Tyler Painton didn't take a traditional path to professional baseball. The left-hander was a 13th-round pick by the Toronto Blue Jays after a standout career at Centennial High in Bakersfield. Painton elected to forgo turning pro in 2010 to attend the University of San Diego. An arm injury during fall ball sidelined Painton during his freshman year and he left the school and returned to Bakersfield, where he played for Bakersfield College in 2012. He transferred to Oregon State in 2013 and spent the next two seasons with the Beavers.
Unfortunately, bad luck limited Painton during his redshirt junior season with the Beavers. He was sick most of the season and threw only one inning in 2014. When the draft came along, Painton's name wasn't called. Although he had another season of eligibility remaining, Painton elected to sign with the A's as an undrafted free agent. Once with the A's, he was diagnosed with mono. He appeared in only four games with the AZL A's last season.
Finally healthy in 2015, Painton began the year in extended spring training and was assigned to the Vermont Lake Monsters at the start of the short-season. He has a 4.26 ERA in 25.1 innings for the Lake Monsters, but that ERA doesn't show how well Painton has actually pitched. He has held opposing batters to a .194 average and he has a 0.91 WHIP.
Donald Moore spoke with the 6'6'' left-hander during a Vermont roadtrip to upstate New York in July.
Donald Moore: Hi Tyler, how is everything going for you so far this season?
Tyler Painton: It's going really well, how about yourself?
DM: I'm doing very well, thank you. What are your goals for this year?
TP: I honestly came into the last season with a lot of injuries and got sick. This year, just to be healthy and kind of carry that on out, it has worked very well for me so far this year.
DM: What do you feel is your greatest strength as a baseball player?
TP: I have got to say my mentality. It's something I have really picked up on and sort of grown. Baseball is a game of failure, so you are going to face a lot of adversity going through it and I think showing up to the yard knowing it's a new day is pretty crucial in this game. I think my mentality is probably my biggest strength.
DM: What would you'd like to improve on?
TP: Overall I think everybody wants to throw a little harder and their stuff to be a little bit better, but honestly, I think that goes right back to the mentality, improving little things to make my stuff better. Going from that standpoint, my mentality is my biggest strength.
DM: How have you adjusted to professional baseball for your first full season?
TP: It's good. You have to travel a lot, going on the road and things like that. I'm adjusting well. I have to manage my time a little bit, making sure you are getting your meals, making sure to get enough sleep. Those are the biggest things to adjust to.
DM: What is the best thing about being a professional athlete?
TP: I like being around the guys. I think you can learn a lot around other people, watching how other guys approach hitters and stuff like that, from my standpoint as a pitcher. I think that is one thing I love, learning from everyone.
DM: Any pre-game routine?
TP: Eat a good meal before, use the bathroom and head down to the bullpen.
DM: Any hobbies?
TP: I love being in the water and things like that.
DM: Favorite baseball team growing up?
TP: Boston Red Sox, definitely. My dad grew up playing in the organization, so I grew up kind of loving them.
DM: What is your father's first name?
TP: Tim. He was an outfielder. I couldn't tell you the years, but he made it all the way to Triple-A.
DM: Did he make it to the Major League camp with Boston?
DM: If there is one person who taught you the most about baseball, who would that be?
TP: Probably my dad. I kind of followed him in his footsteps and I come from an athletic background. My family was involved in sports and stuff like that, but my dad definitely paved my way for baseball.
DM: Craziest thing you have ever seen on a baseball diamond?
TP: Vicmal de la Cruz. I'm sure you heard, the famous roll down to first base.
DM: Where do you see your baseball career in the future?
TP: Wait out this game as long as I can. I'm one class away from my economics degree and will probably get into some sort of business, but try to ride out baseball as long as I possibly can. That is very important to me and I'm glad I got it done and out of the way.
DM - Tyler, thank you so much for your time and the best of luck to you and your career.
TP - I really appreciate it and thank you.