@Enrique_Rojas1) March 29, 2014
Este es Joe Dunand, hijo de un hermano materno de Alex Rodríguez. pic.twitter.com/U9FyYLeC3f— Béisbol Dominicano (@BBDominicano) March 30, 2014
With his look, his bat and his otherworldly talent, we have to think this isn't the last we will hear of Dunand.
Rohrbach points to Perfect Game's rankings that put the North Carolina State commit at 160th among other prospects.
With interest piqued, baseball fans and the Internet at large now have a name and, rather remarkably, a familiar face to follow up through the ranks.
Now, this is all just a lengthy way of suggesting that you might want to pitch around Dunand for the time being.
Hit me up on Twitter @gabezal.