Oakland A's Prospect Q&A: Nolan Sanburn

TROY, NY - Nolan Sanburn was the first pitcher selected by the Oakland A's in this year's draft. The Arkansas redshirt sophomore was the 74th overall selection and the A's second pick in the second round. The right-hander signed just before the mid-July signing deadline and then spent his first professional season with the short-season Vermont Lake Monsters.

Nolan Sanburn acquitted himself well in his first pro stint. In seven starts, he posted a 3.86 ERA with 19 strike-outs and six walks in 18.2 innings. He will continue his development as a professional pitcher later this month, when he participates in the A's fall Instructional League camp.

Before the draft, Sanburn pitched for the Arkansas Razorbacks. He served as a reliever for most of the collegiate season, posting a 2.43 ERA and striking out 49 in 40.2 innings. The hard-throwing right-hander helped the Razorbacks reach the College World Series and didn't allow a run in five innings pitched in the NCAA Tournament.

Donald Moore spoke with Sanburn with a little more than a week left in the season about his first taste of professional baseball and more…

Donald Moore: How is everything going for you this season?

Nolan Sanburn: It's been so far pretty good. I've really gotten to know some of my teammates and really enjoy the professional baseball game so far, and I'm just looking forward to getting better every single day and learning something at every outing, every bullpen and every single day from the trainers and coaches. So just trying to get better every single day and learn every single day.

DM: How are you adjusting to professional ball?

NS: I love it. It's a little bit different than college baseball. You play every day. In college you play four times a week maybe, get in a little practice, but professional baseball is what I wanted to do since I was five years old, so it's really a dream come true. I'm really blessed and fortunate to be in this position and I can't wait for next season.

DM: What is your biggest strength as a ballplayer?

NS: I think I just want to get better mentally, but I think that physically right now is my best strength. I know that I can get even more physical, but I think at the same time though, I don't look at things as what I'm best at, I look at the weaknesses and learn what I can improve. So I try to be as humble as possible and I do what I can to better myself everyday.

DM: Any pregame routine?

NS: Besides throwing the ball in the bullpen, but not too much. I just show up everyday looking to help my team get better, help us win and if I get the opportunity to pitch though five innings and get a win, that's great. If not, I know my bullpen guys will do everything they can to help preserve any opportunity we have to win.

DM: Favorite team growing up?

NS: I love the Chicago Cubs. I grew up just about three hours away from those guys, so even though they don't win the a lot, they are the local losers I guess. It's always fun to go to Wrigley Field, though, and experience that. Professional baseball is the greatest thing in the whole world.

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

NS: I'd probably say my Grandpa. Not necessarily so much about the physical part of it, but the mental aspect of it. Like Yogi Berra said, "90 percent of it is mental as physical." Everybody out here is physically fit to play this game, but it's the guys who are mentally tough who are the ones that are successful.

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

NS: I see myself being a father, and a husband, but professionally I see myself in the major leagues, pitching every fifth day for the Oakland A's.

DM: Thank you Nolan for your time, and the best of luck to you in the future.

NS: Thank you very much.

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