It understandably took some time for Randy Arozarena to adjust to his first season in the United States. Judging by his numbers lately, it seems like the Cardinals No. 15 prospect is beginning to get the hang of things.
Arozarena blasted a grand slam in the second inning, his fourth homer in his last five games, as Class A Advanced Palm Beach beat Daytona, 9-3, on Sunday.
"He's getting adjusted to the culture and the language pretty well," Palm Beach hitting coach Erick Almonte said. "He seems really comfortable lately. He's been speaking more with his American teammates and is trying to learn more English every day. That's helping out with his performance on the field, and as the season goes along, it will only get better.
"He's taking better at-bats these days. He tells me every day that he's just trying to make good contact. He's been hitting some homers lately, but he's a line-drive hitter. But things have been working for him so that he's hitting for some power right now."
Gameday box score
Arozarena singled to center field in the first inning to extend his hitting streak to 10 games. Over that span, the 22-year-old outfielder is batting .310 (13-for-42) with four homers and 13 RBIs.
"The funny thing is that, in the beginning of the season, he was hitting the ball really hard but right at defenders," Almonte added. "Now he's finding some holes. In the first at-bat with two strikes, he just hit a line drive. We know he's got some bat speed, and right now, he's showing he can hit at this level."
In the second, Arozarena came up with the bases loaded and jumped on the first pitch from Reds No. 11 prospect Vladimir Gutierrez (4-5), sending it over the fence in left for his first career grand slam to extend his home run streak to three games.
"He's done a great job of taking advantage these past few games," Almonte said. "Everybody knows that in this league, almost everywhere you play, is a pitchers' ballpark. So he's taking advantage of playing these past four games in Daytona, which is a better hitting ballpark."
The two hits off the right-hander were another step in the right direction for Arozarena, who is batting .353 against lefties compared to .236 against right-handers.
"He's able to make adjustments every day," Almonte added. "His numbers against lefties have been very good, but he's coming along against righties because he's finding a way to make adjustments every single at-bat. That's why he's getting good at-bats."
In 56 games this season, Arozarena sports a .273/.332/.481 slash line with eight homers and 35 RBIs. The Havana, Cuba native is tied for fifth in the Florida State League with 17 doubles and stands sixth in the circuit with 104 total bases.
"He's a line-drive type of hitter with some pop," Almonte said. "He's got some power the other way too, and he can run pretty well. One thing he wants to do is to create more runs and cause more trouble when he's on the bases. When the second half begins, pitchers will pitch differently against him. But I think he will be up to the test and show everybody that he can put up good numbers for a whole season."
Reds No. 9 prospect Alfredo Rodriguez lofted his first career homer in the seventh.