Cody Asche admittedly didn't enjoy the best introduction to professional baseball after being drafted in 2011. But his play this season has all but rendered those struggles to be distant memories.
Asche continued his strong Arizona Fall League campaign Monday, going 3-for-4 with two doubles, two RBIs and two runs scored to lead first-place Peoria in a 10-7 victory over visiting Salt River.
The 22-year-old raised his AFL average to .302 in 18 games for the Javelinas, coupled with a .348 on-base percentage and a .492 slugging percentage. He sports a home run, nine doubles and nine RBIs.
This after a season in which the fourth-rounder out of the University of Nebraska broke out as a prospect with a strong year split between Class A Advanced Clearwater and Double-A Reading, following a 2011 debut with Class A Short-Season Williamsport in which he hit .192 in 68 games.
"I struggled a lot my first year at short season," Asche said. "It's just a credit to our organization for working hard and not giving up on me, taking the time to help me improve myself and my skills. They could have easily gave up, but we have good coaches who stuck with me and helped me out a lot. That's the reason for my success."
Philadelphia's No. 18 prospect began the season by hitting .349 in the Florida State League in 62 games, earning a late June promotion to the Eastern League.
With Reading, Asche batted .300 and slugged .513 in 68 games to end the year, slugging 20 doubles and 10 home runs along the way. Overall, he finished with a .324/.369/.481 line in 130 games between the two levels.
Traveling to Arizona for the competitive prospect-laden Fall League hasn't slowed him down yet either.
"It's great competition [here], there's great players. I think what you see down here is players rise up, play to the competition. You get a lot of good players together and everyone steps up a little, and that's why this league is so good, such a good learning experience," he noted.
The third baseman added that, with the right work ethic, he thought he could maintain his elevated levels of production next season.
"I think the thing is -- don't waste the time you have with coordinators and coaches, they all have something good to teach you. You have to pick their brains and learn as much as you can," he said. "[Last offseason] I learned as much as I could and took what they taught me and ran with it."
On Monday, Nick Franklin (Mariners) and Nate Freiman (Padres) each drove in two runs for Peoria as well. San Diego's Robbie Erlin earned his first win of the fall, scattering three hits and a walk while striking out four over four scoreless innings.
Chris Owings (Diamondbacks) went 3-for-5, falling a triple short of the cycle while driving in three runs for the Rafters, and Sean Ochinko (Blue Jays) added a three-run homer.
Jonathan Raymond is a contributor to MLB.com.