All that Marcelo Mayer accomplished during his first full professional season in 2022 proved why he's regarded as one of baseball's best young talents.
But as impressive as his performance was last year, it pales in comparison to what he's done through the first seven weeks of 2023.
MLB's No. 5 prospect has officially arrived.
The 20-year-old clocked his sixth and seventh long balls of the season, giving him three in the last three games and six in May. He's more than halfway toward the career-high 13 jacks he compiled last year in 91 games with Single-A Salem and Greenville.
"The biggest difference for me [in my third year as a pro] is my prep before games," Mayer said. "Finding that routine, staying consistent and learning how to build off it. We play so many games, it's important to keep your head in the right spot. The body may not always cooperate, but keeping your mind right and keeping things in perspective is key."
Coming off just his third hitless effort in 12 games this month, the top-ranked Red Sox prospect opened the scoring with a shot over the left-field fence. His second homer helped ignite a four-run eighth inning that broke open the game for the Drive.
The two roundtrippers were nice, but Mayer wasn't focused on anything but staying locked in.
"Just sticking with my approach," he explained. "I got a good pitch, I put a good swing on it and it snuck out."
Thanks to his teammates' offensive exploits, Mayer got a chance in the ninth for a third home run, but he grounded out.
"That one," he said of his last plate appearance, "I might have been going for [a third homer]."
Mayer, who put together a .254/.375/.388 slash line in 17 April contests, has warmed with the spring weather. The California native is batting .379 with a 1.196 OPS, 12 extra-base hits and 18 RBIs in May, despite missing a week earlier this month. Mayer has been particularly effective on the road, where he's slugged five of his seven taters and is batting .419 with a 1.293 OPS.
The hot stretch has lifted the lefty-hitting shortstop's overall slash line to .312/.387/.576 with 18 extra-base hits and 29 RBIs in 30 games, third-best in the South Atlantic League.
"The biggest thing for me this month has been simplifying my approach," Mayer said. "Narrowing in on the zone and doing my best to lay off certain pitches."
Boston selected the Eastlake High School product fourth overall in the 2021 MLB Draft. He became the highest Red Sox pick since Mike Garman went third in 1967. Garman went on to play parts of nine seasons in the Majors, but Mayer is not looking that far ahead, nor is he about to let any outside pressure get to him.
"Thankfully it doesn’t at all," he said. "I love the game, I play hard and do what I can to help my team win. The off-field distractions don't enter my mind.
"Now, I'd be lying if I said I didn’t think about what's to come. All players are striving to get to that next level because it's one step closer to the Majors. But I can only control what I can control, so I make sure I keep my feet exactly where they are."