Jake Marisnick started the season in a 15-for-65 slump, struggling to get into a groove. But putting in extra work with Class A Advanced Dunedin hitting coach Ralph Dickenson -- tinkering with this swing, polishing his approach, making little adjustments to help him settle into a more relaxed state at the plate -- has paid off.
The Blue Jays' No. 3 prospect went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer for his fourth straight multi-hit game Saturday in Dunedin's 6-1 victory over the Tampa Yankees. Over his last five contests, Marisnick is 11-for-22 (.500) with all three of his homers and eight of his 13 RBIs.
"I've been focused on relaxing up there, not trying to get too mechanical with it," the 21-year-old outfielder said. "I've been putting in a lot of work with [Dickenson], trying to make minor adjustments. The biggest thing is turning my mind off and playing. And the results kind of speak for themselves."
The five-game run has raised Marisnick's average to .299, his on-base percentage to .392 and his slugging percentage to .540. More importantly, the 2009 third-round pick is looking like the guy who batted .320 and posted an .888 OPS for Class A Lansing in 2011 and earned the No. 57 spot on MLB.com's Top 100 Prospect list.
Marisnick credits the turnaround to the small corrections he's worked on with Dickenson that are less about physically changing how he swings and more about putting him in a state of mind to succeed at the plate.
"Obviously, I scuffled there for a little bit. It just feels good to get kind of back on track and relax," he said. "I mean,just going out there and playing and having fun. I've been feeling really good with putting the work in. Cleaning up the rough stuff and being able to relax, let my body work, be free and easy with it and hitting it with the barrel."
Being relaxed helps Marisnick so much, he said, because it's crucial to his timing and ability to see what's being thrown his way.
"With being more relaxed, it's the same swing, but I'm able to catch up to fastballs and recognize the off-speed pitches," he explained. "Before, I was getting beat. I'm having quality at-bats. I'm patient, swinging at my pitch, and the results have been showing.
"With the way the rest of the guys are playing, it kind of takes pressure off myself. I feel anybody in the lineup can do any job. It's a fun group of guys to play with."
Shortstop Kevin Nolan also homered for Dunedin, belting a two-run shot in the sixth. Starter Sean Nolin (3-0) remained unbeaten after allowing a run on two hits with five strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings.