A Definitive Season For Tim Battle

Tim Battle Is As Confident As They Come

Tim Battle is now in his third year in the Yankee farm system. But, what has been different about this season for the center fielder is that it suddenly seems more clear as to what type of player he's going to be. The future looks bright for Battle and he recently spoke with us a in a PinstripesPlus.com exclusive.

Considered to be oozing with tools for two years following the 2003 draft, which saw him being selected by the Yankees in the 3rd round, Tim Battle seems to have overcome his struggles and put together a season which gives us a better a idea of what type of player he truly is. And the type of player he looks to be becoming certainly appears to be a good one.

At this point in time, we can get a vague idea of the style of ballplayer that Tim Battle is going to be. However, that doesn't mean that he isn't going to make adjustments as he moves forward with his career.

Remember, he has yet to turn 20 years of age. So, make no mistake, this Georgia native is also the type of player that knows how to improve. He's shown that with a breakout season here in 2005.

"I want cut back on my strikeouts next season, definitely," Battle told PinstripesPlus.com. "I want to keep learning and keep making improvements so I can make it all the way up to the big leagues."

"Also, I want to work on my pitch selection because I tend to start thinking about getting that curveball and then I end up swinging at a ball over my head."

The strikeouts have been way up there for Battle this season, no question, but he has still managed put together a very solid season for a 19-year old player, especially in A-ball. In the eyes of many who follow him, it is has been a successful campaign. But, more importantly, what does Tim Battle think about his performance thus far?

"I can say that its a success just for the simple fact that we got the team to the playoffs and that was our first goal," said a proud, Battle. "The numbers I have put up this year have been a big improvement from last year even though the strikeouts are still up there. But, who really cares about strikeouts when you still get hits."

"I'm going to work on cutting them down but that's how I have to look at it for now." Added the RiverDogs' center fielder, "My defense has been a great thing for me and my power is better than it has ever been."

As the speedy outfielder mentioned, his power numbers have really taken off here in 2005 and he even had the opportunity to participate in the South Atlantic League home run derby this year. Also of note, Battle was later named MVP of the League All-Star game. Suddenly, Tim Battle has a power game to add to all the other weapons he's possesses.

"I think just having more at bats has helped," the righty-swinging Battle explained. "I think that if I cut down on my strikeouts then I would have ten times as many hits and more home runs also. I've always had power but I just never got to use it as much as I do now."

Hitting for power is certainly a big improvement in Battle's game, but even he knows he has some more work to do at the plate. Strikeouts have been a problem as we have pointed out, but Tim also knows that there is a problem behind the strikeouts as well.

"I think that if I just think to look for that fastball, I would have a better chance to adjust to the off speed pitch, Battled responded. "This year, I've learned to be patient and not pull off the ball so much and use all parts of the field."

Obviously, every center fielder in the Yankee farm system is now aware that the Yankees are without a long term center field solution. And, don't think for a second that Tim Battle isn't one of those players.

He realizes that there may be a huge opportunity awaiting him at the Major League level when he is ready.

"I'm very aware of the Yankees center field situation," the former 3rd round pick exclaimed. "My goal is to make it up there and I'll do whatever it takes to get there. I saw, this year, that Melky Cabrera got a chance and now I believe that I can get the same opportunity as him."

Over the past year, Tim Battle has drawn comparisons to Mets' outfielder, Mike Cameron. The comparison is perhaps one of the most accurate ones that a player has ever been given. With the strikeouts, the good defense in center field, and the power, Tim Battle is looking more and more like a Mike Cameron clone.

"Yeah I've heard that, Battle told us in his recent interview. "We both strike out about the same, but yeah, he's one of the best center fielders in the game. He can also put up those good power numbers, but once I get up to the big leagues I'll better understand pitch selection."

There is still a long road ahead for Tim Battle, but in his mind, it will be an easier, smoother road than the one he traveled in his first couple years as a professional.

"I feel that I can handle the other levels a lot easier because of what I've learned the past three years," a confident Tim Battled explained. "I think it will be easier now with the experience I have."

The Yankees certainly hope so, because from what they've seen from Tim Battle this year, he may truly be catching their attention.

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