TROY, NY -- It has been a whirlwind year for Oakland A's 2015 15th-round pick Ryan Howell. The Brentwood, California, native flew well under the draft radar his first three seasons of college. After starring at Heritage High School, Howell went to Oregon State, where he was expected to play a vital role on the Beavers. Unfortunately, Howell suffered a devastating shoulder injury during his sophomore season that put his baseball future in doubt. Howell suffered a torn right labrum while weightlifting in 2013. That injury ended his career at Oregon State.
In 2014, Howell headed home in an attempt to get back to Division I baseball. He suited up for Chabot College in 2014 and hit .292 with eight homers. That was enough to pique the interest of the Nevada Wolfpack and Howell returned to Division I baseball in 2015 with UNR. Howell dominated in his one season with Nevada. He hit 17 homers and walked 36 times in 56 games and posted a 1063 OPS. Howell's big season caught the A's attention and his hometown team grabbed Howell with their 15th pick.
Shortly after signing, Howell was assigned to the short-season Vermont Lake Monsters' roster. Howell has had a bit of a slow start to his professional career, batting .197 in 42 games. He has flashed his power, however, hitting four homeruns. Howell may be started to find his way at the plate, as well. His best month of the season has been August.
Donald Moore spoke with Howell during a late July Vermont roadtrip in upstate New York.
Donald Moore: Hi Ryan, how is everything going for you this season?
Ryan Howell: It's going good. I mean I'm off to a slow start, but I have just got to work hard and enjoy the summer.
DM: What are your goals for this year?
RH: Just putting together good at-bats and get as good as I can for next year.
DM: What do you feel is your greatest strength as a ball player?
RH: I have always been know for being a hitter for sure. My defense actually has been coming around a lot better than I thought it would, but definitely my bat.
DM: What would you'd like to improve on?
RH: Consistency at the plate. Having good at-bats more often instead of giving away bats here and there.
DM: How are you adjusting to professional baseball?
RH: Slowly. It's a big step, for sure. I'm always the first one to show up at the field and always the last one to leave. I'm just working hard on the tee in the cages and doing everything to get better everyday.
DM: What is the best thing about being a pro athlete?
RH: I don't know how to answer that question, but it has been a dream come true. It's always something I wanted to do since I was a little kid, so it's satisfying and I love everything about it.
DM: Any pre-game routines?
RH: Not too much. I'm not really superstitious. I do more routines during the game, like pre-pitch routines and stuff like that, but before the game just get loose, warm up, take my swings and get ready to play.
DM: Any hobbies?
RH: Hunting, fishing, anything outdoors really.
DM: Favorite baseball team growing up?
RH: The Oakland A's.
DM: If there is one person who taught you the most about baseball, who would that be?
RH: My father growing up and then my coach Steve Friend in college. He's has had a huge impact in my life and I strive to be like him everyday.
DM: Craziest thing you have ever seen on a baseball diamond?
RH: Mikey White's home run that was 20 feet foul and they called it fair. That was pretty nuts.
DM: Where do you see yourself regarding your baseball career in the future?
RH: Hopefully in the big leagues. The road never stops.
DM: Thank you so much for your time and the best of luck to you and your career.
RH: Thank you very much.