After splitting time with Ryan Dull as the closer at short-season Vermont and collecting five saves to go with a 1.05 ERA over 18 appearances, Austin House earned a coveted promotion to Low-A Burlington in time for the Midwest League playoff race.
For the 6'4'' right-hander just a couple months out of college, it's been a positive experience and provides even more motivation to continue working hard in the offseason.
"It's a really good feeling getting called up and knowing they've seen my stuff and know I can pitch," said House, Oakland's 14th-round selection in the 2012 draft out of the University of New Mexico. "I got the call in Vermont and found out I was coming up, so I was really excited.
"Just the fact that I can compete, want to pitch and can get quick outs are all positives. I'm throwing strikes, not walking a lot of guys and getting in and out of innings with a lot of groundballs."
House recorded four outs in each of his two games out of the Bees' bullpen since his late-August promotion. He allowed one earned run on two hits, while striking out three.
While Burlington's pitching staff has undergone little turnover this summer, just the experience of being in the thick of a playoff race is good news for the former Lobo.
"In Vermont, Ryan Dull and I were closing so I knew if we had the lead late in the game I was probably going in," House said.
"Now I'm here getting my innings logged before Instructs start, where they start tweaking little things. I don't know exactly when I'm pitching every night, so it's mostly getting your work in and doing what the coaches ask.
"This gives me a head start and going into spring training should be a good deal. I'll get a little bit more work in Instructs and that will give them an idea what I like to do, what they want me to do and we'll work on it from there."
Working out of the bullpen comes as no surprise to House, as he logged 111.2 innings this spring as a starter at New Mexico. He posted a staff-best 2.74 ERA and struck out 91 batters to earn All-Mountain West first-team honors.
Although the A's drafted him in the 14th round, several rounds higher than he was selected by Boston coming out of high school, House said signing a professional deal wasn't necessarily a forgone conclusion.
"I went to the University of New Mexico and it's in my hometown, so there was a decision to be made whether I wanted to stay for my senior year," House said.
"We were going to have a good squad next year, so I probably could have won some more games and won another conference championship.
"When I made the decision, I figured I would get my foot in the door and start throwing. The A's get them to the big leagues pretty quickly, so it was nice to know I got drafted by an organization that's big on pitching. Also, knowing I was going to be on the West Coast helped quite a bit too."
Currently a four-pitch pitcher with an arsenal that includes a four-seam fastball, sinker, change-up and slurve, House is looking forward to refining his stuff with Oakland's minor-league pitching coordinator Gil Patterson.
"When Gil came down to Vermont, we went over some stuff," House said.
"It was finishing towards the plate, directional strides and not spinning off the mound to the left or right. He wants me to get extension with the arm, so that will give me more velocity and sink on the sinker and change-up."
House will be one of 45 A's prospects participating in the A's Instructional League camp later this month.