Even in the best of seasons, there are soft slumps, peaks and valleys. Each takes on an outsized importance, however, when you're one of the next presumed callups to the Major Leagues.
So it was especially nice for Grant Green to snap out of a 2-for-16 funk in resounding fashion Friday night.
The Athletics' No. 3 prospect went 4-for-6 with a pair of doubles and a run scored out of the leadoff spot as part of a 16-hit effort as Triple-A Sacramento dropped an 8-7 decision at Fresno.
Green is often cited as an in-house option for the first-place A's if they look to bolster their offense for a postseason run, and for good reason.
After Friday's outburst, the 2009 first-round pick is hitting .319/.375/.503 with 11 homers, 25 doubles and 49 RBIs in 80 games for the River Cats. He's one of the top producers in one of the Pacific Coast League's top lineups.
Green said he was able to ignore the day-to-day ups and downs that always seem magnified with the Majors a phone call away because he does not pay attention to what's going on at the big league level.
"It's not something that we bring up in the clubhouse. When we're there, it's River Cat baseball, and that's kind of a cliché, but that's what it is," he explained. "We play for the River Cats, and as of right now that's where we all are, so you try to stay away from thinking about Oakland because that can only hinder what we're trying to do here.
"You don't freak about when the days aren't going great, knowing that the peaks are going to come. Stay level-headed. It's a long season and you can have a bad month and follow it with a good month."
One of the reasons Green might make an attractive option in Oakland has been an improving power stroke. When the 25-year-old made it to Double-A with Midland in 2011, he slugged just .408 in 127 games. Last season, in 125 games, he pulled that figure up to .458. And this year, he's already four homers and three doubles away from matching his 2012 totals.
His .503 slugging percentage is the highest it's been since he tore through the hitter-friendly California League in 2010.
"Last year, I ended up hitting for more power than the year before," Green said. "We worked really hard in the [Arizona] Fall League the last two years to get a little bit more of a load, a stronger base. Just the type of thing where I'm becoming more and more confident and natural with the swing as the season keeps on continuing. In fact, the reason why we did it was for more power.
"I'm also not getting as slippy with the hands. I've always been a handsy hitter and it's more of not going straight to the handsy part of the swing and getting down two strikes or getting fooled. I'm relying on the power stance early in the count."
A's No. 11 prospect Michael Taylor drove in two runs for the River Cats, while second-ranked Oakland prospect Michael Choice added a double and an RBI.
Ydwin Villegas went 3-for-3 with a double and four RBIs for the Grizzlies. His three-run double in the fifth erased Sacramento's 7-5 lead.