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Chiefs' Vitters riding torrid streak05/19/2009 11:49 PM ET
By Brittany Ghiroli / MLB.com
Peoria's Josh Vitters is modest enough to disregard the effect his eye-popping statistics are having around the Minor Leagues.
Or perhaps it's the 19-year-old's youth that has kept Vitters, the third overall pick in the 2007 Draft, unassuming while lighting up stadiums across the Class A Midwest League.
Fortunately for the humble infielder, his offense has done plenty of talking, just as Chiefs pitchers have done plenty of thanking.
"Well, they have the last few days," Vitters said, half-jokingly.
And with good reason.
Tuesday's 9-1 rout of the Beloit Snappers was Vitters' fourth straight game with a home run, tying the club record set last August by teammate Rebel Ridling. Vitters went 3-for-5 with two RBIs, his fifth consecutive three-hit game. He has a six-game hitting streak and is batting an astonishing .487 (19-for-39) over his last 10 contests with four homers and nine RBIs.
Oh, and his .371 average for the season puts him second in the Midwest League.
"I really don't [pay attention to the individual statistics]," Vitters said. "I'm just taking it one game at a time and just trying to play well every day. Hopefully, it will turn into a good year."
If May is any indication, Vitters will have to come up with a better word than that.
Since the calendar flip, the California native is batting .435 (30-for-69) with six homers and five doubles in 18 games.
"I've just been seeing the ball well," Vitters said. "[Earlier in the year], I was getting myself out, but the last few days I've really been staying back and finding a good pitch to hit."
His current streak began in the second game of Thursday's doubleheader against Quad Cities, when he was 3-for-3. After a rainout, Vitters went 3-for-4 with a homer on Saturday night as he helped spark Peoria's 6-5 comeback win at Beloit.
The 2008 Northwest League All-Star followed that up with two doubles and a homer in his first three at-bats on Sunday, giving him hits in six straight at-bats. In Monday's 10-6 win over the Snappers, Vitters had a double, single and two-run blast.
It's no surprise then that he points to confidence at the plate as a key element in his recent success.
"I'm just going to try to keep doing what I'm doing," he said, "Keep looking for my pitch, not chase out of the zone and get pitches to drive."
It's that even-keeled approach that had the teenage standout rated as the most polished high school hitter in the 2007 Draft pool. Selected third overall, Vitters batted .328 with 38 runs scored, 37 RBIs and a league-leading 25 doubles at short-season Boise last summer.
Like every Minor Leaguer, Vitters' goal is to make it to the Majors. Unlike many of his counterparts, however, he understands it is a long process that requires patience.
"It's just, you look at the goal at the end of the road, you just want to take it one day at a time and string together a good season [this year]," he said.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.