Single-A Potomac Nationals outfielder J.P. Ramirez crushed his first career grand slam this week as he continues to swing a hot bat with the second half of the Carolina League season underway.
You will remember this is the time of year the P-Nats got on an incredible roll last season en route to their second Mills Cup championship in three seasons. The team raced out to 7-6 start to begin the final three months of the season and Ramirez is one of the reasons for that success.
The 21-year-old has been on a nice 10-game streak, where he has hit .390 with 16 hits, three doubles and eight RBIs. He has had at least one base hit in eight of his last 10 outings.
The grand slam was indicative of recent at-bats for the left-handed hitting Ramirez, and a part of change at the plate that has helped him see the ball better and have more time to make contact.
"I was just trying to see the ball up," Ramirez said about the homer. "I was not trying to do too much. I knew it was off speed. I don't know if it was a curve ball or a changeup, but I saw it up. I tried to put a good swing on it. I was just trying to put the barrel on the ball and the ball took off."
Ramirez wasn't hitting this way in the first half of the season, so he got with the coaching staff and out in the extra work to figure out what was going wrong.
"It is all about getting into a groove," Ramirez said. "Me and (hitting coach Mark) Harris worked in the cage day in and day out and finally something clicked. He stayed with me. I am just trying to have fun now and just put the same swing I every ball I swing at."
"It is about putting my hands in the same spot as I need to put them. I need to put my foot down a lot earlier and (that helped me to) see the ball and put a good swing on it."
Harris said Ramirez was able to turn things around when they figured out the small things with his set up at the plate that weren't going well. Since then, he has raised his average over 33 points in the last two weeks.
"It was just a couple of mechanical issues he fought with all year," Harris said. "He finally got a hold of the idea and started grasping it a little bit. He is seeing the ball a little longer. He is not chasing as many bad pitches. Therefore, he is getting into hitting counts and doing something with his balls."