Oakland A's Prospect Q&A: Chris Affinito

TROY, NY - When the Oakland A's switched their short-season affiliate from Vancouver, Canada, to Burlington, Vermont, it meant an opportunity for first baseman/catcher Chris Affinito to play close to home for the first time as a pro. Donald Moore caught-up with Affinito, a New Jersey native and Seton Hall alum, when the Vermont Lake Monsters were in Troy, New York earlier this month.

Since signing with the Oakland A's as an undrafted free agent in 2009, Chris Affinito has provided some punch for the A's short-season affiliates. In 2009, he hit .300 with five homers in 48 games for the Arizona Rookie League A's. Last season, after batting .167 with Low-A Kane County, Affinito hit .320 in 16 games with short-season Vancouver and .286 in nine games with the AZL A's.

In 2011, Affinito is with the short-season Vermont Lake Monsters. After getting off to a slow start, Affinito has been hot in July, batting .385 with four walks in four games.

Donald Moore spoke with the first baseman/catcher last week.

Donald Moore: So how does the club look this year?

Chris Affinito: I think the club looks really good. I mean, there is a good rapport in the clubhouse. Everyone seems to get along. We are just meshing right now and playing some good baseball.

DM: What is it like playing pro baseball?

CA: It's good. It's a grind. You just come out here do what you've got to do everyday. It beats having a regular job, you know.

DM: How do you describe yourself as a hitter?

CA: I would say I'm a power hitter and I like to drive the ball into the gaps.

DM: What would you like to improve on?

CA: Just on squaring up some more balls on a consistent basis. It's always been a struggle for me. Just trying to get out there and hitting off the tee during BP. I'm just trying to get to know my zone a little better.

DM: What are your goals for this season?

CA: Just have a good year and hopefully we can win a championship as a team.

DM: What are your favorite things to do off the field?

CA: I fish, play some darts and try to relax as much as possible. Sleep too. I like to sleep a lot. I like being outdoors, golfing, fishing and everything like that.

DM: Favorite team growing up?

CA: Being from New Jersey, the Yankees.

DM: Favorite player?

CA: Don Mattingly.

DM: Any player, coach or person who has helped you the most?

CA: My dad. He's always there for me. When he comes to the game, he checks out BP, he knows my swing. It could be something as little as moving my head. I want to thank him for everything.

DM: The craziest thing you ever saw on the diamond?

CA: In Vancouver we had a couple of streakers. That was pretty crazy. And two weeks ago, there was a little monkey that threw out the first pitch. Those are the two craziest things I'd say.

DM: Where do you see yourself in five years?

CA: Hopefully in the big leagues.That's all our goals here. Hopefully everything pans out. You work hard all your life to get there.

DM: Chris, thank you and the best of luck to you.

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