With a 2-0 count and the bases loaded in the third inning Thursday, Wil Myers dug in, looking for a fastball.
Kansas City's No. 2 prospect found one and parked it over the left-field wall, hitting a grand slam for his 21st overall home run this season. This particular shot, though, stood out from the 20 that preceded it for one very glaring reason -- the pitcher who threw the fastball happened to be Roy Oswalt.
"That was the most gratifying home run I've ever hit," said Myers. "That was definitely cool. I was lucky enough to get a good pitch over the plate and put a good swing on it."
Myers did his damage for the day with the one swing, going 1-for-4 in Triple-A Omaha's 7-2 win over Round Rock. Myers laid off an Oswalt curveball and then a two-seam fastball by the veteran that ran inside before his blast.
The outfielder said that, while he'd never faced a pitcher with Oswalt's pedigree in a regular-season game before, he tried not to approach the at-bat any differently from any other plate appearance.
"I just wanted to stay with my approach, not try to do too much," he noted. "I had a runner on third with less than two outs, so I just wanted to hit a fly ball. I was able to get good wood on it."
It was the fifth game out of his last seven in which Myers launched one out of the park. In 21 games with the Storm Chasers since being called up from Double-A Northwest Arkansas in mid-May, Myers hasn't missed a beat.
After Thursday's performance, his average sat at .321 and his slugging percentage clocked in at .703, numbers not far off his Double-A production, where he hit .343 with a .731 slugging percentage over the first 35 games of the year.
MLB.com's No. 16 prospect said the one thing he's noticed in the transition is a larger emphasis on breaking balls by Pacific Coast League pitchers.
"There are a lot more off-speed pitches," he said. "They don't give in to any hitters. I still swing at some pitches [I shouldn't]. The at-bat after the home run I struck out on three pitches, chased a couple sliders away, when I probably should've walked. That's the biggest thing for me."
Myers' RBI total is up to 52 on the year, seventh-most across the Minor Leagues. His 21 homers also give him sole possession of second place, one behind Triple-A Toledo's Brad Eldred.
On Thursday, Jake Odorizzi (3-0) came on after Everett Teaford threw the first two innings of the game. The right-hander proceeded to scatter one run on five hits and two walks while striking out 10 in 6 2/3 innings to earn the win, his most dominant appearance since his own callup to the Pacific Coast League. In 28 1/3 innings, the Royals' No. 4 prospect has a 2.22 ERA and 27 strikeouts against nine walks.
"He's been great all year," Myers said of Odorizzi. "I've been able to see every start of his and he looks dominant up there. In my opinion, he's the best pitcher I've seen all year."