Tourists' Simon sends home seven

Outfielder homers twice, doubles twice in 16-3 rout of Drive

By Jonathan Raymond / Special to | July 24, 2012 8:27 PM ET

It says a lot about a player's offense when his team scores 16 runs and he was responsible for nearly half of them being driven in.

Jared Simon homered twice, doubled another two times and picked up seven RBIs Tuesday in Class A Asheville's 16-3 rout of Greenville. Colorado's right-field prospect went a perfect 5-for-5 and scored four times as well. The Tourists' 16 runs tied a season high -- they also posted a 16-0 defeat of West Virginia in April -- on 22 hits, the most they've put together this year.

Simon singled in the second inning, knocked a three-run homer in the fourth, doubled in the sixth, hit another three-run shot in the seventh and added one final RBI double in the eighth.

"That was pretty crazy, once in a lifetime," said Simon of his big game. "Everything was pretty much full motion, getting good pitches to hit, seeing the ball well. Everything felt really good off the bat, I wasn't missing pitches."

It could perhaps be better characterized as twice in a lifetime after the 2010 sixth-rounder had a similar outburst last season, going 5-for-6 with a pair of homers and six RBIs last Aug. 10 for Class A Short-Season Tri-City.

The difference seems to be an overall broader power surge by Simon this season. The 23-year-old has 11 homers and 17 doubles in 83 games for Asheville. In 127 games over two seasons for Tri-City between 2010-'11, he hit six home runs and doubled 17 times.

His slugging percentage also stands at .434 after his banner day, 74 points better than the .360 mark he posted for the Dust Devils last year.

Simon attributed his new-found stroke to a leg kick he incorporated into his swing this offseason.

"I've got some more juice in my swing now, and it's just the first season I'm using it," he noted. "I've never had one in my life, so the timing was a lot different. It was hard at first getting used to it. But I feel like it gets my hips more into it, uses my lower body a lot more than before. I used to just step and not get the lower body involved."

The Tampa University product is hitting .263 with a .344 on-base percentage, both career bests despite moving up a level this year to the South Atlantic League.

Simon's double in the eighth bounced off the center-field wall, and with a triple, he would have recorded a cycle. He said he would have tried for third base, except he didn't realize he had history in the making.

"I had no idea I needed a triple," he said. "[My teammates] were pretty mad I didn't go for it when I hit that one off the wall. I still got a few baths from them with Gatorade and ice water."

After the Asheville offense had scored just three runs combined in its past three games -- all losses -- Simon said the most satisfying part Tuesday was seeing the team produce as a whole again.

"The first half of the season we had a lot of days like today," he said. "This feels more like the way we can hit. Hopefully it's pretty much a breakout game for the team, and there's more to come for me and the team."

William Swanner went 3-for-4 with a two-run homer and Jordan Ribera and David Kandilas also went yard. Shortstop Trevor Story went 2-for-6 with his 28th double of the season.

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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