The Oakland A's first pick on day two of the 2012 draft was catcher Bruce Maxwell. Playing for a smaller collegiate program (Birmingham Southern College), Maxwell wasn't a household name amongst casual draft watchers. However, scouts had been buzzing about the left-handed hitting catcher in the months leading up to the draft as Maxwell piled up huge numbers for Birmingham Southern. The A's were pleased to be able to grab him with their first second-round pick (slot number 62 overall).
After signing with Oakland, Maxwell continued to swing a big stick for the A's Rookie League team. In six games he collected 11 hits in 21 at-bats, including four doubles. Maxwell was then promoted to short-season Vermont. In 59 games for the Lake Monsters thus far, the 21-year-old has hit .258/.332/.321. He has also served as the Lake Monsters' primary catcher.
In late August, the Lake Monsters traveled to upstate New York, where they took on the Tri-City Valley Cats. Donald Moore caught-up with Maxwell for a Q&A.
Donald Moore: How is everything going so far this season?
Bruce Maxwell: It's going well. It's a big adjustment catching-wise and playing everyday, but so far individually it's going really well.
DM: How are you adjusting to pro ball?
BM: Still adjusting just like everybody else. It's definitely different. I mean the competition is better. It's just repetition man, and staying healthy. It's a grind just like everybody says it is and it's a grind to play everyday, especially when you're a catcher. So I'm adjusting well.
DM: What's the best thing about being a professional ball player?
BM: I like being a catcher, I really do, because you get to experience so many different people. You have relationships with a lot of people: pitching coaches, different pitchers, different players of different nationalities, so you have to understand everything. You develop a sense of home, I guess, behind the plate. I've only been doing it [catching] for two years, and with this year going on three. Once I've gotten used to it, I love it. Everything is dependent on me and I like all eyes on me. It helps me relax because I know I can do it, so it's the best part I think.
DM: What are your goals for this season?
BM: To finish strong. First year is getting acclimated, especially at my position, and being fairly new at it compared to a lot of these guys who have been catching all their lives and I think it is trying to be consistent as much as possible and finish strong. We have about 10 games left and you know we are a little bit of a hole right now as a team, but it's not how you start, but how you finish.
DM: What position did you play in high school and college?
BM: In college, I was recruited as a first baseman, only, but after my freshman year, they converted me to a catcher.
DM: What is your greatest strength as a player?
BM: Hitting by far. Hitting definitely has been a tool of mine that I've always been able to fall back on if my defense slacked a little bit. At the same time I'm trying to get my weaknesses to be my strengths.
DM: Any pregame routines?
BM: Not really. Usually I catch a ‘pen or two and then just hop into it. I just listen to my music and I have a game-time playlist I've listened to since my freshman year in college. So I just listen to that and I focus in and go have some fun.
DM: Favorite thing you like to do off the field?
BM: Hang out with my family. I don't get to see them much and I'm the last one of my family, so I'm the baby of the family. Once we all get together, we are not kids anymore so we can have a good grown up time.
DM: Favorite team growing up?
BM: Favorite team was the Yankees, definitely. I was a big fan of Derek Jeter and was a big fan of ARod and still am. I more of a player fan nowadays rather than a team fan. The A's are my favorite team now.
DM: If there is one person who taught you the most about baseball, who would that be?
BM: My dad, definitely. He didn't play college sports at all. Actually he played three sports in high school and was probably one of the best teachers I ever had, or that I ever known. He's taught me everything from the way I throw, to the way I hit, to the way I think about the game and he continues to do so. I still get a phone call after every game and I give him the run down of everything, tell what I'm thinking and tell him what happened and he still analyzes me. He'll forever be my external hitting coach.
DM: Craziest thing you ever seen on a diamond?
BM: Besides streakers, I was actually at the game when Derek Jeter made that big play into the stands. That was pretty insane. Mostly just the atmosphere and the craziest things that go on in the dugouts.
DM: Where do you see yourself five years from now?
BM: Hopefully I'll be in the green and yellow, sitting behind the plate up in Oakland definitely. That's all of our goals and this what separates everybody who really wants it and who doesn't.
DM: Thank you so much for your time and the best of luck to you in the future.
BM: Thank you, man.