Luke Voit has never been bothered by his low Draft position and he's never used his absence on any of baseball's top prospects lists as motivation during the early stages of his career.
"I'll do all the talking with my play, I guess," said Voit, a 22nd-round pick by the Cardinals in 2013.
The first baseman's bat has done plenty to boost his status this season as a breakout Double-A campaign is earning him consideration for Texas League Player of the Year. Voit is batting .290, second among players currently in the league, while his 112 hits also ranked second.
His .371 on-base percentage ranks fifth and he has 16 homers and 59 RBIs for the Cardinals. His homer total is already a career high, as is his average, OBP, slugging percentage (.472) and his .843 OPS.
Voit said this season has felt like a career year, and his numbers show it.
"Obviously you want to show power numbers when you play a power position," he said. "I get paid to drive in runs. That's my job and I want to drive in as many as possible."
It's not like Voit's breakout 2016 is noticeable because of disappointing seasons before it. He hit .273 at Class A Advanced Palm Beach with 11 homers and 77 RBIs last season, but he said a slight mechanical adjustment and a more important mental adjustment has led to even more improvement in his first Double-A season. Voit adjusted his hands on his bat heading into this season and he's also trying to keep a more consistent, level head at the plate. He said not getting down too much when things go wrong has been the biggest improvement.
"I used to be the guy who would throw helmets and would be cursing up a storm," Voit said. "I'm not going to say I'm not that guy sometimes, but I've gotten a lot better. And I think that's just me evolving as a player and getting more mature, too."
Voit needed that approach in the early part of the season. He said hitting his first homer during the season's first homestand helped him relax, but he was still hitting .239 with four long balls at the end of April. His average rose to .279 with five homers in May and his average has increased each month since -- to .286 in June, .307 in July and now .471 through the first five games in August.
It's enough production to turn heads toward a late-round Draft pick who isn't on any prospect lists.
"I've always been the kind that's under the radar," he said. "I don't care if I get all the attention anyway. I'm just trying to do what's best for the team and trying to get to the big leagues."
Voit grew up just outside of St. Louis and was drafted out of high school by the Royals. He said he felt he wasn't mature enough to handle professional baseball then, so he went to Missouri State, where he was a four-year starter. He was thrilled to be drafted by his hometown team, and this year he's playing in the same stadium -- Hammons Field -- in which he played his college games.
That, and a quality year at the plate, have made for an all-around positive fourth pro season.
"I've had a good year. We won the first half, [I] got to play in the All-Star game and the Home Run Derby where I went to school," he said. "Everything is great."
What it means for his future with the Cardinals will be determined.
"I'm putting up pretty good numbers and I'm playing well," he said. "But, I don't know. That's something for our front office to decide. I'll just keep playing and letting that do the talking."
Guzman to Triple-A: Ronald Guzman won't be pestering Texas League pitchers any more. The Frisco RoughRiders first baseman was promoted to Triple-A Round Rock earlier this week after hitting .288 with 15 homers and 56 RBIs for Frisco. Guzman, ranked by MLB.com as the Rangers' No. 5 prospect, went 3-for-17 with one homer through the weekend for Round Rock.
Fitting send-off: Derek Fisher clubbed a grand slam in Corpus Christi's win over San Antonio on Wednesday. Two days later, he was on his was way to Triple-A Fresno. Fisher hit .243 with 16 home runs and 59 RBIs while helping the Hooks win the first-half Texas League South Division title. The Astros' No. 8 prospect went 0-for-4 while playing right field in his first game for Fresno.
Average inflation: Matt Chapman has been among the Texas League's homer leaders all season. The Midland RockHounds' third baseman leads the circuit with 26 long balls. His average is starting to come around, too. The No. 4 A's prospect was hitting .223 on July 18 but is 23-for-75 since then with four homers, two triples and eight doubles. His average entering Monday's games was .240.
Troy Schulte is a contributor to MiLB.com.