The MLB Draft is far from a perfect science, and occasionally talented ballplayers make it through the 40 rounds without hearing their names called. That happened to right-hander Hunter Adkins this June. After signing with the Oakland A's as an undrafted free agent, Adkins has gone out and shown that his name should have been on the list of drafted players this year.
Adkins did hear his name called after his junior season with Middle Tennessee State. The Milwaukee Brewers took Adkins in the 18th round in 2012, but Adkins chose to finish school rather than sign. Adkins had a 4.31 ERA in 87.2 innings during his senior year with the Blue Raiders. He signed with the A's soon after the draft.
Oakland assigned Adkins to the Arizona Rookie League at the start of his pro career, and he acquitted himself well. In 16 innings, he struck-out 17 and posted a 3.86 ERA. That earned Adkins a promotion to short-season Vermont, and he finished the year in the Lake Monsters' rotation. In 25.2 innings, Adkins had a 2.81 ERA and 16 strike-outs. Batters hit exactly .230 against Adkins in each league.
Donald Moore spoke with the Tennessee native towards the end of the 2013 regular season.
Donald Moore: How is everything going for you this season?
Hunter Adkins: It's going great. I'm just trying to stay focused on the last couple of outings, and I've done pretty well so I'm having a lot of performances.
DM: What are your goals for this year?
HA: Not to give up any home runs, but that didn't work out and keep under a four ERA. I've done that so far, so just trying to keep going.
DM: What do you feel is your greatest strength as ballplayer?
HA: My mindset. I'm very able to keep control and a calm mindset. Stay focused on the game and not let things get to me. I mean sometimes, but for the most part, I keep a good mindset.
DM: What would you like to improve on?
HA: Just being consistent with my pitches. Be in the strike zone with all four pitches that I have and keeping it down, keeping the ERA low.
DM: How are you adjusting to professional baseball?
HA: I am and I'm enjoying it. It's definitely a different feel. You're not too worried about anything but baseball, so that's great and I like it a lot.
DM: What do you like best about being a pro ball player?
HA: You don't have to do anything but just focus on baseball. You eat, you sleep and play baseball, that's all I do.
DM: Any pregame routines?
HA: Not really. I'm sure I do, but I really don't have anything on the top of my head that stands out right now.
DM: Favorite thing to do off the field?
HA: Probably ride four-wheelers. That's my thing back home.
DM: Favorite team growing up?
DM: If there was one person who taught you the most about baseball, who would that be?
HA: My dad, he was always there. I mean, I've had coaches that taught me a lot about when it comes to mechanics and different things, but with my dad, he was there for me and taught me everything I know now for the most part. He played college baseball, so he's done it and he knows what he's talking about. He was definitely one of the biggest influences on me.
DM: Craziest thing you ever saw on a diamond?
HA: I've seen a skunk once. Pitcher ran from the pitching mound into center field trying to get away from it.
DM: Where do you see yourself five years from now?
HA: Hopefully up in the A's organization. I don't know exactly where, but definitely higher than I am now and just keeping work hard and staying on the grind and do all I can do to keep going.
DM: Hunter, thank you for your time and the best of luck to you and your career.
HA: Thank you.