Lansford Looking to Develop Power

Josh Lansford knows the rap about third base: it's a power hitter's position. As such, the 23-year-old Cubs prospect is looking to fall in line.

Lansford to date has eight home runs in over 550 career at-bats at the pro level. That's a number that falls far short of the expected power totals that most associate with the third base position, and Lansford wants to do something about it.

"I'm going to focus more on hitting for power," says Lansford, who played in 84 games a season ago with Class-A Peoria and batted .273 with three homers.

"It's one of my main goals."

But it may not be one that the Cubs have for the 2006 sixth-round draft pick.

Cubs Minor League Hitting Coordinator Dave Keller for one says he doesn't put too much stock into power numbers for players at the lower minor league levels.

"I want these guys to hit for average," says Keller. "I want them to understand how to handle the strike zone and the variety of pitches they see during their at-bats."

Lansford did that for the better part of last season.

He hit around .290 for much of the year at Peoria and made strides by cleaning up his plate mechanics, fanning 10 fewer times in nearly 100 more at-bats in the transition to full-season ball before suffering a sprained MCL on July 20.

That injury ended Lansford's regular season, but he recovered in time to play in 23 games in the Arizona Fall League beginning last October.

Afterward, he made the decision to bulk up in the weight room and has since added roughly 10 pounds to his 6-foot-2, 220-pound frame of a year ago.

In doing so, Lansford followed a slightly different workout regime than the previous year, concentrating more on upper body work rather than on abs exercises.

And of course, he made sure to solicit the advice of his father, the former American League batting champion Carney Lansford, who worked with Josh to retool his swing into one that will hopefully account for some added power.

"We spent the whole off-season reworking a swing that might generate more pop and a little more backspin to put myself in a better position to hit the ball," Josh said.

Lansford will get a chance to show off his bat and put his off-season work to the test when the minor league season officially begins Thursday, April 3.

He has spent time in minor league spring training with both the High-A Daytona squad and the Double-A Tennessee group. Most recently, he's been with the Daytona group, and the High-A level is where he expects to begin the season.

"I think I'll start there just because of the other guys they have ahead of me," said Lansford. "You have guys like Kyle Reynolds, who hit 21 home runs last year. He'll probably start at Double-A. Realistically, I'll probably start out in Daytona."

Which is fine with Lansford, who insists that in spite of his efforts to become more of a power hitter, he is focused only on playing as well as his talent level will allow.

Thus, he isn't getting ahead of himself or setting any numbers goals.

"I don't really want to throw numbers out there," said Lansford. "I'm focused on taking it one at-bat at a time and, hopefully, forcing some moves."

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