Nick Rickles was selected by the Oakland A's in the 14th round of the June draft after a standout season for Stetson University. The catcher hit .347 with a .408 OBP and a .600 SLG. He struck-out only 10 times the entire season and hit 12 homers, while driving in 62 runs in 63 games.
Since signing with Oakland, Rickles has been collecting his frequent flier miles. He began his pro career with the A's Rookie League team in Arizona. After six games with the AZL A's during which he hit .304 with a 973 OPS, Rickles was sent to Triple-A Sacramento, where he was on the roster for a week. Rickles was then flown across the country to join the roster of the short-season Vermont Lake Monsters.
With Vermont, Rickles has served as the everyday catcher. In six games, he is batting .278 with a .391 OBP.
Donald Moore spoke with Rickles about his adjustment to pro ball, his time with Sacramento and more...
Donald Moore: How how was your stint in Sacramento?
Nick Rickles: It was pretty nice, man. I mean it's one step away from the big leagues. But just the way they're treated up there is just amazing. The clubhouse is nice and the guys are actually very welcoming and it was a good experience.
DM: How are you adjusting to pro ball?
NR: I like it. I'm about a month in. I'm just getting used to wood bats. I mean I play summer ball every year, so I played with wood before and I played with some of these guys before. [Vermont third baseman] Jacob Tanis, I actually played in the same conference as him. The older guys in Sacramento kind of helped me and I picked their brains a little bit while I was up there.
DM: What are your goals for this year?
NR: Just to have a good approach the whole year, and obviously we need to win and I just got up here [on July 4], so I'm getting to know the guys, and I'm already having fun, so it's going to be a good year.
DM: Favorite team growing up?
NR: The Mets, but I guess I should say the A's now.
DM: Is there any person, coach or player who taught you most about baseball, who would that be?
NR: Mark Levitt. He was my college hitting coach. He was a scout for a very long time and he kind of took me under his wing and told me about the stuff they look at and what I needed to work on. He was very blunt with it, and supportive. So constructive criticism, he was pretty good at it, and really helped me out throughout my career.
NR: Just anything sporty. Weight lifting and being around a baseball field is my number one hobby. I'll come and watch a baseball game anytime day of the year. I love it.
DM: Craziest thing you ever saw on a baseball diamond?
NR: Actually, a little bench clearing brawl last year in summer ball. The catcher got run over at home and they just went nuts right away. It was definitely was the craziest thing I've ever seen.
DM: Five years from now, where would you want to be?
NR: Playing for the Oakland A's in the big leagues. It's my dream and hopefully hard work will pay off and I'll be there.
DM: Thank you Nick and the best of luck to you.