While in South Bend a couple weeks back I was able to interview Charcer Burks, the Cubs 9th rounder in 2013 out of high school. Although he hasn’t hit for much power yet, Burks’ quick hands and knack for putting balls in play has led to a solid season for the South Bend Cub. He is a very enthusiastic player and likable young man, and I wish him the best as he climbs his way up the latter to the majors.
Teddy Eley: [After introductions] After being drafted in the 9th round out of high school in 2013, how has the transition to minor league baseball been, using wood bats and all?
Charcer Burks: Well my coach made the team use wood bats throughout the summer in high school so it wasn’t that big of a transition but getting drafted and playing every day, I kind of eased into it being in the AZL League as we only play four days a week so it wasn’t that bad. Last year and especially this year the biggest transition has been the routine. Trying to make sure my body is good everyday as you’re playing everyday and only get a couple of days off. I wouldn’t say it has been easy but if you take it a day at a time it hasn’t been too bad.
TE: Does the coaching staff or organization help you ease into that? As it must be difficult living by yourself as a 19/20 year-old.
CB: As far as the staff goes, we have strength and conditioning guys who are great with that all the way down to the hitting coaches who are always making sure we’re active. If you want to get on the field and play you’ll play. It’s fun too. Even if you have a couple of days when you’re sore you just want to be out in the field playing, you can’t beat it.
TE: We’re about half way through the minor league season, does the Cubs staff have you working on anything specific for the 2nd half?
CB: Individually you have your goals and things you need to work on. The front office gives you a player meeting right before spring training with a sheet and stuff. But individually you know what you need to work on. I set goals for the first half and going into the second staff I have a different set.
TE: In the first half you’ve made some great defensive plays as well. It seems like the power is coming along [he hit his first home run at South Bend the day before.]
CB: It’s just being comfortable at the plate, that’s the main thing I’ve learned since getting drafted in high school. You have guys in high school who won’t pitch to you since you’re the best hitter on the team or what not. When you come out here you have a lot of great pitchers who’ll challenge you with great movement on pitches, aren’t scared to throw them and what not. Getting a feel for what they’re throwing in certain counts and what not, getting all those AB’s. I’m just getting comfortable and it feels like it’s starting to show.
TE: Situational hitting is always an important skill to learn. I’ve been in Myrtle Beach and Tennessee earlier and the clubhouses always seem to mesh well, is it the same case here?
CB: It always depend but our team is awesome and we have a lot of great teammates. When we’re on the field we come to play and win but when we’re in the clubhouse we like to keep things loose. We got like 140 games and it takes a toll so it’s nice to keep things loose.
TE: So how do you like playing in South Bend as they are the new Low-A Cubs affiliate?
CB: It’s awesome, I was really looking forward to playing in my first full season, this place is awesome. We’ve been setting record crowds and have been playing in front of 8,000 people and we get [good audience] a lot. It’s great having fans cheer you on and I can only imagine that it gets better as you go up.
TE: For sure, Myrtle Beach is a great place to be at and play at as well. That wraps it up, thanks for the interview and best of luck in the game today.
A big thanks to Mike Monaco (@MikeMonaco_) for setting this up and for being a great host at Four Winds Field. If you live in Chicago, you have to visit the Cubs Low-A affiliate as it’s a only a short two hour car drive away and the stadium is fantastic.
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