Battle Not Resting On His Laurels

Tim Battle always possessed high-ceiling talent, and in 2005, the former 3rd round pick put it all together for an All-Star season. With just two career home runs in 355 at-bats entering the year, Battle clubbed 16 dingers for the Charleston Riverdogs while stealing a career-high 40 bases this past season. While most players would be content with those numbers, Battle is working even harder this offseason.

It is not as if Tim Battle wasn't happy with his career year in 2005. Even though he had to settle for playing in the South Atlantic League with the Charleston Riverdogs this past season after confessing to PinstripesPlus.com back in February that he was setting his sights on breaking Spring Training with the Trenton Thunder, Battle flashed the combination of power and speed the Yankees believed he had when they drafted him in the 3rd round of the 2003 MLB Draft.

"It was great," Battle said of his 2005 season. "I mean, I did just about everything I set out to do this past season. I was named to the All-Star game, won the All-Star game MVP, and I put up some very good numbers. The only thing I didn't like was my strikeouts, but overall, I was very happy with what I was able to do."

The strikeouts is a subject that continually comes up in just about every Tim Battle discussion. Once on pace to set the all-time strikeout record for the South Atlantic League, Tim Battle finished the season with only 195 strikeouts, which was 56 more than the next highest total in the league in 2005.

"I think I improved the most in my approach at the plate," Battle told PinstripesPlus.com in a recent interview. "I got a lot better later in the year and now I can't wait for next season."

He finished his 2005 campaign hitting .289 in his final 31 games, his highest batting average during any stretch of the year and light year's better than his .245 average in July and his .237 average in June. His teammates noticed the difference.

"All of us would tell him that with his speed, he should be like Willie Mays Hayes from the movie Major League," Chase Wright explained. "He should bunt more and use his speed. His only weakness was his strikeouts, but he did a pretty good job on breaking balls later in the year."

With a better approach towards the tail end of the year, Battle finished a very strong season with the Charleston Riverdogs, displaying the type of game that has had scouts comparing him to Gold Glove centerfielder Mike Cameron because of his combination of power and speed with a propensity to strike out a tad much.

Battle's exceptional defensive ability in center field is also a major reason for the Cameron comparisons. However, with a new glutton of quality centerfield prospects at the lower levels after the Yankees drafted Brett Gardner and Austin Jackson this past June, many observers are wondering if Battle will be moved to one of the corner outfield positions.

"I'd like to see the guy that would move him from centerfield," Chase Wright said with a chuckle. "That kid is just unbelievable. He's got a great arm. He's a real athlete with good upside. He'll pretty much get to any ball hit to him in centerfield."

It is Battle's strong arm and recent power surge in the batter's box that has some pondering the idea of whether or not he'll move to right field to accommodate the development of Gardner and Jackson.

"I can play the whole outfield and I know I'll take life how it goes," Battle confessed if the Yankees moved him to a corner outfield position. "They [the Yankees] put me in right field in Instructs, but honestly, I don't see myself in any other position but centerfield. I hope they don't try to move me out of there."

Battle is a plus defensive player in centerfield but scouts are quick to point out that he has lapses on routine plays at times. Displaying an insatiable appetite to improve his game, Battle is out to prove the critics wrong.

"I want to work on my jumps out in the outfield," the 20-year old centerfielder admitted. "I want to have more focus in the outfield, keeping my head in one position, and track more balls down."

In fact, despite having some of the best raw ability in the organization with unquestioned confidence in his game, Battle is not content to sit back and reflect on his breakout season in 2005. He wants to get even better!

"I'm working out with Lee Haney, an 8-time 'Mr. Olympia' body builder," Battle revealed as his offseason workout regiment. "I'm working out with him every other day, building up my upper body and lower body. I'm working on my cardio too so I'm not as tired as much later in the year. I'm just trying to put on some weight."

After blasting 16 home runs this past season, and now wanting to get even stronger, it would seem Battle, who batted leadoff most of the year, is trying to become a home run hitter.

"No, not really," Battle explained. "Yeah, I'm trying to be a better power hitter, but I'm also trying to be better all around. I'm just working hard to try and add on what I was able to do this past season."

Already widely considered one of the high-ceiling talents in the organization, the prospect of Battle getting even better would be bad news for opponents in 2006 and beyond.

"Tim Battle has the most potential of anybody I've ever seen, let alone played with," Charleston teammate T.J. Beam told us. "He has a little work to do, but he's already come a long way. With his hitting and the way he plays the outfield, you know he's a special ballplayer."

One of the reasons why Tim Battle is a special ballplayer is his unselfishness on the field. In a profession [minor league baseball] designed to be all about the individual player and his development, Battle is obsessed with winning a team championship along the way.

Until he does however, he's just going to continue working hard at improving his game each day. Despite a tremendous year in 2005, Tim Battle is not resting on his laurels this offseason.

"I can't wait to see how this working out this offseason pays off next year," an excited Battle exclaimed. "Don't get me wrong. Last season was cool. I feel my strikeouts will come down. I don't want to stay the same. I'm always trying to improve because I really want to win a championship."

Pinstripes Plus Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nIt is not as if Tim Battle wasn't happy with his career year in 2005. Even though he had to settle for playing in the South Atlantic League with the Charleston Riverdogs this past season after confessing to PinstripesPlus.com back in February that he was setting his sights on breaking Spring Training with the Trenton Thunder, Battle flashed the combination of power and speed the Yankees believed he had when they drafted him in the 3rd round of the 2003 MLB Draft.
\r\n
\r\n\"It was great,\" Battle said of his 2005 season. \"I mean, I did just about everything I set out to do this past season. I was named to the All-Star game, won the All-Star game MVP, and I put up some very good numbers. The only thing I didn't like was my strikeouts, but overall, I was very happy with what I was able to do.\"
\r\n
\r\nThe strikeouts is a subject that continually comes up in just about every Tim Battle discussion. Once on pace to set the all-time strikeout record for the South Atlantic League, Tim Battle finished the season with only 195 strikeouts, which was 56 more than the next highest total in the league in 2005.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think I improved the most in my approach at the plate,\" Battle told PinstripesPlus.com in a recent interview. \"I got a lot better later in the year and now I can't wait for next season.\"
\r\n
\r\nHe finished his 2005 campaign hitting .289 in his final 31 games, his highest batting average during any stretch of the year and light year's better than his .245 average in July and his .237 average in June. His teammates noticed the difference.
\r\n
\r\n\"All of us would tell him that with his speed, he should be like Willie Mays Hayes from the movie Major League,\" Chase Wright explained. \"He should bunt more and use his speed. His only weakness was his strikeouts, but he did a pretty good job on breaking balls later in the year.\"
\r\n
\r\nWith a better approach towards the tail end of the year, Battle finished a very strong season with the Charleston Riverdogs, displaying the type of game that has had scouts comparing him to Gold Glove centerfielder Mike Cameron because of his combination of power and speed with a propensity to strike out a tad much.
\r\n
\r\nBattle's exceptional defensive ability in center field is also a major reason for the Cameron comparisons. However, with a new glutton of quality centerfield prospects at the lower levels after the Yankees drafted Brett Gardner and Austin Jackson this past June, many observers are wondering if Battle will be moved to one of the corner outfield positions.
\r\n
\r\n\"I'd like to see the guy that would move him from centerfield,\" Chase Wright said with a chuckle. \"That kid is just unbelievable. He's got a great arm. He's a real athlete with good upside. He'll pretty much get to any ball hit to him in centerfield.\"
\r\n
\r\nIt is Battle's strong arm and recent power surge in the batter's box that has some pondering the idea of whether or not he'll move to right field to accommodate the development of Gardner and Jackson.
\r\n
\r\n\"I can play the whole outfield and I know I'll take life how it goes,\" Battle confessed if the Yankees moved him to a corner outfield position. \"They [the Yankees] put me in right field in Instructs, but honestly, I don't see myself in any other position but centerfield. I hope they don't try to move me out of there.\"
\r\n
\r\nBattle is a plus defensive player in centerfield but scouts are quick to point out that he has lapses on routine plays at times. Displaying an insatiable appetite to improve his game, Battle is out to prove the critics wrong.
\r\n
\r\n\"I want to work on my jumps out in the outfield,\" the 20-year old centerfielder admitted. \"I want to have more focus in the outfield, keeping my head in one position, and track more balls down.\"
\r\n
\r\nIn fact, despite having some of the best raw ability in the organization with unquestioned confidence in his game, Battle is not content to sit back and reflect on his breakout season in 2005. He wants to get even better!
\r\n
\r\n\"I'm working out with Lee Haney, an 8-time 'Mr. Olympia' body builder,\" Battle revealed as his offseason workout regiment. \"I'm working out with him every other day, building up my upper body and lower body. I'm working on my cardio too so I'm not as tired as much later in the year. I'm just trying to put on some weight.\"
\r\n
\r\nAfter blasting 16 home runs this past season, and now wanting to get even stronger, it would seem Battle, who batted leadoff most of the year, is trying to become a home run hitter.
\r\n
\r\n\"No, not really,\" Battle explained. \"Yeah, I'm trying to be a better power hitter, but I'm also trying to be better all around. I'm just working hard to try and add on what I was able to do this past season.\"
\r\n
\r\nAlready widely considered one of the high-ceiling talents in the organization, the prospect of Battle getting even better would be bad news for opponents in 2006 and beyond.
\r\n
\r\n\"Tim Battle has the most potential of anybody I've ever seen, let alone played with,\" Charleston teammate T.J. Beam told us. \"He has a little work to do, but he's already come a long way. With his hitting and the way he plays the outfield, you know he's a special ballplayer.\"
\r\n
\r\nOne of the reasons why Tim Battle is a special ballplayer is his unselfishness on the field. In a profession [minor league baseball] designed to be all about the individual player and his development, Battle is obsessed with winning a team championship along the way.
\r\n
\r\nUntil he does however, he's just going to continue working hard at improving his game each day. Despite a tremendous year in 2005, Tim Battle is not resting on his laurels this offseason.
\r\n
\r\n\"I can't wait to see how this working out this offseason pays off next year,\" an excited Battle exclaimed. \"Don't get me wrong. Last season was cool. I feel my strikeouts will come down. I don't want to stay the same. I'm always trying to improve because I really want to win a championship.\"
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