Who’s hotter than Motter? Isotopes slugger leads Triple-A in homers

Albuquerque Isotope Taylor Motter is congratulated by teammates after hitting a home run against the Salt Lake Bees on Thursday night at Rio Grande Credit Union Field at Isotopes Park. Motter hit his 22nd and 23rd home runs in the game. (Mike Sandoval/For the Albuquerque Journal)
If Taylor Motter needs transportation help, the folks at Perfection Honda may want to offer him a deal.

Whatever the cost of the large sign the local car dealership has at Isotopes Park — an advertisement positioned well beyond the bullpens and beyond the public walkway in left field on the outermost perimeter of the facility — the 31-year-old veteran slugger has done nothing but add value to it all season.

Motter’s 480-foot third inning home run Thursday night over the sign drew all eyes toward the sign, a regular occurrence this season. In the sixth inning, he nearly hit the sign with his Triple-A leading 23rd home run this season that was a part of a furious 13-11 come-from-behind victory for the Isotopes to open a six-game series against the Salt Lake Bees.

“I’m just in a good headspace right now,” Motter said. “We have a good team. If you get along with your teammates, you have good guys in the clubhouse, it’s easy to show out on the field.”

The Isotopes (31-41), who fell behind 8-0 in the third inning on Thursday, entered July with a 15-33 record but have gone 16-8 since.

And as hot as they are, it doesn’t compare to Motter’s run.

He was 3-for-4 on Thursday with two home runs, a double, a walk, six RBIs and four runs scored. He has hit seven homers with 14 RBIs in the past six games.

“His approach is incredible,” marveled Isotopes manager Warren Schaeffer after a game that saw his team rally from an 8-0 third-inning deficit thanks in large part to Motter.

“I’ve never seen a guy stick to his approach for this long and not come off of it. I mean, he takes so many walks because he spits on pitches out of the zone. He knows what he wants. … He’s got so much confidence in what he does. I’ve never seen anybody do it for this long.”

Isotopes play-by-play announcer Josh Suchon summed up his third inning bomb thusly:

“Hit high and deep to left field and Taylor Motter has done it again! He hit the Perfection Honda sign on the fly — a no doubt about it home run that leaves the ballpark in the blink of an eye.”

It’s a hot streak that was anything but a certainty earlier this year.

At 31 years old, Motter was last in the big leagues in 2018 when he played 17 games split between Seattle and Minnesota. He since has played for two independent league teams and in two leagues out of the country, including a rough showing in Korea in 2020.

“I’ve been humbled a few times,” Motter sad. “I played Indy ball. I couldn’t get a job in 2020 until I signed with Korea. I couldn’t get a job early this year until March 5 when I signed here. …

“When we came back (from Korea), I hit it really hard in the gym and got myself set to, hopefully, put myself in the position that I’m in right now.”

Echoing his manager’s sentiment, Motter credits his recent numbers to a consistent approach every day that includes not worrying about what may or may not be next for him in the sport, including whether he may be getting a call back to the Majors.

“I’m 31. I’ve been in this business long enough … I think the best thing I’ve learned is no one ever has a clue with what’s really going on (with whether you might get called up or not),” said Motter.

“So I just show up every day and stick to my routine and do what I’ve got to do. If I get a phone call, great. I’ll be in a better spot. I’ll make a little more money. But at the end of the day, I’m playing every day here (with the Isotopes). I’ve got a smile on my face. My wife’s happy. I’m happy.”

Triple A Home Run leaders

• 23 Taylor Motter, Albuquerque Isotopes (59 games)
• 21 Jo Adell, Salt Lake Bees (70)
• 19 Brent Rooker, St Paul Saints (61 games)
• 19 Aderlin Rodriguez, Toledo Mud Hens (65 games)
• 19 Jake Gatewood, Salt Lake Bees (71 games)
(Through games played Thursday)

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