When Jose Trevino steps into the batter's box, he might as well be in a boxing ring.
"I take hitting very personal," he said. "It's a controlled fist fight."
Whether the pitcher is throwing 101 mph or 81, the Rangers' No. 20 prospect makes sure to slow the at-bat down and give his best effort against his enemy for the next few pitches.
"It's me vs. him and he's trying to take money out of my wallet or something like that in the future. So I like to take it personal," he said. "It's a game but at that point it's, 'All right, let's go, it's me and you.'"
This season, Trevino won many "bouts," posting career highs with a .303 average, 26 walks and a .342 on-base percentage over 109 games with Class A Advanced High Desert. The catcher credits his strong campaign to that focus on taking one pitch at a time.
"At first I struggled a little bit, but I was sticking with the plan, sticking with the approach and [knowing] it will all work out in the end," he said. "So it was a big process, but I wasn't focused on any results yet, and then the results just started coming. You stick to the process long enough, the results will come."
While Trevino's home runs tapered off a little bit -- nine in 2016 compared with 14 in 2105 -- he was still finding the deep parts of the parks with a career-high 30 doubles. The 23-year-old also struck out a personal low of 49 times. But neither were a part of his plan.
"It just happened that way. You can't predict anything in baseball, but you can work on things to get to that area. I feel like I took a better approach at it and the balls that I did hit, some didn't get out, but some did. That's just how baseball is, you never know…" he said. "But it is good that strikeouts are down and walks are up, but doubles were pretty good and the homers will come."
Trevino's regular-season success trickled into his Arizona Fall League campaign until he ran into a tough stretch on Oct. 28. The Oral Roberts product slipped into an 0-for-30 slump over seven games with Surprise, but he held fast to his goal of never being a "Negative Nancy."
"I'm hitting the ball, just not getting any hits. So just got to stick to the approach, stick to the plan. That's all it is. No panic button here. The results might not show for other people, but in my eyes, I'm hitting it well and I'm doing well," he said on the final day of his rut. "They're going to fall eventually. They'll fall because that's how it works. It will all pan out. And if it doesn't, it doesn't. But in my eyes and my heart, I believe that if you just keep swinging, it will come to you."
A couple days later, Trevino went 3-for-3 with a walk.
Starting to get comfortable: Tanner Anderson is getting into a rhythm as he transitions from the bullpen to the rotation. The Pirates right-hander had only started three of his 51 Minor League games before the AFL, but has begun all six of his games with the Saguaros. Anderson had a tough first outing -- giving up three runs on four hits and two walks over 2 1/2 frames against Peoria on Oct. 10, but has since allowed one run in four of his last five starts. The Harvard product hasn't pitched more than four innings yet, but sports a 2-1 record and a 3.63 ERA.
Power Mitch: While scouts grade Mitch Garver's power at a 40 on a 20-80 scale, he's flipping the script this fall. The Twins' No. 24 prospect ripped seven of his first 14 hits for extra-bases, topping the Saguaros with four homers. Those four blasts in 14 games tied the 25-year-old's output over 127 games in the 2015 regular season. Garver has been known to find the gaps, however. He ranked second in the Twins organization with 30 across two levels this season.