A 10th-round pick of the Oakland A’s in 2004, Tom Everidge was a fan favorite during his seven seasons in the A’s organization. The Sonoma State alum slugged 22 homers and drove-in 115 runs for the Double-A Midland Rockhounds in 2008, and he reached the big leagues with the A’s in 2009. He appeared in 24 games for Oakland that season, collecting his first big league hit against Jonathan Paplebon in Boston. He hit two homeruns and six doubles.
Everidge split the 2010 season between the Seattle Mariners and the A’s organizations before playing independent league ball in 2011 and 2012. After taking the 2013 season away from organized baseball, Everidge returned as a first-year hitting coach in the A’s system. Everidge spent the beginning of the season working at extended spring training, and then he served as the hitting coach for the short-season Vermont Lake Monsters.
Under Everidge’s watchful eye, the Lake Monsters started slowly offensively but finished the year swinging the bat well. The team batted .242/.307/.341 overall. The Lake Monsters were fifth in the league in homeruns. Shortstop Yairo Munoz had a breakout season and finished seventh in the league in batting, and fellow position players Joe Bennie and J.P. Sportman had strong seasons and were mid-season All-Stars along with Munoz.
Donald Moore caught-up with Everidge during the final roadtrip of the Vermont season to learn about his first year as a professional hitting coach.
Donald Moore: How is everything going for you this season?
Tom Everidge: Good. It's my first year coaching. I love it, and I am having a blast.
DM: What particular skill set do you look for in a young hitter at this level?
TE: At this level, we are trying to see their approach, see how they work, and play day-to-day, and try to give them an approach that will work for them at a professional level. And to just smooth out some skills, but mainly try to help them adapt to seeing the better pitching, which they need to have, and better pitch selection to be successful.
DM: Is there a general philosophy that you guys focus on in the Oakland A's organization?
TE: We let them hit and then we talk to them about the situations where you just don't want to go up there and be overly aggressive without a plan. Certain situations dictate when it's good to see a pitch, but trying to remind them that the more pitches you see, the better chances you are going to have to get a hit.
DM: What are some of the challenges teaching these players?
TE: Just getting to know them. Get with them on what they have done in the past and then try to get them to adjust. They have all been successful before, and it's their first time going through some struggles and getting them back on the right track and letting them trust themselves in what they do.
DM: Do you see any problems for these incoming players acclimating to wood bats from aluminum?
TE: No, they have all acclimated pretty well, but that is where the pitch selection comes in. You don't get away with hitting balls off the end or inside that you would have gotten off a metal bat, so you definitely have to become more selective and improve your barrel accuracy.
DM: How do you feel the team has performed this season, offensive-wise?
TE: I thought it was good. I thought we got better and we started learning ourselves more, and the team is starting to understand themselves and what they need to do to become successful and getting their routines down and their pregame, and then bringing that into the game and then try to keep them to sustain it. Not get too high or too low, and panic. Just keep at that nice, smooth playing to become consistent everyday.
DM: Any standouts this year?
TE: We had a bunch of guys. Some of the new guys, like Jose Brizuela, struggled at first and he has come a long way and worked really hard and he has put up some solid numbers and he's improved tremendously. That probably goes for all the college guys, who have improved and the guys who had extended. Where we saw them six months ago to now is just a total change and for the better and that is what is the greatest satisfaction as a coach seeing their improvement and growth.
DM: What was it like for you the first time you got into that batter's box in the Major Leagues?
TE: It was exciting, you know. It was kind of surreal. I just tried to keep myself calm and do what I had to do. It was a whirlwind. I was in Colorado, and then we flew out to Boston. It's a place you want to go in general and just in life, and then when you get to play there, it was just awesome.
DM: Any off-season plans?
TE: Just hang out with the wife and the baby and go to Instructs. Just keep learning more as a coach and re-evaluate to get better on things that worked. Just keep grinding.
DM: How would you sum up your first year as coaching professionally?
TE: Fun and they test you at times. You just keep going. It's kind of like being a player, but you are a coach and you have to keep grinding and be positive and have a good, sound mindset.
DM: Thank you so much for your time and insight. I wish the best of luck to you and your coaching career.
TE: Thank you.