"Before, my game was walks, walks, walks and base hits," Eric Arce said. "I came here and just decided to swing the bat a little bit and a little bit harder, and focus a little bit more. My extra base hits and power numbers have just sky-rocketed right now."
In 27 games and 85 at-bats for the Gulf Coast League Blue Jays, Arce is batting .212 with 20 runs batted in to go along with those six home runs. He also has three doubles and two triples, good enough for a .506 slugging percentage.
"I think I've been playing fairly well," he said. "I think I've been getting better as a player each and every day, and that's all I can really say. I'm doing the best I can to help the team win. It's fun being a professional, fun being a Blue Jay."
Arce spoke about how he's been hitting for power despite his smaller build. He certainly doesn't have the look of a prototypical power hitter that you'd find in the middle of a lineup.
"Since I do have a little power, I decided to put just a little bit of lift in my swing, and it's been working so far," Arce explained. "I can't complain about it because I'm hitting home runs, getting extra base and it's helping the team out."
GCL Batting Coach Paul Elliot also discussed Arce's power. While Elliot is pleased with Arce's swing, he wants the lefty to also be able to hit the ball to other parts of the field.
"He uses his lower half pretty good. He gets to balance pretty good," Elliot said. "He's just gotta try to stay through the middle more. All of his home runs have been to the pull side and we'd like to see that more to the right-center, left-center, through the middle. When he does that, he swings pretty good."
Though a lefty at the plate, Arce has maintained a higher batting average against left-handed pitching than he has against right-handers. He's batting .227 against southpaws, and .206 versus righties. These statistics weren't much of a surprise to Arce, who acknowledged that he does feel more comfortable hitting left-handed pitching.
"Lefties have a tendency to throw outside, and when I face a left-handed pitcher, it's easier for me to keep my shoulder inside the ball to hit the ball up the middle," Arce stated. "I know it sounds weird, lefties hitting lefties better, but to me, I think it's easier to hit."
Arce seems to be improving his offensive game as the season progresses. While his batting average has left something to be desired so far, he has hit safely in six of his last 10 games, touting a .270 average in that time. His defense, though, is an aspect that he must work on. Arce grew up in the game of baseball as a catcher and infielder, but now with the Jays, he gets most of his playing time in left field.
"I have to learn how to play a totally new, different position," Arce said. "It's fun, though. I get a lot of work out there and coaches are very knowledgeable and helping me out."
Putting it simply, Elliot said that Arce has a lot of work to do in the field. Among the areas to focus on, Elliot listed Arce's throwing, route to the ball and attack of the ball.
For Arce, who is in his first season as a pro player, he knows there is a lot to improve on. He isn't limiting his workload, as he wants to get better in all areas of the game during his time in GCL.
"I would like to improve on obviously my entire playing ability," he said. "I want to get better defensively. I want to get better hitting. I want to get bigger and stronger and if I keep putting in the work I'm putting in now, then eventually, over time, it'll all come together."
Arce Packs Powerful Punch
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