The Oakland A's 20th-round pick's driver's license might read Herschel Mack Powell IV, but to his friends and family, he is simply "Boog." The Southern California native heard his name called by the A's on Wednesday after a standout freshman season at Orange Coast College, a community college in Costa Mesa. The centerfielder finished among the conference leaders in a lot of the key categories for a leadoff hitter, including on-base percentage, batting average, total bases, triples, hits and runs scored. He was a first-team all-conference and all-state selection for 2012. Powell was one of six players from the OCC program to be drafted this year.
We caught-up with the left-handed hitter the day after he was selected by the A's…
OaklandClubhouse: Congratulations on being drafted. Where were you when you found out you had been picked?
Boog Powell: In my room actually, listening to it on my computer. I heard the Oakland A's and I heard my mom and all my neighbors – they are my second family – I heard them out in the living room and my mom said ‘come on Oakland.' Then I heard them say my name and there was just a bunch of screaming and I ran out there.
OC: Were they a team that you had heard a lot from before the draft?
BP: No, not at all actually. I got one questionnaire from them and one call.
OC: Do you know much about the organization already?
BP: Not too much. I know that their short-season A-ball team is in Vermont. That is pretty much it.
OC: When they gave you a call, what did they go over with you? Did they tell you what the first steps might be if you signed and things like that?
BP: He told me that I would probably be going to Vermont if I signed. Then he talked about money and about how it is a great chance to play and about how even though I got drafted so late, I will still get playing time and things like that.
OC: Obviously your nickname has to be related to the Orioles legend Boog Powell. How did you get the nickname Boog?
BP: I'm the fourth [Herschel]. They call my grandpa Herschel and they call my dad Mack, which is my middle name. I kind of needed a name. My dad grew up watching Boog Powell play and that name just sort of stuck with baseball. I used to go by Mack at school, but people starting calling me Boog and it just stuck.
OC: Have you been to the Boog's Barbeque at Camden Yards?
BP: No. I want to.
OC: How would you describe yourself as a player? Is there a player you try to emulate?
BP: Brett Gardner, definitely. I play like him. I'm fast. He hustles around everywhere. He's not lazy. I kind see that he is trying to get better every game.
OC: What did you learn from your first year of collegiate ball?
BP: I learned that it is a team sport. That you have to worry about your team first and not yourself. I got a lot better at bunting and I learned a lot more about hitting the ball the other way.
OC: You have been a leadoff hitter at Orange Coast College. Is that the spot in the line-up that you prefer?
BP: Yeah. I just like to get on base and let everyone hit me in.
OC: I know you have eligibility left at the junior college level and if you wanted to play at a four-year school. What will be the deciding factor for you in terms of whether you will sign or go back to school?
BP: Probably the money. I probably want the $2,000 or above. That's probably what it would be because I honestly just want to play professional baseball. I just want to get out there and get started because I am young and I know that I would have more time. But if I don't get enough money, I think I'd go back to Coast.