The Oakland A’s selected two players from Cal-State Fullerton in the 2014 draft. The first was Oakland’s number one pick, Matt Chapman. While the second doesn’t have the same high-profile as his college teammate, Koby Gauna is still a prospect worth watching.
The sturdily built right-hander had a solid three seasons with the Titans. Serving mostly as a reliever, Gauna tossed 181 innings during his college career. He posted a 2.39 ERA. Not a strike-out pitcher, Gauna used his above-average fastball command and two solid off-speed offerings to keep hitters off-balance. He walked just 23 and struck-out 118. Gauna allowed only five homeruns.
The A’s tabbed Gauna with their 20th-round pick and he signed not long after the draft. The Southern California native made three appearances for the A’s Rookie League team before shipping out to short-season Vermont. He quickly moved into a closer role with the Lake Monsters. Gauna dominated in his 15 appearances, racking up 12 saves in 12 chances and posting a 2.08 ERA. Gauna struck-out 14, walked just two and had a 2.40 GO/AO.
Gauna’s fastball generally sits in the high-80s, touching 91 MPH on occasion. However, he can spot the pitch to both sides of the plate. He also has two solid secondary offerings, a tight breaking slider and an above-average change-up.
Donald Moore spoke with Gauna about his professional debut during the Vermont Lake Monsters’ final roadtrip of the season.
Donald Moore: How is everything going this year?
KG: Real good, I'm a having a good first year so far.
DM: What are your goals for this season?
KG: Just stay consistent and, not try to do too much. Just know what I have and stick with it.
DM: What do you feel is your greatest strength as a ball player?
KG: Probably my mental game. I know where to go to when I don't have my stuff. And I was always taught in college that the mental game is really important.
DM: What would you like to improve on?
KG: I'd like to improve my athleticism off the mound and probably just be more consistent with my off-speed.
DM: How are you adjusting to pro baseball?
KG: I think I am adjusting pretty good. It's definitely different than college ball, but it's a lot more fun.
DM: What do you like best about being a professional baseball player?
KG: Getting paid to play.
DM: Any pregame routine?
KG: Just listen to music and playing cards with the guys.
DM: Favorite thing you like to do off the field?
KG: Play video games.
DM: Favorite team growing up?
DM: If there is one person who taught you the most about baseball, who would that be?
KG: Probably my dad just because he taught me the right way to play the game and that the team always comes first, and never to be selfish about it.
DM: Craziest thing you ever saw on a baseball diamond?
KG: I saw a guy hit a foul ball off a bounce and that was pretty crazy. It bounced off the plate.
DM: Where do you see yourself four years from now?
KG: Hopefully in the big leagues. But, I think that is everyone's dream.
DM: Thank you so much for your time and the best of luck to you.
KG: Thank you.