Thursday August 11, 2011
MLB reports: Today on the Reports we are proud to feature Blue Jays prospect first baseman, Arthur Charles. The 20-year old Charles was drafted by the Jays in the 20th round of the 2010 draft. After being selected by the Orioles in 2008 and the Royals in 2009, Charles signed with Toronto and started his baseball journey last year.
At 6’6″ and weighing a solid 221 lbs, Charles projects to flash a great deal of power at the first base position for the Jays. Currently playing for Bluefield in the Appalachian League, Charles has hit 10 home runs in 49 games, with an impressive .813 OPS. Art is one of the most charistmatic players that we have interviewed on the Reports. We can see him quickly becoming a fan favorite one day in Toronto. A name to keep an eye on in the Blue Jays organization, the Reports is proud to present our interview with Arthur (Art) Charles:
MLB reports: Welcome to the Reports Art. Looking to the past, who was your favorite baseball player growing up, that you most idolized and patterned your game after?
Art Charles: My favorite baseball players growing up would have to be Ken Griffey Jr. and Barry Bonds. These two sluggers were my idols and in whom I modified my game after. Griffey instantly stood out to me because I liked his swing and tried to modify mine to look like his. His swing was just so pure, smooth, and simple. Barry Bonds was the same way I loved his swing and how he hit so many home runs. I used to tell my friends that I would break his home run record and that one day I would be “that guy” in the big leagues hitting bombs and lasers everywhere in front of the world.
MLB reports: Great choices in Bonds and Griffey. We have seen Griffey in particular as a popular choice amond players. On the flipside, which current MLB star do you most admire and why?
Art Charles: The current MLB player that I admire the most right now is Adrian Gonzalez. I enjoy watching Adrian Gonzalez a lot because he is not only a very good hitter for the Red Sox, but he is a great defensive player as well. His game is something that I now watch very closely for that reason. I would like to be that kind of player, an all around player. I want to be known as a threat and someone who will not only hit for power and average, but someone who has a golden glove at first base making plays and helping his team win on both sides, offensively and defensively.
MLB reports: Reflecting on your career to-date, what are your proudest accomplishments on the baseball field?
Art Charles: My proudest accomplishment of my professional career would have to be hitting a walk-off home run to against the Bristol White Sox this year. This moment isn’t just big for me because I hit the game winning home run ,but because there was a lesson to learn from it. In the top of that inning we were tied and one of the Sox’s players hit a ground ball to me that I made an error on, to give them the go ahead run. I was VERY disappointed, but I knew there was a chance that I would be up in the bottom half of the inning. Although I was heated, I told myself I was going to get up when my team needed me and I was not going to let them down again. I was going to win the game for us. Staying focused and visualizing my at bat, mixed with a little anger, had gotten me mentally prepared for the moment. It was a full count with two runners on and two outs, the kind of moment that you imagine when you are young. I then saw a good pitch and didn’t miss it. Instantly I knew I had just hit the game winning home run and met with my teammates at home plate to celebrate. I even had the shaving cream pie treatment and that made it one of, if not the most, memorable moments of my life.
MLB reports: A great experience Art. Thank you for sharing it with us! Reflecting back, what were your goals going into the 2011 season?
Art Charles: My goals going into this season were to have quality at bats, hit balls hard where ever they might go, make plays on defense, do my part to help my team win, improve my game for the next level (offensively and defensively), get a promotion to one of our other teams, be a threat every time I step to the plate, work hard at everything I do, and be consistent on a daily basis. I knew that if I did all of those things, that the rest would take care of itself. Meaning home runs, RBI’s, doubles, and making plays in the field would come. I just wanted to make sure I took care of my business and controlled what I could control and let the rest fall into place.
MLB reports: When you first found out you were drafted, what were your reactions? Did those reactions change over time? What was the process like being drafted originally by the Orioles in 2008 and Royals in 2009 and not signing with either team? What made you decide to finally sign with the Jays in 2010?
Art Charles: When being drafted I was beyond excited. Being drafted three times by three different teams is not only an honor and an accomplishment, but also a very exciting and blessed process. Every time I was drafted I was very happy. The process of these drafts was very similar. When I was first drafted in 2008 to the Orioles I was still young, at 17, and needed to mature more and really prepare myself; not ready to make that move. In 2009 I was taken again to the Royals, but still the timing and things didn’t work out. Going into the 2010 season I knew this was the year that I was ready to become a professional ball player and in the 2010 draft the Jays picked me up. I felt this was a good fit for me and I was very comfortable with the scouts and staff I had met in the pre-draft workouts so I knew this was home.
MLB reports: What do you consider your greatest baseball skill(s)?
Art Charles: I consider my greatest baseball skill to be hitting the baseball with power to all parts of the field. I feel that hitting baseballs for power to all fields is what separates me from lots of other players, and its something that I will continue to do and get better at doing.
MLB reports: What facets of your game do you most wish to improve upon?
Art Charles: The parts of my game that I wish to improve on are every part of my game. I feel I need to get better offensively and defensively if I am going to be the all around player that I wish to become. Nothing in life comes easy and I learned that at a young age. So I will continually work hard to better myself and separate myself from others. To be the best I have to be, in fact better than the best. So my speed, agility, offense, and defense all have to improve.
MLB reports: How do strikeouts and walks figure into your game? Do you see any of these items changing over time and to what degree?
Art Charles: Strikeouts and walks are going to come. They are both part of the game. So far this season I have struck out more than I would have liked to, but that’s part of my learning process as a player. With those strike outs I have learned about how I might be pitched in counts, to be patient and get good pitches to drive, to see pitches up, and much more. It’s all part of the process that everyone goes through to get to the big leagues. Walks are also going to occur and that will be because I’m not chasing pitches, I’m being patient, and seeing the ball up. It’s easier said than done, but like I said it’s part of the process.
MLB reports: Long term what position do you see yourself playing? How do you see defense as part of your overall game?
Art Charles: Long term I see myself in the big leagues as a power hitting first baseman. I feel defense is just as important as hitting. I work on the both of them a lot because I know that if I want to become the player I envision myself becoming, I need to be good around the bag, pick up my teammates, and make plays. I feel that I am still improving defensively and will continue to get better. Defense is definitely part of my game I want polish.
MLB reports: If you had to look into a crystal ball, when do you see your expected time of arrival in the big leagues and what do you think you need to do most to get there?
Art Charles: If I could look into a crystal ball and see my expected time in the big leagues, I don’t know yet what I would see. I would like to be there within three years, but I am young and have a lot to work on and lots of improving to do. So I do not know at this moment what my expected time would be. There isn’t really one thing in particular to say I would need most to get there because to get to the highest level, you need it all.
MLB reports: Has pro ball been everything you expected it to be thus far? What are some of the highs and lows you have experienced thus far?
Art Charles: Pro ball has been everything I expected it to be and more. I can’t say there are any lows because I love what I do and I haven’t had any really long bus rides yet. But there are plenty of highs. One being which seeing myself improve as a player. There are many experiences playing that I have now, such as walk off wins, playoff pushes, fans, signing balls and playing for great skippers. Did I say the fans? I would have to say that one of my favorite things was having a little boy write me a letter thanking me for a handshake and telling me I was his favorite player. The fans are what make this game that much more fun and signing balls, bats, cards, and shirts was a great experience for me.
MLB reports: What do you do for fun when you are not playing baseball? Best friend(s) on the team that you most hang out with and what do you guys like to do to chill?
Art Charles: On a day off or after the game I like to lay down and relax to recharge my batteries a bit, listen to music, vibe out, stay up on my tweet game (@SirArthurC), talk to my family, and play Call of Duty (a favorite among players). Sometimes the guys will come to my room and we play video games or go to the mall. I have tons of movies so we watch movies, or play cards. The guys that you will probably catch me with the most are Aaron Sanchez, Christopher Hawkins, Cody Bartlett, Myles Jaye, Les Williams, or Noah Syndergaard.
MLB reports: Have you visited Toronto the city yet? How have you found the city thus far?
Art Charles: I have been to Toronto for a pre-draft workout in the Rogers Centre last year and it was a lovely place. I really enjoyed my brief stay, very nice city and even better people. The Rogers Centre was great and an unbelievable stadium.
MLB reports: If you could send one message to the Toronto Blue Jays fans, what would it be?
Art Charles: My message to the fans would be thank you for the love and support. It is very much appreciated and not forgotten. You guys are the best!
MLB reports: A big thank you to Art Charles for joining us today on the Reports. We wish you the best of luck on your baseball journey towards joining the Jays in Toronto one day. We definitely encourage all our readers to feel free to contact Art with your comments and questions on his Twitter handle. Art is very active on Twitter and is a must follow!
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