Astros prospect leads Minors in homers
Gaston has gone deep seven times in his last six games
Despite his strong numbers this season, Lancaster's Jon Gaston wasn't happy with the way he was swinging the bat as recently as last week.
Since then, the California League All-Star has made adjustments at the plate -- including incorporating his hands more into the swing -- and they've worked out well, judging by the way baseballs have been flying out of Clear Channel Stadium.
Gaston has blasted seven home runs in his last six contests, including two in the JetHawks' 5-1 win over the Stockton Ports on Tuesday, and tops all of the Minor Leagues with 27 dingers.
"It definitely means something," the center fielder said. "It's a big honor. It's really cool. I play with and against a lot of these guys who are among the leaders. It's a surreal moment right now, but things can change or things can continue. That's what I've got to focus on.
"I'm trying not to overthink anything and see where it takes me," he added. "Right now, I'm just trying to see the ball, hit the ball and keep it simple."
Both of Gaston's long balls were solo shots, one in the first inning and the other in the fifth.
"I saw a fastball middle away and I got a pitch to hit," he said. "Then in the fifth, he threw me a changeup and I got a hold of that. I just saw them well and put a good barrel on it."
Gaston can see Cal League pitchers trying to adjust to him. But he's also focused on his own counter moves.
"I'm seeing a lot more off-speed [pitches], a lot more 'in and out' and balls off the plate," he said. "They are mixing it up a lot better. I guess I'm able to adjust, seeing as I know what they are trying to do to me now. I still have to stay according to plan, which is to get a good pitch to hit."
Gaston is hitting .307 but is 13-for-36 (.361) in his last 10 games. And while his recent surge is positive from a personal standpoint, he knows it doesn't mean much unless it helps the JetHawks, who stopped a four-game skid with Tuesday's victory.
"Our pitchers did awesome," Gaston said of the team effort. (Leandro Cespedes) threw well. He got ahead of pretty much every hitter. That's what's going to happen. We have some good offense to back it up with and we will start winning."
Cespedes (6-6) allowed a run on six hits and two walks while striking out three over six innings. Jordan Powell followed with three perfect frames for his third save.
Despite a tough week, Lancaster is only 2 1/2 games out of first place in the South Division. Gaston can take some responsibility there, since he's fourth in the league with 72 RBIs.
"I don't take the credit," he said. "I give God the glory because he's given me the gift. So far, it's been awesome. Being on the first-half All-Star team, there have been a lot of exciting moments. It's been a great start to my career."
Bailey Stephens is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.