Miguel Mercedes has been one of the breakout prospects in the Oakland A's system this year. The powerfully built 6'4'' first-baseman from the Dominican Republic has fallen into a slump over the past week, but he is still batting .297/.347/.497 in 40 games in the pitcher-friendly New York-Penn League. Mercedes has eight homeruns, good for second in the league. He also ranks among the league's top-10 in RBI (first), hits (second-tied), total bases (third), slugging (fourth), batting average (ninth) and OPS (sixth).
Mercedes signed with the A's as a teenager in the Dominican Republic before the 2013 season. He spent one year in the Dominican Summer League before making his US debut in the Arizona Rookie League in 2014. Mercedes played two seasons in the AZL and he has improved his numbers each year as a pro. Last season, Mercedes flashed power potential, but he swung-and-missed too much for that power to have a significant impact. This year, Mercedes has cut his K-rate by more than 10% and he is hitting the ball hard to all fields.
Donald Moore recently spoke with Mercedes during a Lake Monsters' roadtrip to upstate New York.
Donald Moore: Hi Miguel, how is everything going for you so far this season?
Miguel Mercedes: Good. I think everything is going good. I'm working hard and am trying to get better.
DM: What are your goals for this year?
MM: Finish strong and have a good year. Try to move up and get out of here quickly.
DM: What do you feel is your greatest strength as a ball player?
MM: I think my attitude and power. I'm always happy and I think that is my strength. I can hit, I can run, I can catch. If I feel I don't enjoy the game, that's not good. But be happy and you'll enjoy the game.
DM: What is the worst thing about being a professional athlete?
MM: Being up early. But I try always to be a good teammate.
DM: Any pregame routines?
MM: I do soft toss, low tee with one hand, front and back hand, stretch and batting exercises. Everyday I go to home plate I feel like I'm ready when I do that.
DM: Any hobbies?
MM: Oh yeah, I play pool, golf and swimming sometimes.
DM: Favorite baseball team growing up?
MM: It has to be Oakland.
DM: Where are you originally from?
MM: I'm from the Dominican Republic.
DM: If there is one person who taught you the most about baseball, who would that be?
MM: I think it was my coach when I was little. He taught me everything about baseball.
DM: Craziest thing you have ever seen on a baseball diamond?
MM: Too many.
DM: Any off-season plans?
MM: Keep working hard, rest, keep healthy, work in gym, play baseball and that's it.
DM: Thank you for your time and the best of luck to you.
MM: Thank you.