Phillies rookie hits most unexpected home run of MLB's unpredictable 2020 season

In a Major League Baseball season filled with unpredictable moments, Philadelphia Phillies rookie Rafael Marchan may have provided the most unpredictable moment of them all during Friday’s 8-7 win against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Playing in just his second MLB game. Marchan launched a game-tying three-run home run against Blue Jays’ reliever A.J. Cole.

Not surprisingly, the home run was the first of Marchan’s big league career.

Here’s the kicker: The home run was also his first at any level of professional baseball. That covers five years, 210 games and 846 plate appearances in the minor leagues.

Nobody that saw one coming.

In a year without pitcher at-bats, this is unquestionably the most unexpected and unlikely home run we’ve seen hit so far, and could not have come at a better time for Philadelphia.

Rafael Marchan has impeccable timing

With 10 days remaining in the season, the Phillies are fighting for a spot in MLB’s expanded postseason field.

Entering play on Friday, the Phillies were tied for the NL’s final wild card spot with the Cincinnati Reds. They’re also still technically alive in the NL East race, meaning their range of outcomes are anywhere from division champion to sitting at home in October.

Marchan’s home run got Philadelphia back into the game. Two innings later, his single helped fuel another three-run rally that sealed a critical win for the Philadelphia in the standings.

Rafael Marchan’s journey to MLB

Though Marchan has been playing professionally for five years, he’s still a young man at just 21 years old. The San Cristobal, Venezuela native was signed as an international free agent in 2015 for a $200,000 signing bonus. When Marchan joined the Phillies, he was a highly regarded shortstop prospect. However, the Phillies decided to convert him to catcher.

His .285/.342/.345 career batting line and 79-61 strikeout-walk ratio in the minors tells the story. He's an aggressive hitter who makes contact but doesn't offer much power upside. In those 210 minor-league games, he had 218 hits. Of those, only 43 went for extra bases.

Marchan’s development will be worth watching. Not only did he provide a spark on Friday, he figures to be an important part of Philadelphia’s future. That’s especially true if All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto leaves in free agency this winter.

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