Cardinals Prospect Interview: C.J. Beatty

In our continuing St. Louis Cardinals' 2009 draft interview series, Dustin Mattison talks with Johnson City outfielder C.J. Beatty. FREE!

In the 2008 draft, the St. Louis Cardinals found a gifted athletic player from a small-college in North Carolina.  That player was infielder Alex Castellanos who is hitting .362/.455/.553 over his last 12 games with the Quad Cities River Bandits.  So it is not a surprise the Cardinals went back to the same area to find another "hidden gem."  This time, it was (Christian) C.J. Beatty, an athletic outfielder from North Carolina A&T. 


The reigning two-time Athlete of the Year at the school hit .365/.460/.641 with eight home runs and 42 RBIs this spring.  He finished his college career as a .339 hitter with 31 home runs and 135 RBIs in three seasons.


Late last week, he was kind enough to take time out to talk with me.  As I talked with Beatty, I could sense his excitement in talking baseball.  His joy of being a professional ball player was evident so much that I could sense his smile through the phone. 



Dustin Mattison: What has been your impression of pro baseball so far?


C.J. Beatty:  Overwhelming but it is a good feeling.  I am finally here and I am beginning to live my dream that I have had since I was five years old.  I am enjoying every bit of it.  I am taking everyday as a challenge.  That is the way I like to attack it.  I am always trying to get better and trying to get better than my competition.  If I do it this way I feel if I have the possibility of doing more.


DM:  What has surprised you the most about professional baseball?


CJB: Nothing has really surprised me because I have had friends that went away to play and listening to the old-timers.  It gets difficult at times, being away from home, being away from people that know you. Being accountable, waking up each day with the same routine, and trying to stay mentally strong has been the most difficult thing.  


DM: You mentioned being away from home.  You grew up in Winston-Salem, which is not very far from Johnson City.  Have your family and friends made the trip over to see you play? 


CJB:  Yeah.  I just got off the phone with them a couple minutes ago and they were talking about coming to see me tonight.   They are enjoying it.  We didn't really know if I would be starting out here in Johnson City or Batavia.  When I found out it would be Johnson City, there was overwhelming joy.  They are only three hours from here.  Every opportunity to come see they are taking it. 


DM:  Tell me about draft day. 


CJB:  It was a heart-pounder.  The day before the draft, it had not really set in.  I knew I was going to get drafted; a bunch of teams had called me.  Scouts had told me where I might end up and what kind of money offers to expect.  But draft day was when it really began to set in.  Friends of mine began to get drafted.  Players that I had played against were getting called.  We were watching the rounds unfold.  Sure enough, the St. Louis Cardinals called and told me that I should expect to go somewhere after the 20th round.  So, I was glued to the computer screen and low and behold they called "Christian Beatty" in the 26th round. 


DM: What other teams had been in contact with you?


CJB: I had the Yankees, Diamondbacks, White Sox, and the Royals were the teams that had showed me the most attention.  But I had a lot of questionnaires to fill out.  I think we counted up 14 letters of interest.  


DM: What did you know about the Cardinals before they drafted you?


CJB: The tradition of Tony La Russa, Albert Pujols, and Rick Ankiel.  I know the way they develop their homegrown talent.  It was a privilege and an honor to be selected to become a Cardinal.  I got a lot more information during the workout I attended in Belmont-Abbey, North Carolina.  They told us about how they develop their players.  So, before the draft, I was telling my peers that it would be sweet to be part of that organization because they develop their talent really well.  They send them up through the ranks and don't hold anyone back.  I told my mother, "That would be a great deal, to be a St. Louis Cardinal."  


DM: How did come about?


CJB:  DDIC Web Designs does a lot of company websites and they wanted to branch out into the athletic community.  Since it is a local company, they chose me to be the guinea pig.  I agreed because I wouldn't turn having a dot-com after my name.  They told me about how they would create it and design.  Luckily, I was blessed to be part of it. 


DM: So you wanted to be a switch hitter because of Pete Rose?


CJB:  Yes, I was a fan of Pete Rose. 


DM: Were you a Reds fan?


CJB: No, I was a Seattle Mariners fan.  I really like Junior (Griffey), I grew up during that era.  I was always trying to imitate Ken Griffey, Jr and his swing. As I grew up, I rated Derek Jeter as my favorite ball player.  I just really like the way he attacks the game.  He always has a smile on his face and is always hustling.  He is a key guy that I would like to meet one day. 


DM: Have you found anyone to play chess with since joining the Cardinals?


CJB: No.  Every time I ask someone in the clubhouse if they play, they always say, "Nah, nah, they don't play."  I love that game because of all the strategy.  You have to stay one step ahead of your opponent and that is what I love to do.  I just love the thrill of playing chess. 


DM: How special was it to be named Athlete of the Year at North Carolina A & T?


CJB:  It was real special.  That honor was a blessing.  I go out and play hard everyday and when you do that; things will unfold throughout the season.  My family and I felt blessed and we celebrated.  I thank my teammates for the honor as well.  I was shocked when I won it the first year but to win it a second year was amazing.  My family and I enjoyed every bit of it. 


DM: How important was it to play in the Coastal Plains collegiate wood bat league to your development?


CJB:  It helped out tremendously.  Just playing and getting wood bat stats is important.  I call it "the head start" because I had an opportunity work the kinks out of my swing. 


DM: When you are not playing baseball, how do you like to spend your time?


CJB:  I have a bunch of video games and I play on-line and my friends play on-line.  I am really competitive.  When I am at home, my friends and I eat chips and dip and play games all day long. 


DM: What should Cardinal fans know about you that they probably don't know?


CJB:  I love music and that I am musically inclined.  I play the drums at my church and I play the trumpet by ear.  Anytime, I can play the drums; I don't pass up the opportunity. 


I wish C.J. the best of luck in his professional baseball career and I thank him for his time.



See what you've been missing! subscribers have enjoyed the following as part of our Cardinals 2009 Draft Interview Series:


Matt Carpenter (13th round)

Scott Schneider (20th round)

Scott Bittle (4th round)

Alan Ahmady (11th round)

Ross Smith (14th round)

Nick McCully (7th round)

Robert Stock (2nd round)


Get a free seven-day trial subscription and check out these and many more exclusive articles on the St. Louis Cardinals and their minor league system posted at each and every week all year long.



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