Marc Krauss has been Brick bashing.
An infielder/outfielder for the Oklahoma City RedHawks, Krauss is hitting .356 with five home runs and 22 RBIs at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark after 1-for-3 with another RBI in Sunday's 9-3 loss to Salt Lake City.
“It's obvious I feel very comfortable here,” Krauss said. “You do the same thing every day, a beautiful clubhouse, nice (batting) cages to prepare yourself every day. You get into a good routine.”
The RedHawks have played the majority of their games at home early this season. Overall, Krauss is hitting .294 with seven homers and 27 RBIs. But his splits between home and road have been dramatic.
On the road Krauss is batting .167 with only two homers.
“It's hard to say why that's happened,” said RedHawks manager Tony DeFrancesco. “You take B.P. (batting practice) here every day here so you're comfortable. But he's come a long way from his numbers (in OKC) last year. He's put himself on the map.”
Krauss's home/road splits should become balanced over the course of a 144-game season, but for now he's enjoying his hot bat at the Brick.
“Nothing really changes,” Krauss said. “You're out of your element a little bit at other places, playing in stadiums for the first time. Compound that with different pitchers you've never seen and it throws you off a little bit.”
Krauss said daily work with RedHawks hitting coach Leon Roberts has helped him produce more consistently this season.
“It's basically mental stuff. He's not working on too much with me mechanically,” Krauss said. “It's been more your mindset when you're in the box, using your strengths to your advantage. It's been great to see some success and help the team win. It's always nice to see results from your hard work.”
Krauss isn't the only player that's hit better at the Brick. The RedHawks are hitting .301 at home, averaging nearly six runs a game.
Overall, the RedHawks are 14-8 at home. They had an 11-game home winning streak snapped Saturday night against Salt Lake City.
“The only thing we try to do at home is win every series and then split on the road, which is usually good enough to get in the playoffs,” DeFrancesco said. “It's good to be playing well at home.”
A second-round pick by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2009 out of Ohio University, Krauss was traded to the Astros in midseason last year.
Krauss, 25, has played left field, right field, served as the RedHawks designated hitter and also has played a dozen games at first base, which is where he played Sunday night.
“I've always been an outfielder since college and my first four years of pro ball. This is really the first time I've played first,” Krauss said. “I'm more used to the outfield but will play wherever they need me.”
After hitting .271 with 20 homers and 79 RBIs last year, the majority of his at bats in Double-A, Krauss is getting to the age he needs consistent production to have a legitimate shot at a regular job in the majors.
There are more opportunities with the rebuilding Astros than a lot of organizations that have rosters stocked with veteran players.
“If you produce down here they're going to give you a chance,” Krauss said. “That's the great thing about this organization. But I try not to worry about when or how I need to get there. I just keep grinding down here and try to help this team win. If my name is ever called (to the majors) that would be great.”