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Springer making right kind of contact05/20/2012 2:16 AM ET
By Jonathan Raymond / Special to MLB.com
Merely making contact isn't necessarily the goal of a hitter when he's at the plate. More often, making hard, solid contact is what leads to good results.
Right now, George Springer is making a lot of hard, solid contact.
The Astros' No. 3 prospect went 4-for-5 with a solo homer Saturday as the Class A Advanced Lancaster JetHawks beat the Inland Empire 66ers, 8-4.
It was the third four-hit game of the season for Springer, who extended his hitting streak to 10 and homered for the sixth time in his last seven contests.
There's not much opposing pitchers could do lately to keep MLB.com's No. 80 overall prospect from hitting them with authority.
"I work on that all the time, being more consistent and hitting the ball harder," said Springer. "I'm being slower, recognizing pitches quicker, having a more refined approach. I want to be selective and get something I can drive."
The 11th overall pick in last year's Draft has really taken off since finding his power stroke. Springer has raised his average from .214 on April 23 to .331, a figure that ranks ninth in the California League.
Even by the standards of the notoriously hitter-friendly circuit, Springer's numbers stand out after a month of seemingly hitting everything in sight. The University of Connecticut product is tied for third with nine homers and ranks fourth with 33 RBIs and a .599 slugging percentage.
Altogether, his .974 OPS is tied with High Desert's Brad Miller for third in the league.
"I've just worked on putting good swings on good pitches and getting the barrel on the ball," said the 22-year-old center fielder. "They've worked with me on having complete body control, getting me to trust my hands more, and it's helped tremendously the last few weeks."
Springer gave some of the credit for finding good pitches to leadoff hitter Ben Orloff, who boasts a .381 on-base percentage.
"Hitting in the two-hole is great because [Orloff] is always on base, and it makes my job a lot more simple," he said. "With him on base, he can run, so at some point in the at-bat I understand that I'll get a pitch to probably hit. And it's just getting into the box and having a plan and sticking with it."
During his hitting streak, Springer is 20-for-38 (.526). In May, he's batting .417 with seven of his nine homers and an .833 slugging percentage. Hitting the ball hard, it goes without saying, is something Springer's been able to do with regularity since turning things around.
"You just try to help your team. If you have to bunt, you bunt. It's about having the approach and sticking to it, being more concerned with hitting the ball hard," he said. "Whatever happens after that happens."
Against the 66ers, Orloff helped Springer set the tone at the top of the order, going 3-for-5 with three RBIs and two runs scored. Starter Ruben Alaniz (4-1) picked up the win, yielding two runs on six hits with three strikeouts over six innings.