Injuries have had a major impact on the career of Dayton Alexander. A sixth-round pick of the Oakland A’s in 2011, Alexander has yet to play in more than 60 games in any one season thanks to a variety of ailments.
The speedy native of Hawaii appeared in 36 games for the short-season Vermont Lake Monsters this season before injuring his hamstring during the final week of the schedule. Before injuring his leg, Alexander hit .207/.328/.270 in 111 official at-bats. He showed off his speed by swiping 11 bases in 11 chances and matched a career-high with a 13.6% walk rate. That walk rate was nearly double the New York-Penn League’s league average.
Alexander, who is related to Boston Red Sox’s outfielder Shane Victorino, is a scrappy player who looks to his use speed to disrupt the timing of opposing pitchers. Alexander saw a lot of pitches during his time with Vermont and reached base at a clip higher than the league average despite hitting 40 points below the league average.
Donald Moore caught-up with Alexander during the Lake Monsters’ final road trip of the 2014 season for a Q&A.
Donald Moore: How is everything going for you this year?
Dayton Alexander: Right now, not so good. I just pulled my hamstring, maybe three days ago, coming around third base, trying to score from second, heard a pop. Right now, it's just a little set back for me, but hopefully I can get a little rehab done and going good, and hopefully make the last game of the season.
DM: What were your goals for this year?
DA: Just to come out and do my best, you know. Definitely trying to get back to Beloit.
DM: What is your greatest strength as a ball player?
DA: I like to say my defense and speed. That probably helps me a lot and that is probably what is keeping me in the game. I'm just trying to do too much at the plate and that can be a player's downfall, clearly less is more. And just holding that right mindset and having confidence. I'm definitely still trying to work on that.
DM: What do like the most about being a professional ball player?
DA: The best part is blessing God gave to me to continue to play the sport that I love and get paid for it. A bunch of guys dream about this when they are little kids, and I dreamed about it since I was four years old, and that is just the best part really. I get to travel. I'm from Hawaii, all the way in the middle of the ocean, so this is my first time on the East Coast really and seeing different places. I really don't to get to see much, because I'm at a field and the hotel all the time, but I got to go to New York City for the first time this year, so it was a great experience.
DM: Any pregame routine?
DA: I like to read my bible, there is a verse in there that helps me stay focused, knowing God has a plan for me no matter what. All glory goes to him.
DM: Favorite thing you like to do off the field?
DA: Go to the beach. I love to surf. We have North Beach in Vermont, which is kind of a lake, but it's the closest thing I have to water. It kind of reminds me of home, but it's really not the same. Whatever is the closest thing to the beach, I feel at home.
DM: Favorite team growing up?
DA: I really didn't have a favorite team because Hawaii is a six hour time difference. When I went to school, practiced and worked out, by the time I got home, all I get to do is watch highlights of ESPN. If I'd have to pick a team right now, it would be Boston Red Sox, because my cousin Shane Victorino plays for them. I love watching him play, so whatever team he is on, I'm just a wagon train guy.
DM: If there is one person who taught you the most about baseball, who would that be?
DA: Definitely my dad. He was my coach since I was in little league. Me and my brother, both played baseball, as well, and my brother helped me out a ton, but definitely my dad. He's always there for me and always supporting me.
DM: Craziest thing you ever has seen on a baseball diamond?
DA: There's a lot of crazy things you see in pro baseball, but not growing up. You see tons of bats flying into the stands, hitting pitchers, umpires getting hit in places they don't want to get hit. It's pretty crazy what you see in pro ball.
DM: Where do you see yourself in your baseball career down the road?
DA: Hopefully still playing the game. It doesn't really matter what level I am at. I'm just hoping to continue playing baseball because it's a game I love.
DM: Dayton, thank you so much for your time and the best of luck to you.
DA: Thank you very much.