Oakland A’s 2013 25th-round pick Jon Massad may be 23 years old, but he is relatively new to pitching. The Southern New Hampshire alum split his time between the mound and the infield until his junior year of college, when a sprained ankle forced him to focus his attention solely on pitching. That proved a fortuitous development for Massad, who landed on scouts’ radar once he started pitching full time.
Massad spent his pro debut season with the AZL A’s. In 17 outings (two starts), Massad posted a 3.90 ERA and a 1.25 groundball-to-flyball rate. In 2014, he moved up a level to short-season Vermont, pitching exclusively out of the Lake Monsters’ bullpen. In 21 appearances, Massad had a 4.39 ERA and a 22:8 K:BB in 26.2 innings.
The 6’1’’ right-hander isn’t a hard-thrower, but he gets good movement on his fastball, especially his two-seamer, which he uses to induce groundballs. Massad also throws a change-up and a slider.
Donald Moore spoke with Massad about his 2014 season during the Lake Monsters’ final roadtrip of the season.
Donald Moore: How is everything going for you this year?
Jon Massad: It's going great, so far, so good. No complaints at all.
DM: What were your goals for this year?
JM: My main goal was to stay healthy. Have a good year, help the team win games, get holds, get saves or whatever I can do, but mainly just stay healthy.
DM: What is your biggest strength as a ball player?
JM: As a pitcher, my ability to keep the ball down, throw strikes and try to get ahead of hitters.
DM: What would you like to improve on?
JM: Try to throw a little harder, get my velocity up a bit. Maybe be a little more consistent on an everyday basis. But just stay healthy and keep grinding.
DM: How are you adjusting to professional baseball?
JM: I'm adjusting well. I mean definitely a lot different than college, but I like it. Awesome environment, great clubhouse, nice to be out in the bullpen with the guys.
DM: What is the best thing about being a pro ballplayer?
JM: The ability to play the highest competition possible. That is probably the best for me.
DM: Any pregame routine?
JM: Not really. Come in and shower, change, get my stuff for the bullpen, my bands, snacks, drinks or whatever it is for the bullpen that night and head out there.
DM: What do you like to do in the off-season?
JM: I take usually about a month and just relax in Cape Cod for a little bit and let your body recover, then in October, November, or up into spring training, and then get after it in the gym and stay healthy.
DM: Favorite team growing up?
JM: I'm from right outside of Boston so I'm going to have to say the Red Sox.
DM: If there is one person that taught you the most about baseball, who would that be?
JM: On the field, I had a lot of coaches, but off the field and just about mind sense and stuff like that, I'd have to say my dad.
DM: Craziest thing you ever saw on a baseball diamond?
JM: Too many to remember. Way too many to remember.
DM: Where do you see your future regarding your baseball career?
JM: I don't have a specific team, but I want to just keep moving up, as fast as I can, and hopefully achieve my goal to reach the big leagues. That's where I want to be.
DM: Thank you so much for your time and the best of luck to you.
JM: Thank you very much.