Red-hot Pinder goes yard twice for Ports

A's No. 18 prospect is 10-for-15 with eight RBIs over last three games

Chad Pinder leads the California League with a .923 slugging percentage through nine games. (Mike Janes/Four Seam Images)

By Josh Jackson / | April 13, 2014 2:25 AM ET

The Visalia Rawhide have forgotten everything they thought they knew about Chad Pinder.

The A's No. 18 prospect went 4-for-4 with a pair of homers and three RBIs on Saturday night in Class A Advanced Stockton's 7-5 loss to visiting Visalia.

Pinder has homered in each of the first three games of the four-game series, going 10-for-15 with three doubles, eight RBIs and five runs scored. He's hit safely and scored at least one run in each of his last six games since he went 1-for-11 with five strikeouts in the season-opening series, which happened to be at Visalia.

"Anytime you can bounce back and do something different after you have a really rough two games against a team, that's great," Pinder said. "I was pressing too much [in the first series] and trying to impress people, and I got away from who I am as a player."

The 22-year-old middle infielder started the scoring Saturday with a bases-loaded single in the first inning that plated third-ranked A's prospect Daniel Robertson. He reached on an infield hit with two outs in the third.

"It was a backhand play for the shortstop and it got away from him a little bit, dipped under his glove," Pinder said. "It was one of those home-field advantage hits, which you'll take them every time."

Pinder, who was drafted out of Virginia Tech with the 71st overall pick last year, connected on a leadoff homer in the sixth inning, sending a fastball from reliever Kyle Winkler over the center-field fence. In the eighth, the right-handed hitter went to the opposite field for his California League-leading fifth homer.

The four-hit game boosted his batting average to .385 and his on-base percentage to .415.

"Things are clicking for me," Pinder said. "But you can't think too much about it. You know how this game is -- there are highs and low. Right now, I'm on a high, but you know a low will eventually come around. You've got to stay levelheaded and focused on the task at hand, which is to try to win ballgames."

The Ports have several other highly ranked Oakland prospects -- including Robertson, Billy McKinney, Renato Nunez and Matt Olson -- and Pinder believes their presence has made his job easier.

"There are no holes in our lineup. I'm getting a lot of pitches to put great swings on, which is what happens when they can't pitch around anybody," he said.

"We have a great atmosphere. It's crazy how much everybody meshes. Everyone mingles with each other off the field, and I think that plays a big part of what we do on the field. Everybody is playing for each other and pulling for each other."

As impressive as his game was on Saturday, Pinder said he wasn't happy with the outcome.

"It's fun to be hitting," he admitted, "but it would have been more fun to have gotten the win. We've got to get back out there [Sunday]."

Robertson had two hits, a walk and a run scored, while Nunez singled, walked and scored.

D-backs No. 8 prospect Brandon Drury went 3-for-5 with a double, two RBIs and two runs scored to raise his average to .295 for the Rawhide.

Josh Jackson 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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