castle. LOUIS – Cardinals rookie Juan Yepez realized otherwise when he opened up Instagram when he thought it would be the best time of his day to hit the first home run of his MLB career in front of his Mother’s Day parents.
At that time, the hot Cardinal saw a direct message from Miguel Cabrera, a Venezuelan compatriot and boy, and realized his lifelong dream.
“He congratulated me on my first home run when he texted me on Instagram,” said Yepez, who hit the second home run when the Cardinals defeated the Orioles 10-1.
“I thought, ‘Dang, my favorite player is actually following me and texting me!’ For sure, it breaks my heart.”
Promoted last week in the hopes that his bat will bring the Cardinals’ struggling attack to life, Yepez has done it on a near-historical level. The 24-year-old not only has had hits in all seven games so far, but also scored his fifth multi-hitter game in starting left field on Wednesday. His 412-foot home run left the bat at 103.7 mph and kicked off the Cardinals attack on Wednesday, paving the way for a 10-run, 11-hit output.
“He changes the energy,” said St. Louis manager Oliver Mamol. “Energy changes every time you increase the production level. You can find out the way in on-deck circles. On the way to the plate, each turn at bat is personal to him. You can tell he’s a kid who’s been told this is impossible for a long time. He enjoys proving many people wrong.”
How well has Yefez been doing so far? In the first seven games of his MLB career, he had 12 hits. That’s the same number that Hall of Famer Stan Musial recorded in his first seven games with the Cardinals in 1941. Only Bo Hart (18) and Enos Slotter (13) had hits. He had more hits in the first seven games of his Cardinals career. Yepez, the game’s student, did a recent homework to understand why the legendary Musial’s stature just outside Busch Stadium is huge.
“I mean, [Musial], I was looking at his numbers and he was great!” Yepez said in an excited voice. “I don’t know, I’m just trying to play my game. I just thank God that there are hit songs. There are hit songs and there are bangs, but I am grateful for all of them.”
In addition to the congratulatory messages from Cabrera, Yepez said that when he reads messages from his parents in Caracas, Venezuela, he feels the importance of what he is doing now. Yepez said his parents had family and friends at home to watch all the Cardinals games on the MLB app and were in awe of the love they sent.
“It’s a dream and a blessing,” he said. “I talked to my parents. [Tuesday] At night they say, ‘Son, I cried so much this week!’ Like I said, everyone is really proud. After eight years in the minor leagues, finally coming here and succeeding is a dream.”