Hawkins Transitioning

DUNEDIN, FL - Following the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, 19-year-old prospect Christopher Hawkins saw action in 46 games with the Blue Jays' Gulf Coast League squad. With this year's short-season just days away, the third-round pick out of North Gwinnett High School in Sugar Hill, Ga., reflected on the benefits of his experience from 2010 and his latest position change.

"The GCL was good for me. I learned a lot," Chris Hawkins said. "I feel like my swing got a lot better and defensively I got a lot better too."

A left-handed hitter who stands at 6-foot-2, 195 pounds, Hawkins tallied 157 at-bats in his first professional baseball campaign. He batted .255 while notching 15 RBIs and nine doubles.

Hawkins was just the second position player selected by Toronto in last year's draft, but he said he wasn't upset at not making a long season team right out of spring training this year. He sees his time spent in Extended Spring Training as a way to refine his skills.

"I knew coming here to extended I would get a chance to work on a lot of things that if I was [on] a long season team, I wouldn't get a chance to work on," he said. "I think I've definitely benefited from being in extended."

"I think I've played well so far, especially lately the past couple weeks I've felt like my bat's really come along. I'm starting to drive more balls and I'm feeling a lot more comfortable," Hawkins stated.

Short-A Vancouver Hitting Coach Dave Pano, who worked with Hawkins in EST, spoke highly of one of the organization's newer prospects.

"He's one of the best kids we have," said Pano. "He's a plus make-up guy and he's willing to do anything to get better."

The main part of Hawkins' game that needs to get better, Pano said, is his hitting.

"We gotta work on that a little bit; just get him shorter to the point where he doesn't get around balls and take a while to get to them," Pano explained. "The other thing with him is his aggressiveness too. He just takes a lot of pitches, so we're working on it."

While his hitting is currently a work in progress, Hawkins also is making the transition from the infield to the outfield. Coming into the organization as a third baseman, Hawkins now sees the most playing time as a corner outfielder.

"We decided to move him to the outfield and I think he's a lot more comfortable out there. He'll be adequate out there," Pano said.

"Sometimes you hold your breath a little bit, but he seems to get to most balls. He seems to have a feel, especially for a guy that hadn't played out there. We just moved him out there in the end of the year in the instructional league, but I think he's done all right."

Hawkins said that the change was brought about to better utilize his speed, a tool which can be displayed by his ability to steal bases as well. Third basemen aren't typically a threat on the bases, but outfielders can be. He had eight steals in the GCL last year, and Coach Pano said his speed is a quality that may come as a surprise at first glance.

"He can really run the bases," Pano said. "He's a lot faster than you'd think he is when you just look at him in the outfield and he's done a really good job stealing bases."

With EST now over, Hawkins wants to make sure he has everything set up for a successful 2011 season in general.

"Just get everything where I want it to be for the short-season," Hawkins said in regards to what he wants to accomplish before the short season begins. "In the short season, (I) just play as well as I can play and try and help the team win games."


Future Jays Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\n\"The GCL was good for me. I learned a lot,\" Chris Hawkins said. \"I feel like my swing got a lot better and defensively I got a lot better too.\"
\r\n
\r\nA left-handed hitter who stands at 6-foot-2, 195 pounds, Hawkins tallied 157 at-bats in his first professional baseball campaign. He batted .255 while notching 15 RBIs and nine doubles.
\r\n
\r\nHawkins was just the second position player selected by Toronto in last year's draft, but he said he wasn't upset at not making a long season team right out of spring training this year. He sees his time spent in Extended Spring Training as a way to refine his skills.
\r\n
\r\n\"I knew coming here to extended I would get a chance to work on a lot of things that if I was [on] a long season team, I wouldn't get a chance to work on,\" he said. \"I think I've definitely benefited from being in extended.\"
\r\n\r\n
\r\n\"I think I've played well so far, especially lately the past couple weeks I've felt like my bat's really come along. I'm starting to drive more balls and I'm feeling a lot more comfortable,\" Hawkins stated.
\r\n
\r\nShort-A Vancouver Hitting Coach Dave Pano, who worked with Hawkins in EST, spoke highly of one of the organization's newer prospects.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's one of the best kids we have,\" said Pano. \"He's a plus make-up guy and he's willing to do anything to get better.\"
\r\n
\r\nThe main part of Hawkins' game that needs to get better, Pano said, is his hitting.
\r\n
\r\n\"We gotta work on that a little bit; just get him shorter to the point where he doesn't get around balls and take a while to get to them,\" Pano explained. \"The other thing with him is his aggressiveness too. He just takes a lot of pitches, so we're working on it.\"
\r\n
\r\nWhile his hitting is currently a work in progress, Hawkins also is making the transition from the infield to the outfield. Coming into the organization as a third baseman, Hawkins now sees the most playing time as a corner outfielder.
\r\n
\r\n\"We decided to move him to the outfield and I think he's a lot more comfortable out there. He'll be adequate out there,\" Pano said.
\r\n
\r\n\"Sometimes you hold your breath a little bit, but he seems to get to most balls. He seems to have a feel, especially for a guy that hadn't played out there. We just moved him out there in the end of the year in the instructional league, but I think he's done all right.\"
\r\n
\r\nHawkins said that the change was brought about to better utilize his speed, a tool which can be displayed by his ability to steal bases as well. Third basemen aren't typically a threat on the bases, but outfielders can be. He had eight steals in the GCL last year, and Coach Pano said his speed is a quality that may come as a surprise at first glance.
\r\n
\r\n\"He can really run the bases,\" Pano said. \"He's a lot faster than you'd think he is when you just look at him in the outfield and he's done a really good job stealing bases.\"
\r\n
\r\nWith EST now over, Hawkins wants to make sure he has everything set up for a successful 2011 season in general.
\r\n
\r\n\"Just get everything where I want it to be for the short-season,\" Hawkins said in regards to what he wants to accomplish before the short season begins. \"In the short season, (I) just play as well as I can play and try and help the team win games.\"
\r\n
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