For a prospect with a fast bat and faster legs, all George Springer wanted to do this year was slow things down.
Seventeen games into his first full season at Double-A Corpus Christi, Springer has the game moving at exactly the pace he wants.
The Astros' No. 3 prospect belted a pair of home runs and added a stolen base Tuesday as the Hooks edged the Midland RockHounds, 7-6.
The three-RBI, 3-for-4 performance raised his batting average to .299 and his OPS to 1.054. The homers give him a Texas League-leading six, while the steal was his fourth.
The 23-year-old outfielder's power-speed combination makes him a rare talent and is what led the Astros to select him 11th overall in the 2011 Draft out of the University of Connecticut. In 106 games at Class A Advanced Lancaster last year, Springer hit 22 homers and stole 28 bases with a .955 OPS.
The performance led to a callup to Corpus Christi near the end of the season, but he struggled in 22 Texas League games. He finished with a .212 average and .630 OPS, striking out 25 times in 73 at-bats.
Springer, MLB.com's 57th overall prospect, said he was somewhat overwhelmed by the speed of the Texas League. The jump to Double-A is a notoriously tough one, and Springer discovered why in his short stint last summer.
"The game is a lot cleaner and smoother because the talent level is obviously better," Springer said. "I don't know how to explain it. It's just one of those things where the experience of the players and their talent, the game speeds up and you have to learn how to slow it down.
"The [pitchers] in this league are good. If they make a mistake and I don't hit it, the count swings in their favor. As a hitter, that's not a spot where you want to be."
The center fielder worked the counts effectively Tuesday. In the top of the fifth inning, he took strike one against right-hander Josh Bowman, then passed on three consecutive balls. The 3-1 pitch was a high offering with some movement -- "I think it was a cutter," Springer said -- and the right-handed hitter drove it over the right-field wall.
His second homer came in the ninth, when he worked the count to 2-1 before jumping on Paul Smyth's offering and depositing it in the right-field seats.
"You have to understand who you are as a player, understand how other teams will attack and play you," Springer said. "You have to know the strike zone as a hitter and know what it is you're trying to do. All that has to be made up before you step into the box.
"You focus in on getting a good pitch to hit, and that helps you slow the game down. It's just one of those things where, with experience, things will slow down. You go out and attempt to slow it down by just slowing it down, strange as that sounds."
The ninth-inning round-tripper put the Hooks ahead, 6-4, but Midland tied it in the bottom of the frame on Michael Fabiaschi's two-run double.
Ben Orloff put Corpus Christi back in front with a sacrifice fly in the 10th and Pat Urckfitz (2-1) picked up the win after striking out four in 1 1/3 hitless innings.
Jake Goebbert homered, doubled twice and drove in a pair of runs for Midland.