Through his first 11 at-bats with the Mississippi Braves, Robby Hefflinger had nothing to show for his efforts. Apart from four strikeouts, the Gainesville High grad’s stat line was filled entirely with zeroes.
With a handful of games under his belt, Hefflinger, 23, is now starting to produce the type of numbers that led to his recent promotion to Double A in the first place.
Hefflinger went 2-for-5 with a solo home run in the Mississippi Braves’ 6-1 victory over the Birmingham Barons on Friday in Birmingham, Ala. The 6-foot-4, 235-pound left-fielder has collected five hits in his last 15 at-bats, after failing to reach base in his first three games following his call-up from Single A Advanced Lynchburg on June 29.
Before he was promoted, Hefflinger was leading the Carolina League in home runs (21), slugging percentage (.579), extra-base hits (39) and total bases (162). Hefflinger batted .286 with 17 doubles in 280 plate appearances with the Hillcats this season.
Hefflinger’s move to Mississippi came less than two weeks after he was named MVP of the California-Carolina League All-Star game on June 18. He went 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles in the Carolina League’s 12-2 victory, one night after he won the event’s home run derby.
Hefflinger hit .476 with eight home runs and 32 RBIs during his senior season with the Red Elephants in 2008, and was a Times All-Area first-team selection, All-Region and All-State selection. He was chosen by the Braves in the seventh round of the 2009 MLB First-Year Player Draft out of Georgia Perimeter College.
Since 2010, Hefflinger has spent most of his time at Single A Rome. He struggled during two brief assignments at Lynchburg in 2011 and 2012, before emerging as arguably the most dangerous hitter in all of Single A Advanced this season in his third stint with the Hillcats.
Though Hefflinger has quickly gained notoriety for his power hitting, the former high school shortstop and pitcher has also been recognized for his defense.
In December 2012, Hefflinger was named by Baseball America as the “Best Outfield Arm” in the Braves farm system.