Chukars' Straub ends season with five hits

Royals prospect homers, scores career-high four runs in finale

Tyler Straub went 12-for-27 (.444) with seven runs scored in seven games in September. (Stephen Smith/Four Seam Images)

By Jonathan Raymond / | September 10, 2017 1:09 AM ET

Tyler Straub saved his best for last.

The Royals prospect had never gotten more than three hits in a game before Satuday's regular-season finale, but he wound up skipping four and going straight to five.

Straub went 5-for-6 with a homer, two RBIs and four runs scored as Rookie-level Idaho Falls wrapped up the Pioneer League campaign with a 17-8 victory over playoff-bound Ogden at Lindquist Field.

"Once the hits start piling on, they just say it's contagious and it really is," the University of Texas-San Antonio product said after raising his batting average 13 points to .278. "You just feed off that stuff. We have competitions in the dugout to see who can have the best game -- about time to get it. Always had Robby Rinn snaking it from me."

Rinn, hitting .355, went 2-for-5 and was one of six Chukars with multi-hit games.

Gameday box score

Straub said he worked early this season with hitting coach Damon Hollins on retooling his swing. Where he once felt he had a stance similar to Mike Trout's, with hands high over his head and a leg kick, the 24-year-old said he simplified it to model himself more after Nolan Arenado, keeping his pre-swing lower body steadier.

"We just broke it down," Straub said. "It was really tough at first, I was struggling with it right away. But coach kept telling me, 'It's not going to happen overnight,' and I just kept working every day. I [was in] the cage early, at batting practice, and I took it to the game and trusted it and it ended up working."

Straub enjoyed a noticeable improvement from his debut campaign last season. He posted a .362 on-base percentage to build on the .381 mark he posted in 2016 in the Appalachian League. But his power numbers soared as he slugged .416 with five homers in 67 games, compared to a .320 mark without a homer in 35 games with Rookie-level Burlington.

The New Mexico product said the power spike was a pleasant surprise that came from the swing change and is something he hopes to build on.

"I didn't get many games last year; this year, there was a lot of opportunity," Straub added. "Worked really hard and the power numbers went up noticeably, that was cool to see happen. Shortening up my swing gave me the best opportunity to hit the ball hard."

Straub started Saturday's game with a leadoff double to left field in the second inning, scoring on Matt Morales' infield single. He reached on an error in the third, singled in the fifth, smacked a two-run homer to center in the sixth and rounded things out with singles in the eighth and ninth.

Both Cristhian Vasquez and Darrell Miller went 3-for-5 with two RBIs for the Chukars. Travis Jones tripled, doubled and drove in three runs, while Morales and Rinn each had a pair of RBIs.

Jonathan Raymond is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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