For Potomac reserve outfielder Domonique Lewis, it's hard to ignore the statistics. His batting average has dipped below .200, his slugging percentage is .221 and his on-base percentage is just .269.
But Lewis has been able to concentrate on the positives. He has started to adjust to the better pitching he is seeing in Class A baseball and is third on the team with 10 stolen bases in 49 games.
"In the lower A level, you can pretty much sit fastball," said the 24-year-old. "They pitch a little backwards here, so when I'm expecting a fastball, I get a breaking ball. I'm doing a lot better, and I'm hitting the ball hard now."
Lewis has spent this season learning from teammates who have progressed beyond Class A. Fellow outfielder Chad Durham, who has played extensively in Class AA, has been one of the teachers.
"Watching Chad and talking to him, I learned to steal bases in different counts, and he tells me what to expect [in different counts at bat], and I try it out and see if it works for me, and it's been helping me a lot," said the native of Channelview, Tex.
Lewis was selected by the Reds in the 34th round of the 2001 draft from Southwest Texas State, where he batted .345 in the Bobcats' 2000 Southland Conference tournament championship season and .293 the following year.
He earned his spot with the Cannons this year by excelling with less-advanced Class A Dayton in 2003. One year ago, Lewis compiled a .284 average and was named a starter in the Midwest League All-Star Game.
Despite the growing pains he endured through the early part of the season, the Cannons' first-half championship made Lewis relax, and he feels he can be a major contributor as the second half of the season winds down and the playoffs heat up.
"It made it a lot easier by our team winning the first half," Lewis said. "It gives you a little edge to do some things personally that you need to work on and get better" in the second half.