Lewis Brinson is in the same state he was a year ago. Yet he's in an entirely different place.
The Rangers' sixth-ranked prospect slugged two more homers Wednesday night, powering Class A Hickory to a 5-1 victory at West Virginia.
Brinson extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a second-inning solo shot. Two innings later, he smacked another solo blast to cap his second two-homer effort in four games.
"I've been seeing the ball real well lately," Brinson said. "I just brought it into tonight and luckily, I got two pitches to put a good swing on and they went a long way. The first one [was a no-doubter], yeah, but the second one was iffy."
The 20-year-old outfielder has homered six times in his last five games and seven times in his last eight. That power surge has bumped his season total to 10 roundtrippers in 42 games, tying him for ninth in the South Atlantic League.
"I've been seeing the ball real well and just putting good swings on balls, staying up the middle and it's keeping me balanced and keeping me square," Brinson said. "Put good swings on balls and find the barrel of the bat -- that's what I've been doing, and I've found my power stroke."
Overall, the 2012 first-round pick is batting .333 with a .985 OPS, a figure that would lead the league if he had enough at-bats to qualify. Returning to Hickory, where he slugged 23 homers but batted .237 a year ago, has helped in some ways, he said.
"It's motivated me," Brinson explained. "Obviously, you don't want to be back where you were the year before, but I think it's a good thing. I had to make some adjustments, being better with two strikes and just having a better approach all around.
"Obviously, you're not happy when they tell you you're going back, but you just have to embrace it. It's another obstacle you have to get over to get to your dream of playing in the big leagues. Whatever I have to do, I'm going to do it."
Since returning from a quadriceps injury that forced him to miss most of May, Brinson has been scorching hot, batting .418 since June 1. He credits work he put in with his personal hitting coach, Alvaro Gomez.
"We just went back to what I did when I first got drafted and that same kind of stance and same kind of approach," Brinson said. "Just doing something that I know is going to work for me as a hitter and as a player, we just went back to that. Luckily this year, it has paid off and I think I'm going to stick with that."
Nomar Mazara, the Rangers' No. 7 prospect, also hit a pair of solo homers, while Ryan Cordell contributed his seventh of the season for the Crawdads.
Ryne Slack (6-1) tossed three innings of one-hit relief for the win.
Reese McGuire, the Pirates' No. 7 prospect, drove in the Power's lone run with a first-inning single.