SURPRISE, Ariz. -- It doesnt really matter what Kyle Jensen did before Arizona Fall League. In the desert, hes not ready for a dry spell.
Im staying calm at the plate, the outfielder said before a game in Surprise. Im putting a nice, easy swing on the ball. Staying with my approach, not expanding the zone.
On the Phoenix Desert Dogs roster, Jensens approach is paying off. His numbers are impressive: .350 batting average, .403 on-base percentage and a .544 slugging percentage.
The 24-year-old made his mark in the Florida State League, earning the MVP award for his 2011 season. In his last few weeks of the 2012 regular season with the Double A Jacksonville Suns, he was batting .429 but struck out a startling 162 times.
In a lot of his stuff, its not that hes not capable of doing it, said Darnell Coles, Jensens hitting coach with the Desert Dogs. Its the consistency of going out and having success that allows you to feel good about yourself on a daily basis, and that translates into better [at-bats]
From Day 1, hes worked on some mechanical things that the Marlins have put into play, and Im trying to make sure they get their work done. So far, so good. Weve got three weeks left, and I look forward to seeing him continue and play well.
The soft-spoken Jensen is honored to have been invited by the Marlins to show what he can do in fall league. He thinks its a good sign, and Coles believes that the prospects struggles will be his ultimate lesson.
Most importantly, you learn a lot from your struggles ... when you struggle it shows your true character, the major-league veteran said of Jensens work in Arizona.
Youve got to find a true understanding of what youre doing wrong, come to the ballpark and put in the work it takes to get better.
Jensen hit the score-tying grand slam in the seventh in Tuesdays game against the Mesa Solar Sox, and hes tied for fifth in the league with 31 total bases.
He sees his trip to Arizona as a good sign, and maybe one that will see him join his longtime minor-league roommate, A.J Ramos, with the big club sooner rather than later.
This September he got a call-up. I was really happy and proud of him, Jensen said, seeming relieved to talk about someone other than himself. Hopefully, in the future we can be teammates again.