The 2016 draft wasn't the first time Luke Persico drew the attention of the Oakland A's scouting department. The A's have had Persico on their scouting radar since he was in high school at Great Oak HS in Temecula, California. Oakland selected Persico in the 12th round of this year's draft after he spent three years in the UCLA program.
As a junior with the Bruins, Persico hit a career-high .317 with a .383 OBP. Persico made his professional debut with the AZL A's, but was promoted to short-season Vermont after just one game in Rookie Ball. An August slump has dropped Persico's average from .243 to .210, but he has impressed with his defensive versatility. So far this season, Persico has logged time with the Lake Monsters at first, third and all three outfield positions. He has appeared in 41 games for Vermont and has a .210/.274/.287 line with two homers.
Donald Moore spoke with Persico during a late July roadtrip to upstate New York about the Southern California native's transition to professional baseball.
Donald Moore: Hi Luke, how is everything going for you this season?
Luke Persico: It's going well. It's been a different transition from college to pro ball, but it's been good so far.
DM: What are your goals for this year?
LP: Just to get my feet wet with the different style of ball. I want to get used to the pro lifestyle and get ready for a big year next year, the next full season.
DM: What do you feel is your greatest strength as a ballplayer?
LP: I think my ability to play multiple positions helps me out. I try to get myself in the lineup as much as I can. I think that has helped me along in my career so far.
DM: What would you'd like to improve on?
LP: My ability to hit the ball for power. I feel as though I have some height, but not quite the weight yet, so I think I want to put on some weight this off-season.
DM: How are you acclimating to professional baseball?
LP: It's been good so far. I think college summer leagues have helped a lot with swinging wood bats. It's been a pretty easy transition so far.
DM: What is the best thing about being a professional athlete?
LP: It's hard to choose one, but it's pretty exciting being able to give balls to kids and sign autographs for kids, being able to help out the kids, and kind of being on the other side for once.
DM: What is the hardest thing about being a professional baseball player?
LP: Keeping your mind right. I think the mental side of it is definitely tough, but once you can get through that and stay strong and build on it, then I think your good..
DM: Any pregame routine?
LP: Just rolling out and stretching is huge for me, but other than that, just kind of stay in shape. That's about it.
DM: Any hobbies?
LP: Not really, not at this time. I need to develop some, for sure.
DM: Favorite baseball team growing up?
LP: The Yankees actually.
DM: Where are you originally from?
LP: I'm from Los Angeles, California.
DM: If there is one person who taught you the most about baseball, who would that be?
LP: My dad, for sure.
DM: Craziest thing you ever saw on a baseball diamond?
LP: [On July 2nd] Steve Pallares skimmed the win as a position player. It was a 14- or 15-inning game, over in Staten Island. That was pretty crazy.
DM: Any off-season plans?
LP: Working out, just trying to get into shape for next season. If possible go to class if I can and go back, and try to finish my degree up [in political science]. If that doesn't work out, I'll just be working out.
DM: I want to thank you for your time and the best of luck to you and your career.
LP: Thank you