With power at such a premium in baseball, you look at Justin Bour and wonder how he could still be playing in Triple-A a few days past his 26th birthday.
The 6-foot-4, 250-pound Bour hit a pair of home runs Monday, driving in three runs as New Orleans put up a 4-3 victory over the Sky Sox.
So, what gives? This is a guy who drove in 110 runs in Double-A in 2012 when he was in the Chicago Cubs organization, yet was sent back to that same level the next season.
"That year after I drove in 110 they brought in a guy who had played Triple-A with the Brewers, so I got sent back down," Bour said. "It was definitely a learning process for me to go back there and repeat a level. Then in the third series of the year I got hit by a pitch in the wrist and missed the first half of the season."
The Cubs then left Bour unprotected in the minor-league portion of the Rule 5 draft this past December and the Miami Marlins jumped on him. He's batting .330 with nine home runs and 36 RBIs.
"The Marlins picked me up and I'm glad they did," said Bour, who said he is often mistaken for a football player but played only baseball while at George Mason. "They're giving me a chance and I'm really not going to blow it. I've always felt like I played well and I'm glad someone took notice and is giving me a chance."
Bour has played all season like he is making up for lost time. He tied Carlos Gomez's club record by hitting safely in his first 14 games for New Orleans and is riding a seven-game streak.
On Monday, Bour hit a solo home run in the third inning that tied the score and added a two-run home run in the sixth that put New Orleans up 4-1.
The Sky Sox made things interesting in the seventh with a pair of runs, but Jesus Sanchez struck out Rafael Ynoa to strand the bases loaded and the Sky Sox never again mounted a serious threat as they dropped their sixth straight.
Yohan Flande (1-8) took the loss for the Sky Sox, giving up four earned runs and eight hits in six innings. He struck out three and walked one.
Elih Villanueva (6-2) gave up three runs in 62/3 for New Orleans, actually raising his ERA to 2.63.
It may not carry the zeal of a pitchers' duel, but this series has turned into an interesting battle of the first basemen.
Bour has six hits and four extra-base hits through three games of the four-game series and his Sky Sox counterpart, Ben Paulsen, has three home runs among his four extra-base hits.
New Orleans kept Paulsen in the park Monday, but he did have an RBI double in the first that gave him seven RBIs in the series.