Photo by Greg Bessette

Q&A with Oakland A's 2016 sixth-round pick Brandon Bailey, RHP

Oakland A's 2016 sixth-round pick Brandon Bailey is off to a strong start to his pro career. Donald Moore spoke with the Vermont Lake Monsters' right-hander.

Ten years ago, the Oakland A's used their sixth-round pick on a right-handed pitcher named Andrew Bailey. One decade later, the A's selected another Bailey with their sixth-round choice. Oakland is hoping for similar returns with former Gonzaga ace Brandon Bailey.

http://www.scout.com/player/209586-brandon-bailey?s=304

Brandon Bailey (no relation to Andrew) is off to a solid start to his pro career. Bailey had one poor outing during which he allowed five runs in two innings, but he has allowed just two runs in 14.2 innings in his other five appearances. In his last outing for the Vermont Lake Monsters, Bailey threw a career-high five innings, allowing just one hit and one walk. He has a 3.78 ERA in 16.2 innings for the AZL A's and the Vermont Lake Monsters.

http://www.scout.com/mlb/athletics/story/1678970-oakland-a-s-post-draft-... The A's selected Bailey in the sixth round of this year's draft after he put together a dominating season for the Zags. In 100.1 innings, Bailey posted a 2.42 ERA. He struck-out 125, walked only 31 and allowed just four homeruns. That season followed a strong showing at the Cape Cod League last summer, when Bailey posted a 3.03 ERA in 38.2 innings.

Bailey is listed at only 5'9'', so size has been a concern for many scouts when projecting his big league future. However, Bailey has the aggressive approach of a much bigger pitcher and he locates well to both sides of the plate. The A's plan to develop Bailey as a starter.

Donald Moore spoke with Bailey about his transition from college to the pros during a recent Vermont roadtrip to upstate New York.

The Interview

Donald Moore: How is everything going for you so far this season?

Brandon Bailey: Going well, just excited to be here in Vermont. It's been roughly two and a half weeks and I'm kind of getting used to the routine work and getting to know all the guys and the coaches and their expectations of me and finally getting into the routine of travel, so it's been good.

DM: What are your goals for this year?

BB: To try to continue to improve my skills as I develop into a pitcher. I'm getting used to pro baseball and want to continue to work on my game and all aspects of it and throw strikes, obviously. Just get adapted to the professional game. It's a little bit different than college. I want to continue to find ways to get better.

DM: What do you feel is your greatest strength as a ball player?

BB: I would say my fastball command and my ability to attack the strike zone. I may not be the tallest pitcher or biggest pitcher in the world, but I think my confidence and mound presence and the way I compose myself throughout the baseball game and attack the hitters with my stuff, I feel that is my greatest strength.

DM: What would you'd like to improve on?

BB: I would say right now my slider and really establishing that and make that the best pitch it possibly can be and really establish it as a true slider because currently now, it's kind of a slurve. Since it's in the low 80s, I want to try to get it to 84 or 85 or even 86 MPH to be a hard slider, a power slider for right-handers.  

DM: How are you acclimating to professional baseball? 

BB: I'm acclimating pretty good, just the travel is obviously a little different, long bus rides compared to flying in college and a lot more time you are at the ballpark. You get here around two o'clock, then you leave around 10 at night, so it's a little bit different. I like it because it's really structured and really detailed as far as what I am doing and what I am supposed to be working on at specific points throughout the day. It allows me to be able to continue growing my game in a lot of different areas.

DM: What is the best thing about being a professional athlete?

BB: I would say all the cool uniforms we have been able to wear. Like last night, it was suppose to be Star Wars night, but it got rained out, so they decided to move it to a different date. Before that, we had a throw back night in Vermont Lake Monster uniforms and we got to keep the cool hat and on another night, we did a Military Appreciation day, so we got cool red, white and blue uniforms. It was actually my first start at Vermont and I purchased the uniform just to have a cool keepsake. 

DM: What is the hardest thing about being a professional athlete?

BB: I would say the travel, and obviously the bus rides. Waking up at 8 o'clock in the morning and riding for fours hours and then getting ready to play a game in the afternoon, that is not easy and also the distance away from my family because I played baseball in Washington in college so that is completely way over across the country. It's a complete change of pace, with new friends, new coaches, and new teammates, so all those things together kind of makes it tough. I think you grow up fast throughout this process, as well, and become a man outside of the field and I think that is really important. I try to have a positive outlook on it. 

DM: Any pre-game routines?

BB: I have a lot of pre-game routines, but for me. I'll try to keep it short. I just like to listen to my playlist that is comprised of a few different styles of music I like to listen to and foam roll and do my J-band routines and play long toss before the game and stuff like that. It's a lot more detailed that that, but I like to simplify for you.

DM: Any hobbies? 

BB: I really like to fish and listen to music. I'm always trying to find new music to listen to. Rock n roll, hip hop, electronic and I also like to play games on my phone. I also really like to read.

DM: Favorite team growing up?

BB: I would like to say the Rockies, but it's hard to root for Colorado because they always trade away their good players. I also have grown accustomed to following the Mariners because I was in Washington for the last three years, but right now, I'd say Oakland for sure is my new favorite team.

DM: Where are you originally from?

BB: Bloomfield, Colorado. It's about 20 minutes north of Denver, 15 minutes east of Boulder, so it's smack dab in the middle between the two.

DM: If there is one person who taught you the most about baseball, who would that be?

BB: I would say Derek Hines, my coach on my high school baseball team, Colorado Premier West. I did a lot of growing up playing for three years with that organization and he taught me a lot about the game: how to compose yourself as a professional on and off the field and that the hard work that you put in when nobody is watching is really what makes you as a player. That really stuck with me. We did a lot of traveling, as well. Long bus rides. It was kind of the same atmosphere as here, so I'm kind of used to this now and it help me grow up and become the player I am today. 

DM: Craziest thing you ever saw on a baseball diamond?

BB: There has been a lot of different things, but I'd have to say, I can't think of anything right off the top of my head right now. I've played a lot of baseball games.

DM: Any off-season plans?

BB: I'm planning on going back to school for the fall, so I'm really excited about that and it's my senior year. I'm also going to Driveline baseball camp in Washington on the weekends. I'm going to Instructional league, as well. So it's up to Keith Lieppman and Gil Patterson on what they want me to do. 

DM: Thank you so much for your time and the best of luck to you career.

BB: I appreciate it, sir, so thank you very much.


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