Michael Taylor is quickly putting a frustrating regular season behind him.
The Athletics outfield prospect hit his second homer in as many Arizona Fall League games Wednesday, powering the Phoenix Desert Dogs to a 6-3 victory over the Mesa Solar Sox.
"I'm coming here for the first time with a little bit of something to prove," Taylor said. "I'm just trying to get back to the basics that let me have success through my career."
The 24-year-old Stanford product led off the second inning with a double, coming around to score on a double play by former first-round pick Kyle Skipworth (Marlins). In the eighth, he hit reliever Eric Niesen's first pitch the other way over the right-field fence to extend the Desert Dogs' lead to 4-2. Taylor added an RBI single in the ninth.
"Right now, early on, I'm just trying to see strikes, but sometimes you can make the game a lot harder than it is," he said. "I feel pretty good at the plate and I want to put a good swing on a ball that I can get full extension on it. I think that as a hitter you can have success if you swing at pitches you think you can handle."
Acquired last December in the three-team trade involving Roy Halladay, Taylor slumped to six homers in 127 games with Triple-A Sacramento this season after hitting 20 across two levels in 2009.
"It was a frustrating year," he said. "A lot of things go into why a player has a good year or a bad year. Sometimes it's luck, sometimes it's circumstances; obviously, I had some hopes for this season and it didn't quite work out the way I wanted to, but I learned more from this season than I did any other season because I learned how I had to grind in the face of disappointment.
"I'm as proud of it as any other season because of the amount of work I put in. It's tough to come in every day when you're searching for something that can help you make the leap."
IMG Academy baseball program alum, Tyler Pastornicky (Braves), collected three hits and two RBIs, while former first-round pick Grant Green (Athletics) contributed an RBI groundout. Cory Harrilchak (Braves) was 3-for-5 and scored a run.
"I've been impressed with his polish," Taylor said of Pastornicky. "He looks like he takes good at-bats and he was squaring balls up and made some smart defensive plays and got some big hits. He should do pretty well here."
Another Braves prospect, Cody Gearrin (1-0), got the win in relief after yielding one hit over two scoreless innings. Starter Carlos Hernandez (A's) tossed three shutout frames and Dodgers farmhand Javy Guerra struck out one in a hitless ninth for the save.
Angels infielder Brandon Wood was 2-for-4 with a solo homer for the Solar Sox (1-1). Tim Kennelly (Phillies) had an RBI single and Mets prospect Jordany Valdespin plated a run and stole a base.
Chris Carpenter (0-1) absorbed the loss in relief, allowing one run on three hits over two innings. Fellow Cubs prospect Kyle Smit fanned three over two shutout frames.