Lexington Legends

The Lexington Legends have a new home run king. Can he break the league record, too?

Lexington Legends outfielder Seuly Matias leads all of minor league baseball in home runs with 29, a franchise record for the 18-year-old club.
Lexington Legends outfielder Seuly Matias leads all of minor league baseball in home runs with 29, a franchise record for the 18-year-old club. swalker@herald-leader.com

Whatever 19-year-old phenom Seuly Matias does in the rest of his baseball career, his franchise record for home runs with the Lexington Legends might stand for quite a while.

Matias hit his 28th and 29th home runs of the season Thursday night, a mark that leads all of minor league baseball this year, and is two more than Brian Pellegrini notched for Lexington in 2009.

The Dominican right fielder’s blasts helped the Legends to an 11-0 road win over Asheville on Thursday night and gave the Legends the lead in the South Atlantic League’s Southern Division with a second-half record of 18-14, a half-game ahead of the Greenville Drive with a little more than a month left in the regular season.

Matias smacked a leadoff home run in the top of the fifth inning Thursday night, extending Lexington’s lead to 9-0. He hit his second in the top of the sixth with two outs and none on to make it 11-0. Matias went 3-for-5 on the night with four RBI.

Pellegrini set the Legends record of 27 home runs on the second-to-last day of the 2009 season. Assuming Matias finishes this season in Lexington, he had 36 games left to extend the mark he set Thursday.

Russ Branyan holds the South Atlantic League record for homers with 40 for the defunct Columbus, Ga., franchise in 1996.

For those wondering why the slugger continues to play in Single A ball in the Kansas City Royals’ system, Matias still has some things to work out with his swing. That, and he doesn’t turn 20 until September. Despite the phenomenal power, Matias is batting only .219 and strikes out about a third of the time.

But he’s definitely helping the Legends to one of their best seasons in franchise history.

Lexington is back in Whitaker Bank Ballpark this weekend for a three-game homestand against the Rome Braves.

Saturday

Rome Braves at Lexington Legends

Where: Whitaker Bank Ballpark

When: 6:35 p.m.

The Lexington Legends' coaches and staff say that 19-year-old Seuly Matias has the potential to be an MLB All-Star. Matias leads all of minor league baseball in home runs and was recently named to the South Atlantic League All-Star team.

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