Basak knows the importance of versatility
Chris Basak is currently playing third base for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees but you just might find him at a few other spots in the field this season. With the pool of talent in the Yankees organization, Basak knows it’s necessary if he looks to one day secure a spot on the Major League roster.
(FREE PREVIEW OF PREMIUM CONTENT)
Getting a spot on the New York Yankees roster isn’t exactly a walk in the park but that doesn’t have Chris Basak worried. He understands the long term deals keep many positions in New York out of reach, but remains motivated in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
“I think the more you can do, the more value you can have for a team," he admitted. "In my situation, being in this organization, you have guys Jeter, and A-Rod in that infield. You know, it’s hard to move those guys especially with their contracts and what they’ve done in the past."
He continues to show enthusiasm and the willingness to learn new positions as he continues to develop.
“Being able to play more positions, it gives the possibility and an opportunity for me to add more value to a team.”
Basak had an opportunity to spend some time with those currently occupying the infield in New York this past spring and believes he learned from the chance to share the same space with them.
“It’s definitely a motivation, being in that clubhouse with all those names," he said with a grin. "While I was up there, I definitely would say I learned a lot from being up there, being around them, and just observing.”
Basak hoped to make a good impression as he began his career with a new organization, and most would deem his spring a success. He batted .325, belting one home run, and driving in five in 23 games in the Major League camp.
“Coming in to a new organization, I wanted to make a good first impression,” said Basak. “The spring was great. I was able to get some decent at-bats, play a couple of different positions, and show them a couple of things I could do out on the field. I had a great time doing it, and that made it a lot of fun, being able to do that.”
Basak is happy with his spring but understands the end of Spring Training means the win column takes center stage again. The importance of taking confidence to the field for the regular season is now at the forefront of his plans.
“With every spring you want to get to that point where you feel comfortable, where you can go out and be aggressive offensively and defensively,” said the 28-year old.
Comfort and confidence are also in Basak’s preparation on a daily basis.
“Getting on the field and getting enough ground balls so that when you get in the game you feel comfortable doing it. Playing different positions, it’s really important to make sure you feel comfortable,” Basak said of preparing defensively for the game.
“Same thing offensively, knowing the pitcher. Otherwise it’s just taking some swings and making yourself comfortable at the plate.”
It’s this pre-game mentality that helped Basak to a successful spring, which has carried on into the season as he has delivered a .467 average through the first four games.
“I’m seeing the ball well," he confidently told us. "It’s kind of a tough schedule with the weather and not being able to get out on the field before the game. It’s nice, and I hope to keep it up."
Basak acknowledges there is always room for growth and he still sees the potential in every area of his game to improve.
“Everything," he listed as to where he'd like to improve, "you can always get better at everything you do. It’s just about getting as consistent as you can. I think that’s one of the keys.”
With personal growth in mind, Basak seems motivated to keep improving. He continues to work everyday on making himself more comfortable and ready for whatever opportunity might come his way.
“It’s just being an athlete and having that competitive streak. It’s something that drives you day in and day out.”
Manager Dave Miley knows Basak’s talent and doesn’t believe he is concerned with who’s playing third in the Major Leagues, or any position for that matter.
“He’s a very capable player," said the Scranton skipper. "He’s playing a lot of positions and he’s been real solid at third. I don’t think his concern is who’s playing third base in the big leagues, it’s just to play as well as he can and see how it plays out.”
Miley also understands Basak’s capabilities and plans to utilize him in a variety of positions throughout the year, outside of his current position at third base.
“He’s been solid over there and he’s a guy who we’re going to get a little work in the outfield and move him around," Miley revealed. "He’s a shortstop by trade I think, he can play some second and third, and don’t be surprised if you see him in the outfield.”
Whether it’s the outfield or the infield, Basak continues to progress. In the end, there’s one thing that will continue to motivate him as well as the rest of his teammates - positions available or not.
Dave Miley put it best following Basak’s three hit performance on Monday against Richmond.
“Making the Major Leagues, that's what keeps all of us going really."
Thought about subscribing to PinstripesPlus.com? Why not get two months free AND get our PinstripesPlus Magazine, our special Yankees Prospects Guide, included by becoming an annual subscriber? Order today to get the most out of your subscription. Supplies are limited so don't delay!
|Become an annual subscriber today!|