The Oakland A's had three picks in the first and supplemental first rounds this season and they used all three selections on high school players. The second of the high school trio to be selected was third baseman Daniel Robertson. A Southern California native, Robertson came to pro baseball with a reputation for having a mature approach to the game.
In his first professional season, Robertson came as advertised. Praised by A's coaches for his work ethic and his approach at the plate, Robertson posted a .297/.405/.554 line in 29 games with the A's AZL squad. The A's rewarded Robertson for his performance with a promotion to short-season Vermont for the final four weeks of the season. Although Robertson's numbers dipped with the Lake Monsters, he swung the bat better than his numbers would indicate against competition often two or three years to his senior, according to A's minor league hitting coordinator Todd Steverson.
Donald Moore spoke with Robertson towards the end of the Vermont Lake Monsters' season.
Donald Moore: How is everything going for you this season?
Daniel Robertson: You know what? This summer has been quite an awesome experience. Starting out in Arizona and then getting the call to Vermont, almost about three weeks ago. It's been everything I've been preparing for. All of the stories I heard are pretty much matched up the same. It's truly a grind and I found it to be enjoyable at the same time coming out here and playing everyday. It's always something I always wanted to do.
DM: How are you adjusting pro ball after coming straight out of high school this year?
DR: It's an adjustment, you know. You're going to see 90 plus [MPH] every game and you're not going to see the normal high school 80 to 85 [MPH}. These guys have good command of their pitches, and they can throw all three or four plus pitches for strikes at any count. It's an adjustment as a hitter. You have to try to get your pitch and not miss it.
DM: What are your goals for this season?
DR: At this point just finish strong. I feel like I over-exceeded my goals by getting the call here up to Vermont. Truly I thought I'd be in Arizona the whole summer and getting the call to Vermont was pretty special and awesome. Hopefully I can build on that and come out next season and do the same thing.
DM: What is your greatest strength as a ball player?
DR: I believe when I'm hitting good, I'm spraying balls all over the field, that's when my power will come in. Also as I try to hit the ball to the right side. When I try to start yanking everything and pulling the ball, I fall into a little drought, but when I'm hitting to all fields, that's when I feel I'm an explosive hitter and I also have good instincts for the game.
DM: Any pregame routine?
DR: No, not that I can say. Same routine everyday. I mentally prepare myself for a game and just always go out there having fun and do the best I can.
DM: Any hobbies?
DR: I love going out to the lake, going on the boat and hanging out with my friends and going to the beach.
DM: Favorite team growing up?
DR: I'd have to say the Angels, just because they are the local team and I actually went to quite a few World Series games in 2002. I've always been a baseball fan and I don't know if I had a favorite baseball team. Same thing as a favorite player. I love watching the game and I root for everyone.
DM: If there is one person who taught you the most about baseball, who would that be?
DR: Probably my father at a young age and my older brother played baseball, so I was always with them. It was a good one-two-three tandem. I was always doing stuff when I was at a young age. I had a lot of good coaches and mentors along the way, like Mike Rodriguez and a bunch of coaches that helped me to the point I am at now.
Also my trainer, Davey Coggins, too. He's been training me ever since my freshman year in high school and he's a great guy.
DM: Where do you see yourself five years from now?
DR: Hopefully in the big leagues. I'm going to be straight up. This is my dream and my goal and I'm just going to keep working hard and I feel I'm on a good path right now and with a good organization to do that, too.
I also want to say my mom has always been a huge supporter of me and I love her very, very much.
DM: Thank you Daniel for your time and the best of luck to you and your future.
DR: Thank you very much.