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Talley hits a pair of All-Star homers

Blue Jays prospect looking to increase power numbers
June 17, 2012
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Jon Talley smacked two homers in the Florida State League All-Star Game on Saturday night in front of the largest crowd he's played before this season.

That total amounts to half of what he's hit so during the regular season.

And Talley couldn't be happier.

After putting up the type of power numbers both he and the Blue Jays organization will expect from a first baseman in 2011, Talley finished the first half of the FSL season with a .302 batting average that ranks ninth in the league.

"I knew I could hit the ball with power and I knew I could drive in the runs, but I wasn't happy with the consistency I had at the plate," said Talley, who batted .241 with 99 strikeouts last season for the Dunedin Blue Jays. "I worked hard in the offseason on keeping the bat through the zone longer and focusing on working good at-bats. So far, it's paid off this year."

After posting career highs in pretty much every offensive category last season with Dunedin -- 21 doubles, 20 homers and 63 RBIs -- the 6-foot-3, 220-pound prospect has only four homers. But he does have 57 hits in 189 at-bats.

While Talley admits his strikeout total (42) this year is still too high, he believes he's on the way to becoming a more complete hitter.

"My confidence is a lot higher now because of the strength I've added to my body, and that's carried over to being able to produce big hits when I need to -- and productive hits as well," said Talley, who has a .819 OPS.

The 23-year-old California native was impressive against the South All-Stars, smacking two solo shots that easily cleared the wall in right-center field.

"I was just seeing the ball really well tonight," said Talley, who popped up and struck out in his other two at-bats. "I almost connected on that third at-bat, but I got under it just a bit."

Now that Talley has been able to hit for average, he hopes to bring his home run total up in the second half.

"I don't want to overdo anything, but I'd like to start driving the ball a bit more," said Talley, who has 11 doubles and 32 RBIs. "I just need to stay focused on doing those things well. Everything else in terms of getting promoted will just take care of themselves."

In brief

Going, going, gone: Lakeland Flying Tigers right fielder Avisail Garcia won Home Run Derby before the All-Star Game with nine blasts, including four in the final round. He beat out Nelson Perez of the Daytona Cubs and Cory Vaughn of the St. Lucie Mets.

Pitching prowess: Before the South scored three runs in both the seventh and eighth innings, North Division pitchers combined to allow five hits over six scoreless innings. Cubs left-hander Austin Kirk got the start and hurled a perfect first. Clearwater Threshers southpaw Austin Wright allowed by allowing two hits in the second. Blue Jays right-hander Casey Lawrence threw 16 strikes in a 19-pitch third, yielding one hit. Threshers lefty Jesse Biddle threw 18 pitches (13 strikes), gave up two hits and fanned three in the fourth. Casey Medlen of the Brevard County Manatees walked two and struck one in the fifth before Dunedin lefty Egan Smith worked a perfect sixth.

Chris Girandola is a contributor to