Myles Straw has high hopes this season. He wants to be a menace in the batter's box and on the basepaths.
And the Astros' No. 21 prospect is off to a terrific start.
The 2015 12th-round pick raised his average to .420, his OPS to .900 and his stolen base total to 11 on Saturday, going 5-for-5 with a triple, two runs scored, a stolen base, an RBI and a walk in Double-A Corpus Christi's 10-3 win over Frisco at Dr Pepper Ballpark. The performance came one night after teammate Ryne Birk had five hits.
Gameday box score
"I've been working with my hitting coach with a couple of things with my swing, I really overemphasized those today," said Straw, who also collected four hits in a 9-0 romp over Arkansas on Tuesday. "I thought about those swings when I went to the plate and, sure enough, I got some pretty good pitches to hit and the results came out good."
Straw is one point off the Texas League batting lead. He singled once to right field, once to center and twice to the opposite field. His triple was driven over right fielder Eliezer Alvarez's head in the ninth inning after falling into an 0-2 count.
"That was the best part of the night," said Straw, who also went 5-for-5 for Class A Quad Cities on July 1, 2016. "You can't beat that one, especially when [Adam Choplick] probably threw me the nastiest splitter I've ever seen. After I hit that one, I was pretty happy."
Video: Astros' Straw legs out triple for fifth hit
Straw is a prolific basestealer, with the 23-year-old swiping 11 bags in 15 games. He stole 36 bases in 114 games in the Carolina League last season. The speedy outfielder harbors formidable goals on the bases, especially with an emphasis up and down the Astros system on aggressive baserunning and speed and agility training: He wants to stockpile 100 thefts.
"If it happens, it happens. But I'm shooting for a high number," Straw said. "That's a big thing with the Astros. We have a 'so what' mentality. If we get thrown out, we get thrown out. But it's development. That's how you learn how to run the bases. It puts a lot of pressure off you; if you get caught stealing, it's whatever, so be it. We run and more times than not we're coming out on the better side of it."
If you think that's overambitious, think again. Through 15 games, the outfielder is on pace to swipe about 106 bags.
Straw earned a non-roster invitation to Major League Spring Training and hit .286 in 14 at-bats before being assigned to Minor League camp. Being in the presence of several big leaguers was the biggest thrill for Straw, most notably a 15-minute coversation with Jose Altuve, who said he wanted the 23-year-old to raise his OPS this season.
Every other time the American League MVP spoke during Spring Training, Straw made a point of listening.
"He's honestly kind of tough to talk to because he knows a lot about hitting and it's like, 'Geez, this guy is almost too much,'" Straw said. "That's definitely the guy you want to talk to about hitting. He definitely knows what he's talking about, so anything he can tell me and I could do, I'm definitely going to do it. Watching that guy, hearing from that guy and him giving me his time means the world."
The California native earned a brief callup to Double-A last year, collecting 11 singles in 46 games after hitting .296 at Class A Advanced Buies Creek. Getting a glimpse of Texas League pitching -- Padres hurlers Eric Lauer, Joey Lucchesi and Cal Quantrill and the rest of the 2017 San Antonio staff come to his mind -- has paid dividends this season.
"It's nice to face people like that because you're going to face guys like that in the big leagues," Straw said. "You're going to have to hit that at some point or another."
With the Hooks totaling 17 hits for the second straight game, Taylor Jones roped a pair of doubles and drove in three runs, while James Ritchie contributed a pair of doubles and two RBIs. Nick Tanielu homered and drove in two runs.