It's been a while since Stefen Romero has been in school. But straight A's are still his biggest focus.
"Waiting out pitchers' pitches," he said. "Putting your 'A' hack on a pitch that you can drive."
Romero tested well Wednesday afternoon, homering, doubling and driving in four runs to lead Peoria to a 7-5 Arizona Fall League victory over Glendale.
The Mariners' No. 7 prospect bopped his long ball with two men on in the third inning, connecting on the eighth pitch of his at-bat against Desert Dogs starter Stephen McCray. The White Sox right-hander fell behind, 2-0, before Romero fouled off three straight pitches. McCray went full on his sixth pitch and Romero fouled off another before drilling his first AFL homer to left-center field.
The 25-year-old outfielder has hits in four straight games, driving his average to .184. Amid some early Fall League struggles, Romero has been focused on sharpening his approach and trying to be a better mistake hitter.
"Whatever happens after you make contact is out of your hands," he said. "I'm focused on my approach and getting a good pitch to hit."
Romero capped a five-pitch at-bat with a double in the seventh off Dodgers right-hander Yimi Garcia. The Oregon State product dropped a fly ball into right field on a pitch left over the outer half of the plate, scoring Astros No. 8 prospect Nolan Fontana from second base.
This is Romero's second stint in the AFL. He played for Peoria last year, hitting .333 with an .886 OPS as the Javelinas finished atop the Western Division with a 19-13 before defeating Salt River to win the championship.
This fall has been less successful for Peoria, which is last in the West with an 8-11 mark.
"Last year, fortunately, we had a great group of guys," Romero said. "We didn't really have the highly touted prospects, but that's what made our team have more chemistry. We just wanted to play hard and have fun in the fall.
"This year, we've got another great group of guys. We're not doing as well as we want to. Last year, we were winning and winning and winning. This year, it's more of a battle. This team has a lot of fight and a lot of battle. This year, we're coming out and competing every day."
Fontana supported Romero by going 2-for-3 with a pair of walks and two runs scored. The 22-year-old shortstop boasts some of the strongest plate discipline in the Minor Leagues, drawing 102 walks against 100 strikeouts in 104 games with Class A Advanced Lancaster this year. Wednesday's performance lifted his average to .167 in 12 AFL games.
Peoria also got a solo homer from Mariners prospect and leadoff man Chris Taylor, who's hitting .378 with a 1.047 OPS in 37 AFL at-bats.
Marlins No. 4 prospect Colin Moran, the sixth overall pick in this year's Draft, picked up a pair of RBIs for the Desert Dogs.