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With new stance, Powell pops another

Oakland prospect puts suspension in past with power surge for Mesa
October 15, 2014

The key for standing a little taller in the A's farm system for Boog Powell? Literally standing taller.

The A's No. 20 prospect tweaked his batting stance prior to Tuesday's game and the move paid immediate dividends. The 21-year-old homered Tuesday and again Wednesday, with the latter blast propelling Mesa to a 5-2 win over Peoria in Arizona Fall League action.

Powell homered in Mesa's 10-7 loss to Scottsdale on Tuesday.

The outfielder hit Wednesday's homer on a 2-2, 94-mph fastball in the seventh inning from right-hander Brandon Cunniff.

Mesa hitting coach Greg Sparks -- who also handles those chores for Oakland at the Triple-A level -- worked with Powell to narrow his stance and get him positioned more upright at the plate. The move wasn't necessarily supposed to unlock Powell's power. Rather, the goal was to keep his head more still through his swing.

"I used to be really spread apart," Powell said. "Now I'm starting a little shorter, starting short, so then I'm more straight up.

"I was just trying to keep my head still. When I was more spread apart, every time I swung my head would come up. Now I'm just staying even."

Powell finished 1-for-4 with three RBIs and has two homers in 17 AFL at-bats. During a breakout regular season, he hit .343 with just three long balls in 315 at-bats.

"It's amazing," the Orange Coast Community College product said. "I'm just focused on getting on base, then to hit two home runs, it's been big. I've been working on trying to add more pop. It's finally starting to happen."

The 2012 20th-round pick grabbed attention this summer by batting .335 with a .452 on-base percentage and more walks (53) than strikeouts (49) with Class A Beloit. He was promoted in late June to Class A Advanced Stockton, but received a 50-game suspension just days later after testing positive for amphetamines. Still, Powell was named one of the A's Organizational All-Stars by

The trip to the Arizona Fall League was an unexpected opportunity for Powell to get at-bats in a competitive environment. On the Mesa roster, he's teammates with fellow 2012 A's Draft picks matt Olson, Daniel Robertson and Addison Russell, as well as college teammate and Cubs prospect Bijan Rademacher.

"I wouldn't think they'd pick me to come here," Powell said. "Now I'm just trying to show what I've got."

No. 5 Cubs prospect C.J. Edwards started for Mesa and tossed three scoreless innings. The right-hander allowed a hit and a run while striking out three to slim his AFL ERA to 1.80 in two starts. The 23-year-old sported a 2.44 ERA in 10 starts with Double-A Tennessee this summer, missing some time due to a shoulder injury.

Russell, ranked second in the Cubs' system, collected an RBI double.

Jake Seiner is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter at @Jake_Seiner.