Oakland A's Prospect Q&A: Aaron Shipman

TROY, NY - When the Oakland A's selected outfielder Aaron Shipman out of a Georgia high school in the third round of the 2010 draft, the A's envisioned Shipman one day setting the table at the top of the Oakland line-up. In his first full professional season, Shipman has demonstrated that he can get on-base regularly and make teams pay for letting him reach safely. Donald Moore spoke with Shipman.

For Aaron Shipman, playing baseball is a family affair. His father Robert is a former minor league baseball player with the Detroit Tigers and Minnesota Twins organizations and his older brother, Robert, Jr., plays for Chattahoochee Valley Community College. Like his father, Aaron plays for a team managed by current Vermont Lake Monsters' skipper Rick Magnante [the 1987 Bristol Tigers].

The 2011 season has been a learning experience for Shipman. The 19-year-old spent the first half of the year in Arizona, getting close instruction from A's coaches at extended spring training. At the start of the New York-Penn League season in June, Shipman was sent to Burlington, Vermont, where he has played all season.

Although Shipman's batting average (.233) and slugging percentage (.289) don't jump off of the page, Shipman has done a solid job of getting on-base all season. He has walked 31 times in 49 games and has a .358 OBP. Shipman has been a force when he has gotten on base, as well. In 16 stolen base attempts, he has been successful 14 times. He has also scored 23 runs despite batting ninth for much of the season.

Donald Moore spoke with the talented outfielder during the Lake Monsters' recent series versus Tri-City.

Donald Moore: Hi Aaron, how is everything going so far this season?

Aaron Shipman: Man, everything is going great. You know it's just the game, sometimes it's up and sometimes it's down, but you have to keep an even keel. So I'm having a great time this year.

DM: What do you like most about being a professional ballplayer?

AS: Just getting to play everyday, you know. It's a lifelong dream and I worked very hard for it and stay driven and being able to play everyday is sweet.

DM: What are your goals for this season?

AS: I just want to learn how to be a professional really. Actually learn how to keep an even keel and not keep your highs low and your lows high. Just have a decent season. I'm not trying to do too much. I'm trying to have good at-bats and play solid defense and have an all around good year.

DM: What is your greatest strength as a ball player?

AS: I have to say speed. Speed kills and you can't teach it. Just being able to run is a great asset.

DM: Any pregame routine?

AS: I sit around and listen to some music, you know, and shower up, and then I'll come out, say a little prayer, go on the line and just do the regular routine with the team.

DM: What are your goals for this season?

AS: Really the ultimate goal is basically a team goal. I really want to win this thing. We have a great team right now. Our pitching staff is phenomenal and when the batters are on, they are on. The ultimate goal is to win that ring this year.

DM: Any hobbies?

AS: Piano. I'm a big musician.

DM: Favorite team growing up?

AS: I was always a big Yankees fan.

DM: Favorite player?

AS: I was a big Bernie Williams fan. He does a lot of music. The years he was playing, I was always a big Bernie Williams fan.

DM: If there is one person who taught you the most about baseball, who would that be?

AS: That would be my father. He coached me growing up, ever since I started the game. Until I graduated, he's been my coach. It's kind of like he followed me. He went to school, got his education and then started teaching at the school and then he was my high school baseball coach, too. It's my dad.

DM: Craziest thing you ever saw on the field?

AS: It had to be [Michael Fabiaschi] getting thrown out of the game. He's the coolest guy ever, but this one umpire was getting on his nerves and I seen him go off that one time. That was the craziest thing I ever seen... he was hot!

DM: Favorite city you've ever played in?

AS: Had to be Cooperstown. Did the Cooperstown Dream Park thing and it was amazing.

DM: Where do you see yourself five years from now?

AS: You know, hopefully I'll be in the big leagues. If not, definitely I still want to be in the game. So, we'll see what happens.

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

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