Oakland A's 2011 30th-round pick Nathan Kilcrease made a lasting impression in the Alabama record books. The Phenix, Alabama, native left the Crimson Tide as their career-leader in appearances. He finished sixth all-time in wins and innings pitched and seventh all-time in strike-outs. He split his time between the starting rotation and the closer's role during his collegiate career.
Nicknamed "Peanut" because of his 5'6'' frame, Kilcrease has proven that he doesn't need to be 6'3'' to succeed against top-level competition. After posting a 3.12 ERA for the Crimson Tide this season, Kilcrease has gone on to put up a 2.39 ERA in 26.1 relief innings for the Vermont Lake Monsters. He has a 27:5 K:BB ratio, a 3.25 groundout-to-flyout ratio and is holding opposing batters to a .198 average.
Donald Moore spoke with the Lake Monsters' reliever during a recent Vermont roadtrip through upstate New York.
Donald Moore: How is everything going for you this season?
Nathan Kilcrease: It's going good. I'm having a good time, just hanging out with the guys and getting to know everybody. It's fun, everybody comes from different places, different backgrounds and the way they mesh together is kind of cool.
DM: How are you adjusting to pro ball?
NK: It's a little different. A lot of travel, a lot of long days, and really just waking up everyday and going to the ball park. You know it's tough. Everyday you have to get into a routine. You got to get your sleep. You can't stay up late talking to your girlfriend, or whatever you want to do. You really have to focus on what you have to do. It's a job now, so it's either make it or break it.
DM: What are your goals for this season?
NK: For the team, our goal is to win it all. I think overall, the first goal is to make it to the post season. With a month left, we have a good chance of doing that. My overall goal is just to really help the team as much as possible, and just finish with the best possible numbers I could have and carry that on into next season and spring training and all that good stuff.
DM: What would you like to improve on?
NK: I'd like to improve on my fastball command and work on more of a two-seam movement on my pitches and really just to locate a little better.
DM: Favorite thing to do off the field?
NK: I guess now I'd have to say bowling. We went bowling the other night and it was pretty fun.
DM: Any pregame routine?
NK: I guess drink some Mountain Dew. Mountain Dew is my favorite drink. I drink probably two or three a day.
DM: Favorite team growing up?
NK: Atlanta Braves.
DM: Favorite player?
NK: Tim Hudson.
DM: If there is one person in your life who taught you the most about baseball, who would that be?
NK: My dad.
DM: Craziest thing you ever seen on a diamond?
NK: You probably already heard it, but monkeys riding dogs. I never even heard of something like that.
DM: Where do you see yourself five years from now?
NK: Hopefully in the big leagues. If not playing ball anymore, you know somewhere still in the game, passing the game along to some younger kids and teaching them the way.
DM: Thank you so much for your time and all the best of luck to you.