Charles Getting Short

Art Charles stands at 6-foot-6, 250 pounds. He is a left-handed first baseman with natural power in his swing, and has the look of a middle-of-the-lineup guy if his game progresses in the direction the organization hopes for. It comes as no surprise to learn that Charles admires the play of Phillies' slugger Ryan Howard, a major leaguer whose talent he aspires to one day himself possess.

"Obviously he's a big lefty first baseman, and I could see myself being in that situation and being better than what he is now," Charles said. "I like watching him and his game, but I'm striving to be better than what he is and putting myself out there as one of the elite first basemen and baseball players in the major leagues."

Selected by the Jays in the 20th round of the 2010 draft out of Bakersfield Junior College, located in his hometown of Bakersfield, Ca., Charles has a ways to go before getting to Ryan Howard's status. But currently in Dunedin for Instructional League play, Charles is doing a lot to make improvements to his game.

For Bluefield in 2011, Charles hit .244 with 11 homeruns and 61 RBIs. He had 18 doubles and three triples, good enough for a .468 slugging percentage. On the downside, though, he struck out 89 times while drawing 39 walks. The lefty said he enjoys his ability to hit for power, but acknowledges that contact is vital as well.

"I love hitting for power," he said with a laugh, "but obviously contact and consistency is very important. That's why the guys in the big leagues are there, from the consistency that they have and the ability to go out every night and use their power and also be consistent with it.

"I feel that they both are very important and it's something that I'm definitely willing to improve on and make moves in order to make myself a better player. I'm going to need both of those, but I love for hitting for power, but you gotta love getting those other hits as well."

With some changes to his mechanics while working with coaches and coordinators in Dunedin, Charles now feels he has a better approach to the plate.

"From my lower half, I'm a lot wider than I was. I was more upright. I stood up, had my feet narrower and then with my hands, I had them pushed back a little bit more," he explained. "[Now] it's kind of just a short and smooth little move instead of having the long and drastic move I kind of had before.

"Sometimes I wouldn't be on time — I would be a little bit late — and it just helps my pitch recognition a lot too because I'm down, ready to hit a lot faster and I'm able to see the ball longer."

His in-game play during Instructs has displayed this new swing. Charles still strikes out from time to time, but he touts a quick and relatively compact swing. When making contact, he hits the ball hard.

And with his size and power stroke, Charles seems a natural fit at first base. Stating that his defense has also improved during Instructs, he elaborated on what exactly he has been working on.

"It's just really the more you do it, the better you're gonna get at it," he said. "Obviously there's little things in between there — your footwork, replacing your feet on your throw, fielding the ground ball clean, getting that first out in a double play in order to get the second one — so it's just everything going into defense and what not, it all goes together."

With Instructs coming to an end next week, Charles said the past few weeks he has spent in Dunedin have proved to be valuable for his game.

"[I'm'] just so much more confident and comfortable with my swing," he said. "I feel that just being here the short amount of time that I was and being in Bluefield the whole year, I've made drastic changes to the way I play and my game. I feel that I'm only going higher from here."


Future Jays Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\n\"Obviously he's a big lefty first baseman, and I could see myself being in that situation and being better than what he is now,\" Charles said. \"I like watching him and his game, but I'm striving to be better than what he is and putting myself out there as one of the elite first basemen and baseball players in the major leagues.\"
\r\n
\r\nSelected by the Jays in the 20th round of the 2010 draft out of Bakersfield Junior College, located in his hometown of Bakersfield, Ca., Charles has a ways to go before getting to Ryan Howard's status. But currently in Dunedin for Instructional League play, Charles is doing a lot to make improvements to his game.
\r\n
\r\nFor Bluefield in 2011, Charles hit .244 with 11 homeruns and 61 RBIs. He had 18 doubles and three triples, good enough for a .468 slugging percentage. On the downside, though, he struck out 89 times while drawing 39 walks. The lefty said he enjoys his ability to hit for power, but acknowledges that contact is vital as well.
\r\n
\r\n\"I love hitting for power,\" he said with a laugh, \"but obviously contact and consistency is very important. That's why the guys in the big leagues are there, from the consistency that they have and the ability to go out every night and use their power and also be consistent with it.
\r\n
\r\n\"I feel that they both are very important and it's something that I'm definitely willing to improve on and make moves in order to make myself a better player. I'm going to need both of those, but I love for hitting for power, but you gotta love getting those other hits as well.\"
\r\n
\r\nWith some changes to his mechanics while working with coaches and coordinators in Dunedin, Charles now feels he has a better approach to the plate.
\r\n
\r\n\"From my lower half, I'm a lot wider than I was. I was more upright. I stood up, had my feet narrower and then with my hands, I had them pushed back a little bit more,\" he explained. \"[Now] it's kind of just a short and smooth little move instead of having the long and drastic move I kind of had before.
\r\n
\r\n\"Sometimes I wouldn't be on time — I would be a little bit late — and it just helps my pitch recognition a lot too because I'm down, ready to hit a lot faster and I'm able to see the ball longer.\"
\r\n
\r\nHis in-game play during Instructs has displayed this new swing. Charles still strikes out from time to time, but he touts a quick and relatively compact swing. When making contact, he hits the ball hard.
\r\n
\r\nAnd with his size and power stroke, Charles seems a natural fit at first base. Stating that his defense has also improved during Instructs, he elaborated on what exactly he has been working on.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's just really the more you do it, the better you're gonna get at it,\" he said. \"Obviously there's little things in between there — your footwork, replacing your feet on your throw, fielding the ground ball clean, getting that first out in a double play in order to get the second one — so it's just everything going into defense and what not, it all goes together.\"
\r\n
\r\nWith Instructs coming to an end next week, Charles said the past few weeks he has spent in Dunedin have proved to be valuable for his game.
\r\n
\r\n\"[I'm'] just so much more confident and comfortable with my swing,\" he said. \"I feel that just being here the short amount of time that I was and being in Bluefield the whole year, I've made drastic changes to the way I play and my game. I feel that I'm only going higher from here.\"
\r\n
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