Even though his numbers weren't where he wanted them to be, Hudson Potts believed that things would turn around if he stuck with his approach. It looks like he was right.
The Padres' No. 23 prospect continued his hot streak by going 3-for-3 with a homer, three RBIs and four runs scored as Class A Fort Wayne tied its single-game record for runs with an 18-5 romp over Great Lakes on Friday night. Over his last 10 games, Potts has hit .375/.432/.675 with three homers and seven RBIs.
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"I've been feeling comfortable for most of the season, but I just haven't been having statistical success," the 2016 first-round pick said. "I've been barrelling up balls all year, but I haven't had too much luck until now and good things are starting to happen. I haven't really changed much. I'm just trying to grind it out and good things are starting to happen."
After getting hit by a pitch in the second inning, Potts singled up the middle in the third and drew a walk in the fifth. In 111 games with the TinCaps this season, the 18-year-old has 20 walks while striking out 127 times.
"I definitely think the strikeout numbers will go down over time," Potts said. "I've already got better at figuring out how pitchers are attacking me and working on different approaches. I know for a fact that, over time, I'll get better and better at it and will have more power and less strikeouts. It's coming with time.
"I don't fear striking out, I just think about what my goal is for the at-bat and what the game is asking me to do in a certain spot and being smart about it."
Potts added another base knock in the sixth and delivered a three-run homer to left-center in the seventh.
"It was a 1-1 pitch and [Evy Ruibal] hung a curveball up, so I jumped on it. I didn't really think too much. I just reacted when I saw it up and I got the barrel on it," the 6-foot-3, 205-pounder said.
In his first full season, Potts is batting .241/.284/.407 with 15 homers and 53 RBIs. Considering where those numbers were at the end of July, when he had a .223/.261/.367 slash line through 95 games, Potts is happy with the direction things appear to be headed.
"It's definitely been tough and it takes a lot of maturity, but I think I'm pretty mature for my age and I take a lot of pride in that," he said. "I haven't got too high when it's going well or too low when you're doing terrible. I've just tried to remain as level as I can because I've always known I'll do well and I know how I can perform."
Fernando Tatis Jr., MLB.com's No. 58 overall prospect, doubled, walked three times and scored three runs for the TinCaps.
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Jim McDade (3-3), who replaced starter and San Diego No. 5 prospect Adrian Morejon to start the third, spun five perfect innings with five strikeouts for Fort Wayne.