OAKLAND – Just looking at Ramón Laureano, you would have no idea that he could crush baseballs as far as he does.
The center fielder of the A stands at 5 feet 11 feet and is best known for his great speed, but this season he has become a real batter in good faith.
Laureano, 24, launched his 18th home run of the year on Sunday, helping the Athletics sweep the White Sox, 3-2. His 18 home runs are third in the team and three ahead of Coco Crisp for the highest number of return players of an Oakland center fielder in the last 19 years.
– Oakland A & # 39; s (@Athletics) July 14, 2019
Laureano's increased power might come as a surprise to some, but not to Bob Melvin.
"At some point, we felt like I had the chance to be a 30-homer player," said the A's manager. "Maybe a little earlier than we expected, based on the experience in the big leagues, but not (surprised) at all if you see him taking (batting practice). He's a strong guy in every way, whether to throw the arm is either speed: today he stole a base quite easily, and he has a lot of power, so understanding the league, making adjustments and so on is not a surprise for me. "
However, the power aspect of Laureano's game is relatively new. Prior to this season, he had never hit more than 15 homers at any professional baseball level. Laureano credits his work in the weight room (added 10 pounds of muscle in the off-season) and plate adjustments for improvement.
"Over the years, I get bigger and bigger," he said. "(The power) will come in. I'm just trying to help the team win in any way I can."
Laureano has been especially productive in recent times. On Sunday he scored his fourth homer in the last five games and his 12th since early June. He has also demonstrated the ability to hit the long ball to all parts of the field, including the center and the right.
"Just stay behind (on the ball)," said Laureano about adjusting his main board. "That's."
Incredibly, Laureano has hit two homers more than current home run champion Khris Davis this season. Follow Matt Olson for just one long ball and Matt Chapman for three for the team leader.
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Perhaps most importantly, Laureano's increased power has not caused a fall in any other part of his game. He is still getting to the base and using his attacking speed, and of course, his arm in midfield is still spectacular.
We've said this before, but the A's really owe the Astros a nice gift basket for letting Laureano escape.