It's very early in the season, but Travis Demeritte already has shattered personal bests with his 2016 performance.
"I don't think I've ever started a season like this," the Rangers' 21st-ranked prospect said. "I've had runs like this during the season, but to start a season? It's a phenomenal feeling. It gives me a lot of confidence and, hopefully, it can spark something in my teammates and propel us through some games."
For the second straight night, Demeritte homered twice and drove in four runs. He also doubled in Class A Advanced High Desert's 9-5 triumph over Inland Empire and is 6-for-9 with 19 total bases through two California League games.
"I want to come out here and be the trendsetter, the table-setter. Batting leadoff, I feel that obligation," the 21-year-old second baseman said. "I've put that into my head, and I strive to be the best player on the field all the time however I can. Tonight, it just happened to be another pair of homers. I'm not complaining. Getting that 'W' is all that matters."
Before the game, the Georgia native and some of his teammates watched Rockies rookie Trevor Story club his sixth dinger in four big league games, but none of them noted that Demeritte is on pace to hit eight homers in his first four games of the season.
"It's funny because we were watching the Rockies and the Padres and we caught his second home run [of the game]," he said. "Nobody said anything to me about it after, but we were messing with a guy on our team who's a big [Carlos] Correa fan. It is ironic that that happened to be the case."
Demeritte's first roundtripper on Friday cleared the center field fence and kicked off a four-run first against the Angels' 24th-ranked prospect, right-hander Justin Anderson.
"It's a great feeling. It put us up early in the game and it's demoralizing to the other team. Putting up that four-spot in the first inning on those guys was huge," Demeritte said. "It gave our pitcher [Ariel Jurado] confidence to go out there and pitch with a lead, confidence to execute his pitches. That does wonders for our team."
Facing southpaw Jose Molina in the sixth, the right-handed-hitting Demeritte pulled a liner into left field. He briefly wondered if he might have gone yard again.
"For a second, I kind of did, but the ball stayed on a line," he said. "Really, out of the box, I was thinking double because I hit it well, but I didn't think I got up under it enough to get it out of here."
Two innings later, he stepped in against Eduardo Paredes with runners on first and second and went the other way with the righty's fourth pitch of the at-bat.
"He threw me two breaking balls and I knew there was not a good chance I was going to see a very good pitch to hit,' Demeritte said. "I fouled a couple pitches off and I was able to get a good one. It was a fastball middle-away."
Mavs left fielder Luke Tendler went 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored, while designated hitter Seth Spivey slugged a solo homer, singled in a run, walked twice and scored a pair of runs.
Angels No. 21 prospect Caleb Ward was 3-for-4 with two doubles for Inland Empire. Zachary Houchins homered for his second straight game, making him the only Cal Leaguer besides Demeritte with more than one dinger.