The Region's Team Of Northwest Indiana


SF Giants Charlie Szkowny Former Oilmen

03/02/2024 12:42 PM -

The Northern League is a good experience for aspiring pro ball players, Charlie Szykowny said. The Palos Heights, Illinois native remembers his time with the Northwest Indiana Oilmen fondly.

“I thought (professional baseball) was a lot like playing college summer baseball,” he said. “You wake up. You eat. You go into the facility. You practice. You do your routine, get some extra work in, go play your game, and then just do it all over again.” 

Szykowny was drafted out of the University of Illinois Chicago by the San Francisco Giants in the ninth round of last year’s MLB amateur draft.

He played at Oil City Stadium during the 2022 season. “The crowd was electric (in Whiting). It was a little bit shocking how much the fans were getting into it,” he said. “I remember getting chirped at on the road, too, but it was a great time. It was exciting.”

Szykowny’s game is exciting.  In his final collegiate season at UIC, he was the Flames team leader in home runs (16), hits (68) and batting average (.335). He was named the Missouri Valley Conference Newcomer of the Year as a graduate transfer after four seasons with the University of Wisconsin-Stout, where he was a Division III All-American.

He went back to UIC to train with former teammates over the offseason.

“I’ve been working on getting my body ready for playing 120 games,” Szykowny said. “I want to be an all-around hitter, hit the ball to all different parts of the field. I want to have a more repeatable swing. I want to be the same guy every day in the box.”

Coaches made only a few minor adjustments last summer to Szykowny’s approach at the plate. The aim is to have better plate coverage.

Repeatable or not, his swing produced a slash line of .245/.368/.388 through 98 at-bats combined between rookie ball and the A-level San Jose Giants. Szykowny hit two home runs, and six doubles, drove in 12 RBIs, walked 14 times, and stole a base over 27 games.
My aim is about 25 home runs this year.

“I think it went alright. I always think I could do better. It was an adjustment period, those 25 or so games,” Szykowny said. “I’m getting ready to go for this season and hopefully put up some more power numbers.”

The bulk of his life he’s been a shortstop, but Szkowny has only played third base for the Giants. He said he’s comfortable at either position if it helps him advance through the organization.

“I’m ready to play anywhere. Catcher, pitcher, you name it,” he said.