UTA outfielder speaks softly and carries a big stick




Posted on April 7, 2010 at 3:27 PM

If you want to know how good UT-Arlington center fielder Michael Choice is, just ask anyone except Michael Choice.

"He's the best I've played with," says catcher Chad Comer. "The best I've played with, no doubt whatsoever."

Jason Mitchell is a pitcher, and sees Choice's skills from that perspective. "He can get to any pitch. He can cover all parts of the plate. He'll drive it to right field and hit a home run, and he'll hit it into those houses over there (beyond left field)."

KJ Hendircks is a former Maverick player, and spent six seasons in the minor leagues, reaching as high as AA ball. He has seen a lot of talented players. "He's right up there at the top - if not the top - just natural hitter at what he does, that I've seen."

"Everybody else pretty much does the talking for him," adds Comer. "Even guys on the team do the talking for him."

And what does Choice have to say? "I've never been too much of a talker."

Choice lets his bat do the talking, and it's been loud. He's batting over .380 and is on pace to break the school mark for career batting average. He's hit 11 home runs, averaging one home run for every nine at bats. Choice is a five-tool player who is projected to be a late first-round draft pick in June.

"It's fun to think about it," says Choice, "but I try not to and try to focus on what's going on now, because if you focus on that, you're putting a little bit of extra pressure on yourself."

Choice obviously has a lot of natural talent, but it's his ability to get on base that has been exceptional. Choice has reached base safely in every game this season, and 41 straight, dating back to last year.

"I don't' know how he does it," Hendricks admits. "I tell you what, if I knew the answer to that, I could bottle that and be pretty well off.

"It's a tribute to him. Not only is he an amazing hitter, but he has great plate discipline."

"Walks have definitely kept it alive because, I mean, hitting's been pretty tough this year, not getting a lot to hit," says Choice. "So a walk, has been the way I'm keeping it going this year."

The willingness to take a walk is another sign of Choice's humility, and another part of what makes him so good.