Scouting the new guy: Art Charles

At first glance, Art Charles may not seem like much of a return for a reliever with at least some major league experience. But does the deal get better when you look a little deeper at Mr. Charles?

The first thing to know about Art Charles is this; power. The 22-year old first baseman has a lot of natural power, but may need a lot of work to truly tap into all of that power potential.

Obviously, there's something in Charles to like, because three different teams drafted him in three different drafts - Baltimore in 2008, Kansas City in 2009 and Toronto in 2010 - so somebody saw something in this guy.

Probably the biggest point on Charles' progress though is the fact that he has spent three seasons in short-season leagues and at age 22, has yet to play in a full-season league. It's likely that will change this year, as the Phillies will likely have Charles at Lakewood on opening day.

When you look at the three teams that drafted him, there's probably not too much of a coincidence that all three are American League teams. Yes, Charles defensive skills are that sketchy, although he is showing improvement since getting some work in the Blue Jays organization.

Charles' lack of defensive skills will limit him strictly to first base. Best case scenario is likely that he develops into at least an average first baseman defensively.

Since his offensive skills begin with power, you have to accept that some strikeouts are likely. In three seasons though, Charles hasn't once struck out an average of once per game and that's too much for a young hitter. Like his defense, Charles is improving on making contact, but there is still a lot of work to do. To his credit, Charles knows a ball from a strike, but just doesn't always get wood on the strikes.

One of the reasons for the high strikeout numbers is a tendency to open up his swing and pull off of pitches. He also isn't consistent with his stance, especially keeping his feet in the same position every time at the plate.

It wouldn't be surprising to see the Phillies new minor league hitting coordinator, Andy Tracy, be the first guy Charles meets when he gets to Phillies camp.

Tracy himself was a left-handed power hitter and struggled with making contact at times, but at least got himself to a point where he was able to keep the whiffs to under one per game. Tracy also was never quite the size that Charles is, but he's a big guy who brought raw, natural power to the table as a hitter.

The assumption is that the Phillies gave up on Michael Schwimer as much for his off-the-field issues than what he did on the mound. He and the Phillies perpetually seemed to be at odds over things that Schwimer said or Tweeted. It was Michael Schwimer who took to Twitter and broke the news of two players moving from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to the majors before the Phillies wanted anything announced.

Last summer, things again flared when the Phillies optioned Schwimer to Lehigh Valley and he announced he couldn't go because he was hurt. Medical exams and tests didn't indicate any injury and Schwimer eventually reported to the IronPigs, but left them a pitcher short for a few days while battling the dispute.

As for Ruben Amaro Jr., he says the deal was made because he sees a difficult numbers game developing in the bullpen, which is very likely. He offered the obligatory comments about liking Charles and how he may fit into the organization.

Bottom line is that there were a lot of people who were surprised that Schwimer even made it back to Clearwater for spring training, because they expected him to be dealt long before now.

When deals involving young players like Schwimer and even younger players like Charles are made, it takes time - sometimes, a lot of time - to be able to judge the deal. That's very much the case with this trade. Perhaps this will turn out to be a deal where both players and both teams benefit from a change of scenery.

Art Charles' career stats

2010GCL Blue Jays371231730110413501648.244.331.431
20122 Teams6421237501541334214674.236.381.528
3 Seasons1695851001404472810882101211.239.358.482
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 2/23/2013.

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