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Astros Minor Leaguer Wates Talks About How Soccer Helped Him In Baseball

In a piece special to MLB.com, Astros center fielder Austin Wates sat down with Chris Martinez to discuss his decision between soccer and baseball, and how playing soccer helped him on the baseball field. 

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"Eventually it comes down to what you want to do," he said of signing. "You don't always have the opportunity to go and play baseball, whereas I can always go back to school no matter what happens. That was the biggest deciding factor for me."

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Wates said he wasn't passionate about soccer and he felt it wasn't fair to play a sport he didn't care as much about at the college level. But he does use tools such as speed from that sport, applying them to his game in center field.

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"I was really fast and I could run by people," he said of soccer.

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Wates was a recent focus of John Sickels, and has since boosted his batting average to .281. That's still not excellent for Lancaster, but his tools have shined through on the diamond, and he could very well be Michael Bourn's replacement in center field in a few years. If the minor league stats are any indication, it's likely that you won't notice much of a difference between them. 

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Images by eflon used in background images under a Creative Commons license. Thank you.