After being picked 10th overall in the first round of the 2010 MLB draft, Michael Choice has lived up to the hype that has surrounded his name. The centerfielder for the High-A Stockton Ports has developed a reputation for his powerful hitting, a reputation that has been justified by the fact that he is the current California League leader in HRs with 24.
Although a powerful hitter in college, the scouting book on Choice coming out of school was that his swinging mechanics needed some improvement. Choice has clearly taken this into consideration. Working hard on improving his swing, Choice has developed more consistency at the plate, and is currently second on the Ports with a batting average of .280. In 19 games since the All-Star break, Choice is batting .392 with a 1229 OPS.
Choice was named Cal League Player of the Week for July 4-10th after hitting .433 in seven games, along with 13 RBIs, four HRs and three doubles. Choice is looking to end the year on a good note, and help his team win a championship.
We caught-up with Choice on Sunday before the Ports' 9-8 win over Modesto.
Gabby Micek: Your batting average has dramatically improved from June (.263) to July (.435). Is there anything you are doing differently at the plate?
Michael Choice: Well I've been working with our hitting coach [Brian McArn] and I've been trying out some different things. Mainly just shortening up, so I've been working a lot on that.
GM: You're currently leading the team in HRs and RBIs and you're second in BA. Which of these stats means the most to you?
MC: Probably the RBIs because you definitely want to get runners in. A lot of times runners will be in scoring position but we don't get them in, and it hurts the team because were not getting the runs. Sometimes we may lose by two or three runs and that could be the decision-maker.
GM: Do you think there is anything you need to work on?
MC: Basically I need to just keep getting better and keep implementing what I've started doing with both my swing and my defensive game.
GM: You're a centerfielder, but are there any other positions you would jump at the chance to play?
MC: Well, probably third base. Yeah I'd like third a lot, especially because I'm comfortable with the long throw from playing in centerfield.
GM: Do you have any goals for the rest of the season?
MC: Just to keep improving both offensively and defensively, and end the year on a good note. Also to help my team win a championship.