It has been a smooth transition from college to the pros for Nate Mondou. One of the ACC's top hitters as a sophomore in 2015, Mondou hit .302 with a .383 OBP as a junior and landed with the Oakland A's as a 13th-round pick this season.
After one game in the Arizona Rookie League, Mondou joined the Vermont Lake Monsters. With Vermont, Mondou has been one of the league's top hitters, posting a .326 average in 49 games through Wednesday. He ranks second in the league in batting. His .402 OBP is tops on the Vermont team and fifth in the league.
Mondou was one of three Vermont position players to start in the New York-Penn League All-Star game. The Washington native spoke with Donald Moore about his first season in professional baseball and more.
Donald Moore: Hi Nate, how is everything going for you so far this season?
Nate Mondou: It's going well. It's been a fun year overall from college and getting drafted by the Oakland A's, meeting all the guys here. It's been a really fun experience and I can't complain too much.
DM: What are your goals for this year?
NM: Definitely to learn as much as possible. First year in the organization and trying to figure it out on how everything works. Everyone has been really great about taking things slow, teaching us what we need to know. I have been soaking it up as much as possible with the guys around me.
DM: What do you feel is your greatest strength as a ballplayer?
NM: I think definitely hitting is a strength of mine and my drive and motivation to get better everyday. I try to work as hard as I can and take full advantage of the opportunity.
DM: What would you'd like to improve on?
NM: Definitely fielding wise I'm looking to improve a little bit and get extra reps. Getting the fielding solidified. That is definitely one of my goals for this season.
DM: How are you acclimating to professional baseball?
NM: Pretty good. I have a great host family in Vermont, living on the road is a little different, but I'm getting used to it and it's been fun traveling with all the guys. Like I said, we have a really good group of guys here so it's been a fun experience so far.
DM: What is the best thing about being a professional athlete?
NM: Being able to play the game you love everyday, especially as a job that you get paid to do, and it is something I loved to do since I was a little kid. That is the best part, I think, and a dream come true.
DM: What is the hardest thing about being a pro?
NM: Playing everyday is definitely a grind, but you got to love it, and just grind everything out and it will all come together in the end.
DM: Any pre-game routines?
NM: Nothing specifically. I try to get as much work in as I can before the game, whether it be hitting or defensive work. I try to maximize the time here and get as much out of it as possible.
DM: Any hobbies?
NM: Yes. I do a lot of fishing in my free time. I haven't been able to get much fishing time out here, but looking to do that soon.
DM: Favorite baseball team growing up?
NM: The Mariners, a little A.L. West rivalry [with the A's]. I grew up in the Seattle area in little Lake Tapps, Washington, south of Seattle so I grew up watching all the great Mariners players.
DM: If there is one person who taught you the most about baseball, who would that be?
NM: My dad definitely. He's the first person to introduce me into the game, and he was my coach growing up for the most part. He was always there and he never missed a game, and he was never afraid to tell me the truth, good or bad, even If it was something I didn't want to hear. He pretty much would give me constructive criticism. It's been great having him by my side, and my mom was just as supportive, too. It's been great.
DM: Craziest thing you ever seen on a baseball diamond?
NM: Holy smokes, that's a tough one. I'll have to think about that one.
DM: Any off-season plans?
NM: Hopefully go to Instructs and then head back home and workout and get ready for upcoming season. Big plans ahead for the next couple years. Got to get the mind and body right.
DM: Thank you so much for your time and the best of luck to you and your career.
NM: Yes sir, it was a pleasure meeting you and thank you.