There are few questions about Jordan Tripp's talent. The outfielder possesses that rare combination of speed and power that all teams covet. Although not a household name before last year's draft, the Oakland A's took Tripp in the seventh round. After the draft, A's Director of Scouting Eric Kubota tabbed Tripp as one of the sleeper picks of the 2010 class.
"He is a tremendous athlete. He's an above-average to a plus, plus runner. He's got power potential and he can really throw," Kubota told OaklandClubhouse shortly after the draft.
"His tools are comparative to really just about anybody in the draft as far as tools across the board."
It was a tough transition for Tripp to pro ball last season, however. He hit only .186 with a 565 OPS in 31 games split between short-season Vancouver and the A's Rookie League squad. Adding to those frustrations was a lingering wrist injury that required off-season surgery.
The A's moved slowly with Tripp at the start of this season. The 21-year-old spent the first half of the year at extended spring training before he was sent out to Vermont at the beginning of the New York-Penn League season.
Tripp got off to a fast start with Vermont, batting .267 with a 967 OPS in June. He struggled in July (.240 BA/562 OPS), but while the average has stayed low in August (.222), he has picked up his game in other areas and has a 793 OPS. Overall, Tripp is batting .243 with a 710 OPS. He is second on the team in homeruns with five and is eight-for-nine in stolen base attempts. Tripp's biggest weakness this season has been in the area of strike-outs. He has 60 in 51 games.
Donald Moore spoke with the Southern California native during the Lake Monsters' recent trip through upstate New York.
Donald Moore: So how is this everything going this year?
Jordan Tripp: It's going really well, you know. We've played really well and we are in first place and we are just hoping to keep things going into the playoffs.
DM: What's it like adjusting to pro ball?
JT: It's been a little bit of an adjustment. Last year was a really big adjustment for me, but this year I have gotten into the swing of things and what I need to do to prepare for a ball game.
DM: What do you like most about being a professional ballplayer?
JT: Just coming to the field and playing everyday. I love baseball, played it ever since I was a little kid and I've been fortunate enough to play it. Now as a professional, you couldn't ask for any more.
DM: What are your goals for this season?
JT: I'd like to win a championship. I think that's what everybody on this team's goal is, to win a championship. That would be awesome for us.
DM: What is your greatest strength as a ball player?
JT: Being able to run down a lot of balls in the outfield. I'd probably say that is my strength.
DM: What would you like to improve on?
JT: Hitting. I think that is one area in the game that I can improve on a lot more, and it just takes a lot more work and experience.
DM: Any pregame routines?
JT: I listen to an interview with Evan Longoria talking with a sports psychologist, talking the game and remembering your breathing and all that stuff. That really helps me.
DM: Favorite thing you like to do off the field?
JT: Well, when I'm in California, I like to go spear fishing in the off-season.
DM: Favorite team growing up?
DM: Favorite player?
JT: I like Jason Werth.
DM: If there is one person who taught you most about baseball, who would that be?
JT: It would probably be my brother [Brandon Tripp]. Growing up, he was a star baseball player out of high school. He went to Cal-State Fullerton, and later played professionally. I've always talked to him about baseball, the mental side, and him going through it was kind of like me going through it, so he helped me a lot in every aspect of the game.
DM: Favorite city you played in?
JT: I like it here [Joe Bruno Stadium, Troy, NY]. I like the atmosphere. The stadium is awesome and some of the fans are really close, so they are kind of jawing at you a little bit. That's fun, too. I like it here.
DM: Where do you see yourself in five years?
JT: I see myself in the big leagues. I think that every minor league player who is playing right now sees themselves playing in the big leagues or else they wouldn't to be doing it, so I see myself in the big leagues and hopefully it will work out.
DM: Thank you so much for your time and best of luck on continued success.