Corner infielder Ryon Healy didn't join the Oakland A's organization until this June, but he had been in the green and gold for the past three seasons as a member of the Oregon Ducks. The slugging Southern California native was taken with the 100th overall pick in the 2013 draft by Oakland after a strong three-year career in Eugene. During his junior season, Healy batted .333 with a .408 OBP and 11 homeruns.
A minor back injury delayed Healy's arrival into pro ball by a few days, but he was in the fold by late June. He appeared in 11 games in the Arizona Rookie League and he was sent to short-season Vermont after hitting two homeruns and a triple in 28 at-bats.
With the Lake Monsters, Healy continued to show some power, as he connected on four homers and 10 doubles in 146 at-bats. Like many of his Vermont teammates, however, he struggled overall in the pitcher-friendly New York-Penn League, posting a .233/.252/.384 line in 36 games.
Healy is 6'5'', 200 pounds, but he moves well for a man his size and has a strong throwing arm. Although he has been projected by many scouts to be a first baseman, Healy spent the majority of his time with the Lake Monsters manning the hot corner. He is currently in Arizona, participating in the A's fall Instructional League camp.
Donald Moore spoke with Healy about his first pro season during the Lake Monsters' final roadtrip of 2013.
Donald Moore: How is everything going for you this season?
Ryon Healy: Pretty good. I'm getting acclimated myself with the Oakland A's organization, so I'm starting to be comfortable here.
DM: What are your goals for this season?
RH: I want to be able to get really acclimated and get myself comfortable with the people I'm surrounded with – my teammates, the coaching staff – and just excel in any category I can right now with my ability.
DM: What do you feel is your greatest strength as a ballplayer?
RH: It depends on the day. I try to be a very confident person. I kind of live off experience and things I've been through to get me through the new experiences in life and the new challenges that pro ball faces, but I've played the game a lot of years and I have a lot of experience to pull from, so I think to be able to do that is one of the better things I can do.
DM: What would you like to improve on?
RH: I would say consistency throughout the days. Playing baseball everyday is something you're not used to. In college ball, you play four games a week, here you play seven days a week, so getting acclimated and being able to make adjustments quicker and quicker everyday.
DM: How are you adjusting to pro ball?
RH: You know, it's definitely a learning experience. I've been here about two, three months, so there is definitely a lot of ups and downs, but just to be able to balance out everyday and when you leave the ballpark, leave it at the field, and when you get back to the ballpark the next day, it's a new day, so it really separates baseball and life and really understand that everyday is a new day, and everyday is a new opportunity.
DM: What is the best thing about being a professional baseball player?
RH: Being to be able to play baseball everyday. Doing this for a job is really a dream come true for any of us to be able to come here and get paid to play baseball.
DM: What do you like to do off the field?
RH: I'd say during the season, relax and sleep if you can. Whenever we have the opportunity, get some good food and get some sleep.
DM: Favorite team growing up?
RH: I went to a lot of Dodgers games growing up, living in Los Angeles. Watching Eric Karros and Shawn Green and all those guys growing up and they had a pretty good ball club, so that probably was where I went the most.
DM: If there is one person who taught you the most about baseball, who would that be?
RH: By far my father. My father was always there for me throughout when I was growing up, taking me to every practice and every game. Every hitting lesson I had, he was always there learning as much as he could to transfer it over to me and help me as much as he can throughout my career.
DM: Craziest thing you ever saw on a baseball diamond?
RH: There is a lot, but this season we had one where a baseball got stuck in our pitcher's glove. He threw the entire glove at me, the ball separated from the glove and I ended up catching the ball for an out. That made it in the Sportscenter's top ten plays at number two, so that was pretty crazy. It was great to be a part of.
DM: Where do you see yourself in five years from now?
RH: I sure hope in the big leagues , but you know, it's kind of up to the Oakland A's and how I perform, so hopefully I go through the organization and keep progressing and keep getting better throughout each level.
DM: Ryon, thank you so much for your time and the best of luck to you.
RH: Thank you, I appreciate it.