In 2014, the Oakland A's selected right-hander Branden Kelliher in the eighth-round out of Lake Stevens High School in Washington. The hard-throwing Kelliher spent the past two seasons in the Arizona Rookie League before making his short-season debut with the Vermont Lake Monsters in 2016.
Kelliher has been working on making significant mechanical adjustments for the past two seasons, as the A's look to help Kelliher maximize his potential. Donald Moore spoke with Kelliher about his progress and his thoughts on his 2016 campaign during a recent Lake Monsters' roadtrip to upstate New York.
Donald Moore: Hi Branden, how is everything going for you so far this year?
Branden Kelliher: It's going well and I'm getting better.
DM: What are your goals for this season?
BK: Throw strikes. Last year year I kind of walked a lot of guys. This year I'm trying to focus in and not over throw everything.
DM: What do you feel is your greatest strength as a ballplayer?
BK: I'd say right now, being able to command my two seam fastball and get down on a hitters and get ground balls.That is my greatest strength right now.
DM: What would you'd like to improve on?
BK: I'd like to improve on my off speed a little bit. It has been pretty good but my curveball is kind of struggling. I kind of think I need to get better at that.
DM: What is the best thing about being a professional athlete?
BK: I want to say the team. The guys are great and fun to be around. It's a good time..
DM: What is the hardest thing about being a pro?
BK: Being able to deal with all the the tough situations you can handle mentally. Being able to come in day-in, day-out and handle adversity.
DM: Any pre-game routines?
BK- I always drink a Red Bull. I got to get some energy in me and keep the energy level up.
DM: Any hobbies?
BK: I used to ski and snowboard, but I really don't do that now, because of risk of injury. So far it's pretty much baseball and that's it.
DM: Favorite team growing up?
BK: Always been the Seattle Mariners. I'm from Seattle.
DM: If there is one person who taught you the most about baseball, who would that be?
BK: My brother. I grew up watching him and pretty much idolized him and he taught me a lot. And it's really shown.
DM: Craziest thing you have ever seen on a baseball diamond?
BK: When I was in little league. I hit a ball back at the pitcher and it hit him in the head and he had to go to the the hospital. It was the saddest, craziest thing I've ever seen on a baseball field. He turned out to be okay.
DM: Any off-season plans?
BK: Just get in shape and get ready for the next year.
DM: Thank you so much for your time and the best of luck to you and your career.
BK: Thank you.