Astros' Dirden earns Minor League Performer of the Week

May 10th, 2023

The first week of May was as good to as April was bad.

Houston's No. 7 prospect matched or exceeded his offensive output for the entire first month of the season in just five games last week for Triple-A Sugar Land. Dirden's prodigious output included two grand slams, a .500/.519/1.192 slash line, nine extra-base hits, four homers and 15 RBIs, numbers which earned him a well-deserved nod as Minor League Player of the Week in the Pacific Coast League for May 1-7.

The 25-year-old entered May batting .178 with a .565 OPS across his first 73 at-bats for the Space Cowboys. His monstrous week pushed his line to .269/.339/.519 with five dingers and 19 RBIs in 25 games.

"I think a lot of it was just being able to simplify what I'm doing at the plate mechanically," Dirden told MLB Network's Harold Reynolds. "That really allowed me to be on time a little bit more to the fastball. That really helped me to see the pitches a little bit deeper, especially with the offspeed from the lefties ... and trying to hit line drives."

Dirden's week began inauspiciously with an 0-for-5 showing, but he followed that up with a four-hit performance against Albuquerque that included three doubles, his first grand slam and a career-high six RBIs. The Southeast Missouri State product hit another slam the following day and entered Tuesday's tilt with El Paso having gone deep in four consecutive games.

Dirden is no stranger to the long ball, having gone deep a personal-best 24 times with Double-A Corpus Christi and Sugar Land last year. Through his first two-plus seasons, the left-handed batter has slugged 44 home runs, many to the opposite field.

"I would say I pride myself on it for sure," Dirden said of his oppo power. "It really allows me to stay inside the ball, 100 percent. It allows me to see it a little bit deeper. I don't really care too much if it goes out to left, right ... you know it doesn't really matter to me where that ball decides to go but just trying to get a barrel on it and see where it goes."

Dirden went undrafted in 2020 and decided to sign with the Astros as a free agent for $20,000 and admits that time was a factor.

"I took that option based off of age, really," he explained. "That was ... my fifth year in college down at Southeast Missouri State. I could have gone back to school ... but the dream was always to play ball. Once you're on the field, compared to a first-rounder or a second-rounder or a free agent, you're just a guy playing ball. You get that opportunity and see what you can do with it."