Connor MacDonald is not one of the names that Astros fans know as the next big time Major Leaguer. Most don’t even know he’s Australian unless they are fortunate enough to speak to him after a game. Perhaps his walkup song, Land Down Under by Men at Work, better known as the tune from “Kangaroo Jack” gives away his heritage. There’s only a handful of Australian players currently active playing in the show. MacDonald aspires to be one of the few players from his homeland to make it to the big leagues.
Tri-City ValleyCats fans, Connor MacDonald will quickly become one of your favorite players on the team. At 6’5” it’s hard to miss him on the field. He’s a big first basemen with a healthy swing that puts balls out of the park often. He’s mostly an unknown with respect to the other prospects on the team, but he will make you know his name. Signed as a 16 year old undrafted international free agent in 2009, MacDonald is trusting the process of being a minor leaguer.
MacDonald has been on fire in his last 5 games, going a combined 6-16 (.375) with a home run and 4 RBI’s. He was hitting only .143 before his hot streak began in the second game of a three game home stand with the Connecticut Tigers. Since then, his batting average has grown to .194 and he’s eager to keep his hot bat going.
“I’ve got to keep swinging at good pitches and lay off pitchers pitches,” MacDonald said. “I do damage when I work the counts. It’s about getting a good one to hit.”
MacDonald picked a good time to start heating up. His family came all the way from Australia to see Connor play in the United States for the very first time. Connor found his inspiration to play baseball from his father, Ken, at a young age. Ken played baseball himself and made it a point to get Connor into tee ball as a young lad. “I remember when I was 7 just staring at my dad’s baseball trophy case,” said Connor. “I enrolled into tee ball right away and have been playing ever since.”
His mother could hardly contain her excitement to see her son play as a professional in the US. “We’re super excited. We’ve seen him play in Australia but it’s our first time seeing him play in the states, you have a beautiful park here. It’s very impressive. We have nothing like this at home.”
Maybe seeing his family and talking about the area helped him feel more comfortable at the plate recently. “This is my favorite place so far. I’ve been to Florida and Greeneville. The weather here is beautiful and everything is green, it reminds me of back home,” said Connor.
In his first game playing in front of his family in the states, Connor went 0-3 at the plate. It didn’t deter him. He belted a home run in the next game in front of his parents and two younger brothers.
Safe to say he swung at a good pitch.
The Astros have definitely done their homework on MacDonald. He was signed when he was 16, but last fall is when MacDonald made a name for himself on the world stage. He was an integral part of Australia’s Under-23 World Cup team that finished 2nd, losing to Japan in the championship round. Connor led the tournament with 4 HR’s and was second in RBI’s with 14. In the semi-final matchup against Panama, Connor crushed two homers to help his team advance to the finals to play the top seeded Japan.
He’s big, clutch, and has that Australian swagger to him. He’s got the right mind sight to move forward in his baseball career as well as the tools to get him there. He’s an interesting prospect to say the least.
Cheers mate. Good luck to you.