TROY, NY — The expectations are high for the Oakland A's 2015 first-round pick, Richie Martin. The athletic shortstop had a breakout season with the Florida Gators, propelling him into the first-round of the draft, where the A's took him with the 20th overall pick. The A's envision Martin developing into a solid fielding shortstop with the potential to fill-up the statsheet with doubles, triples, homers and stolen bases.
Martin is currently getting his feet wet professionally with the short-season Vermont Lake Monsters. He got off to a fast start with the Lake Monsters, but he has been battling a slump over the past week. On Wednesday, he showed signs of breaking out of that slump, however, collecting three hits in the Lake Monsters' 3-0 win. Even with the slump, Martin's batting line is .263/.346/.411. His 756 is the 24th-best in the pitcher-friendly New York-Penn League.
Donald Moore spoke with Martin during a recent Lake Monsters' roadtrip about his transition to professional baseball
Donald Moore: Hi Richie, how is everything going for you this season?
Richie Martin: Pretty good. It is definitely a lot different than college, so it is different getting adjusted to that, but with a new set of guys, learning new things and trying to work my way up and play well for the team and get some wins.
DM: Do you feel any addition pressure to perform being the number draft pick of the Oakland Athletics?
RM: No, not at all. The only pressure that can happen is the pressure I put on myself. So as of right now, I don't feel anything.
DM: What are your goals for this year?
RM: I don't set personal statistical goals , but as long as we are winning, individually you are probably playing well so as long as we win, that's all that matters.
DM: What do you feel is your greatest strength as a baseball player?
RM: I haven't really looked at this like that. I'd like to think of myself of a well-rounded player, so I don't put any emphasis or extra emphasis on one part of my game. I try to keep it well-rounded and focus on all parts of the game, not get lopsided.
DM: What would you'd like to improve on?
RM: There is a lot of things you can improve on. The second you think you figured it out, that's when there could be trouble, so all aspects of the game is what I am improving on.
DM: How are you adjusting to being a professional athlete?
RM: I think pretty good. Like said, it's definitely different than playing in college because we are playing everyday. I don't think that part has gotten to me yet. I enjoy coming out here and playing baseball everyday. I'd rather be doing that than have a real job, so I feel I'm pretty adjusted and eat healthy and get your sleep and do that. I'm well energized and feeling fine. I've only been here three weeks so far, but I'm feeling good.
DM: What do you like best about being a professional baseball player?
RM: Pretty much knowing it's all on you and you kind of realize that you are growing up now, and I'm only 20 years old, but I'm starting to realize that I am an adult and the days are on me. I can sit around and sleep all day, but that's not going to benefit me, so I think the big thing about adjusting to professional baseball is having your priorities straight and managing your time well. And if you do that, you'll be fine.
DM: Any pregame routines?
RM: Yeah, I've been trying to make a schedule. I've only been here for about three weeks, but I'm trying to get everything situated. I try to stretch a lot, because there is a lot of downtime and sitting around. I don't want to get caught sitting around and be on my phone for an hour not even realize it, so I try to keep myself busy because there is a a lot of down time, but there is a lot of work to be done, too.
DM: Any hobbies?
RM: I love building things and I like watching television. I enjoy being outdoors and stuff like that.
DM: Favorite baseball team growing up?
RM: I was born in Detroit so I liked the Tigers.
DM: If there is one person who taught you the most about baseball, who would that be?
RM: Probably my dad and [former big league outfielder] Chet Lemon. I played on his travel team.
DM: Craziest thing you have ever seen on a baseball diamond?
RM: I haven't seen anything too crazy, but at Florida we pulled off the hidden ball trick twice. That was pretty cool.
DM: Where do you see yourself in your future regarding your baseball career?
RM: My goal is obviously to get to the big leagues and when I get there, I want to stay there. It depends on the work I put in now and that is what leads up to my future.
DM: Richie, it was a pleasure speaking with you and the best of luck to you and your career.