Malec Improving His Versatility

Malec has more walks than strikeouts this year

Christopher Malec, the Yankees 16th round pick in the 2005 draft, started the year with the Charleston Riverdogs and was promoted to the Tampa Yankees this season. The 24-year old is known for playing second and third base and is now trying to climb the ladder and prove himself in a new position at first.

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"I'm just trying to learn a new position, that's my main concern right now, to try to move up and do whatever I can," he said.

With his experience at second and third base, he feels he is becoming versatile enough to become a utility player down the road.

"I think I'm opening up some versatility and learning first base on the fly," he said. "I still have a couple things to work on. [I've] made a few errors and I think I can improve on the defense a lot."

"Obviously it's not my most comfortable position, but I definitely feel comfortable moving around to each position, to second and third like I've played in the past. But to continue working on first base is my main focus right now."

Malec's strong .288 batting average proves he belongs in Tampa. An even more impressive stat is he has more walks than strikeouts this season, 53 to 38 between the two minor league levels.

"Over the course of time it's just happened that way," he said. "I used to be a free swinger in college, but working with the head coaches here, focusing on a good pitch and getting a good count is what I've been working on. I step up there with a plan of attack each time."

Hitting Coach James Rowson had a chance to work with Malec during Spring Training and has seen his improvements.

"I've seen him consistently get better," said Rowson. "I had a chance to see him a lot last year when he was here and he's made some good changes from last year to now."

"He's a lot quieter with his approach, a lot more relaxed at the plate, doesn't show a whole lot of signs of tension at home plate and he's under control with what he's doing. If he can continue to slow everything down and stay under control, he's got good hitting ability."

With the move to Tampa, Malec is beginning to open some eyes as a potential utility infield prospect in the organization, and as he continues to work on his defense, consistency is the key word.

"At this level, all these guys can keep working." Coach Rowson said. "Malec is working in the right direction; it's just a matter of consistency for him."

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