Drafted by an organization sorely in need of a power threat in the middle of their lineup, Michael Choice has done everything in his power to live up to the hype in his first full professional season.
After signing with the Athletics shortly after being drafted last June, Choice joined the Arizona Athletics where he played in just three games.
He was then promoted to the A's short-season Class-A affiliate, the Vancouver Canadians of the Northwest League (now a minor league affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays).
He posted a .284/.388/.627 batting line with seven homers and 26 RBI in just 27 games.
Choice attended his first Major League spring training this year and managed to turn several heads.
He batted .292/.414/.333 with seven hits and eight runs scored in just 24 at-bats.
"He seems to have a good head on his shoulders," Coco Crisp told MLB.com's Jane Lee this spring. "From the baseball standpoint, you'd think he's been here for a couple years. Inside the clubhouse, he's very quiet and humble."
A's Hall of Famer, Rickey Henderson, also chimed in to Lee, stating, "He's got all the tools, and he's just here at camp to develop and make all those things come out."
Where will Michael Choice begin 2012?
"I'm very impressed with him, especially the power that comes out of him."
After being sent to the A's High-A affiliate Stockton Ports, that power has emerged in a major way.
Through his first 89 games with Stockton, Choice is batting .291/.381/.575 and leading all A's minor league players with 26 homers. He has added 22 doubles and driven in 67 runs.
Choice was named the Player of the Week in the California League for the week of July 4-10. During the week he posted a batting average of .433 through seven games with three doubles, four home runs and 13 RBI.
Choice has belted nine homers in the month of July and is in the midst of a 17-game hitting streak.
His excellent season will likely earn him a call-up to Double-A Midland very soon.
With only a little over a month remaining in the Triple-A schedule, it is unlikely he could advance that far in a single season.
If he performs well for the Rock Hounds and makes it to Sacramento before the completion of the minor league season, he could give the A's a difficult decision next spring and force his way into the mix for an opening day roster spot.
Given the power drought in Oakland these days, Choice's box-scores have become a daily read and an optimistic look towards the future.
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