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Getting to Know Lugnuts’ Outfielder and MWL All-Star, Chris Hawkins

Getting to Know Lugnuts’ Outfielder and MWL All-Star, Chris Hawkins

July 6, 2012

Lugnuts OF, Chris Hawkins, is having a great year, batting .273 with 16 extra base hits.

There is no denying that the Lansing Lugnuts are having a great season so far, winning the Midwest League’s first half title and clinching a playoff spot come September. Their strong start can be attributed to their great coaching, solid defense, strong offense, and great pitching, which is apparent through them sending seven players to the Midwest League All Star game this past June.

One of these All Stars, is outfielder, Chris Hawkins, who discussed with me not only his enjoyment to be entitled as an All Star, but who also  his professional journey thus far with the Blue Jays organization.

Christopher Hawkins was the Toronto Blue Jays third round pick in 2010 out of North Gwinnett High School in Suwanee, Georgia. While he always played hard throughout his high school career, he admitted that becoming a Midwest League All Star this season was a wonderful opportunity:”The All Star Game was a great experience, especially since our team won 18-2, but the best part of it was being there with six of my teammates.”

When asked what his reaction was to being drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays, the 20-year-old replied that he was honored for the opportunity, though he was not certain which uniform he would be wearing: “I was told I would go anywhere in between the second to tenth round of the 2010 MLB draft. I had no idea who was going to pick me or where, but being picked in the third round by a great organization like the Blue Jays is a dream come true I couldn’t ask for a better situation.”

While he thoroughly enjoys playing in the Blue Jays organization, growing up in the Atlanta area, Hawkins admits, has made him a Braves fan. ” As a Braves fan, Brian McCann is my favorite player. I love the way he plays the game. I have hit with his father, Howie McCann, in the offseason and have gotten a chance to meet Brian and talk to him. The way he carries himself on and off the field is very professional, plus his swing is great!”

While he values the game play of a catcher, it’s interesting that Hawkins has played virtually every position, except the one behind the plate. In fact, while the Blue Jays drafted the Georgia-native as a third baseman, Hawkins explained to JaysProspects that the majority of his High School career was spent at shortstop. “While I played a few games in the infield for the Blue Jays, I was switched to the outfield early in my professional career. I’m enjoying the transition and doing everything I can to help my team win,” Hawkins said.

While Hawkins was drafted in the third round by the Blue Jays as a third baseman, he presently finds himself in the Lugnuts’ outfield.

While it was uncertain how Hawkins’ career would begin defensively, there was no question how it would begin offensively, as at a mere 18-years-old, Hawkins showed he was ready to compete, hitting nine doubles, three triples, stealing eight stolen bases and driving in 15 RBIs in his first 40 games as a Blue Jay in 2010.

2011 was no different, as Hawkins enjoyed another season with the Bluefiled Blue Jays with a few games with the Dunedin Blue Jays, where he collectively batted .313 with 15 doubles, six triples, five homeruns, 52 RBIs and 14 stolen bases.

His performance in 2011, earned him a well-deserved promotion to the Lansing Lugnuts, where the young outfielder has again, been able to find tremendous success. In 76 games as a Lugnut, he has batted .273 with 12 doubles, three triples, seven stolen bases and 30 RBIs. When asked how he has been able to be so successful, Hawkins never flaunted any one of his many talents, but instead showed sincere appreciation to his hitting coach. “Kenny Graham, who was also my hitting coach for the last two years, has helped me out tremendously with a variety of aspects to my game. I’ve been very lucky to be able to be learning from the same hitting coach three years in a row and I am happy with the way my game is progressing offensively.”

While Hawkins plans to keep working hard, his main goal for the rest of the season is to collectively, as a team, continue to win. “My goal is to help win the second half of the season,” he said, adding, “It was great winning the first half, but to win both would be huge!”