When center fielder Evan Chambers arrived in State College, it didn't take long for him to show the Pirates organization why he was worthy of being selected in the third round of the 2009 MLB Draft.
Chambers, who was the 84th overall player drafted, made his professional debut with the Spikes on July 2 and was swinging a hot bat through his first six games as a professional. The 20-year old recorded seven hits and five RBIs during his first week with the team.
While the first week went well, the struggles of the past month have helped Chambers become a better player.
When his batting average dipped into the .100s during July, Chambers went through a phase that manager Gary Robinson said is common for all young players.
"Once people figure out you can play they start figuring out how to beat you," Robinson said. "They try to figure out how to get them out, which is good because failure allows us to teach."
The former Hillsborough Community College standout has taken advantage of working with the team's hitting coach Brandon Moore, who taught him to square his body to the ball. Chambers called Moore the "best hitting coach he's ever had," and the result of the extra time Chambers has spent in the batting cage is starting to show.
Through the last 10 games coming into game Tuesday, he has recorded nine hits and has demonstrated plate discipline by walking 10 times. Despite posting a .176 batting average for the month of July, he has raised his total average back to .218.
"I've been working real hard with B-Mo and to just get on the field and throw my hands more at the ball, instead of using more of my body," Chambers said. "They convinced me that I'm strong enough to drive the ball without having to try. I've just been trying to throw my hands more at the ball and it's been working well."
The 5-foot-11, 210 pound center fielder has hit nine doubles this season and continues to improve. He had possibly the best game of his young career Aug. 6 against Aberdeen when he went 2-for-4 with four RBIs and scored three runs.
Robinson said the game was "something that he needed," and Chambers' struggles this season have given Robinson the opportunity to teach the young player.
"When guys aren't going well that's your best opportunity to make them better," Robinson said. "If a guy is hitting .320 you know that his time is coming where he's not going to be able to fall out of the boat and hit water. If you approach him while he's hitting .320 he's not going to listen."
While Robinson said Chambers has been working hard every single day, he understands that the process of dealing with a young hitter will not be solved in a month.
"Sometimes it takes longer," Robinson said. "But fortunately he swings the bat pretty well. And when you can square up that 94-mile-per-hour fastball from a left hander in a two strike count, that means you're doing something right."