Spring Training Prospect Q&A: Brian Stavisky

Brian Stavisky is one of the best pure hitters in the Oakland A's system. A sixth round draft choice out of the University of Notre Dame, Stavisky has hit .294 or better in three of his four professional seasons. In 2004, Stavisky won the California League MVP after hitting .343 with 19 homers. Last season, the left-handed hitter batted .316 for the Midland Rockhounds. We caught up with Stavisky at the A's-River Cats game on Thursday.

Brian Stavisky is a career .313 hitter. In three and a half professional seasons, Stavisky has posted a career 883 OPS and a .403 OBP. In each of the past two seasons, Stavisky drove in more than 80 runs and collected more than 35 doubles. As of last Thursday, Stavisky was slated to start the season at AAA-Sacramento. If he plays for the River Cats this season, it will be his first exposure to AAA baseball. Below is an interview we did with Brian before the River Cats squared off versus the Oakland A's last Thursday.

OaklandClubhouse: Do you think you'll be at AAA-Sacramento this season?

Brian Stavisky: I'm still hoping so. I've been with AAA all spring and with a few days left, I'm really hoping that I'll be here. I'm definitely excited to be here, but you never know where you'll go until they tell you for sure.

OC: What did you work on this off-season?

Brian Stavisky: I've always been a better hitter than fielder so I've worked a lot on fielding and throwing [this off-season], anything that is going to keep me in the field, and not just a DH. I worked on outfield reads and throwing, in particular.

OC: You've played a lot of left-field and some right-field. Is there one you prefer?

Brian Stavisky: I've played a lot more left-field than right-field, but either one is alright with me, as long as I'm out there in the field.

OC: How do you feel about DHing, in general?

Brian Stavisky: It's tough to get motivated for just four at-bats a game instead of being ready to play the whole game. I did it some my first year in Kane County, not as much in Modesto and then did it some more last year in Midland. Last year, it wasn't so bad because I had experienced a lot of DH. If it gets to the point where I have to be the DH a lot again, I feel like I'd be ready to handle that role. I'd rather be out in the field rather than just hitting once every couple of innings, but I'll do whatever they ask of me.

OC: You've won two straight championships, one with A-Modesto in 2004 and one with AA-Midland in 2005. Why do you think your teams have had some much success?

Brian Stavisky: It's great that we've had so many good players. Winning breeds winning. Luckily, this organization has a lot of talent. It has been great to be a part of it.

The heart of the team moved up from Modesto the year before and a lot of guys are good friends and have played together before and with manager Von Hayes moving from Modesto to Midland, a number of us got to play with him for two years. We jelled really well. Knowing each other and the friendships and camaraderie was huge. Those things are key to winning championships, as well as talent.

OC: How has Von Hayes helped you with your development?

Brian Stavisky: He helped out a lot because he played a lot of outfield and first base [during his major league career], and I haven't played much first base lately, but whenever I was working on something either at first base or in the outfield, he was really great at teaching all of those aspects. Whatever I was going through, he had experience with it, so he has been a big help to me these last couple of years.

OC: What has it been like to play with Steve Stanley both in college and with Midland last season?

Brian Stavisky: We played three years together in college, but we hadn't played together in pro ball until last year, so that was really good to play together for the whole year. It always helps when you have a closer friend on the team. It helps when you are away from home to feel comfortable.

OC: Does playing in a minor league championship series compare to appearing in the College World Series?

Brian Stavisky: It's funny because in college it is more about winning and the pride for your school. In the pros, it's more about getting better and becoming the best player you can be. It may not be as glamorous [to win a minor league championship], but I feel that they are more valuable because they are harder to earn. There are a lot more fans at the College World Series and Notre Dame is a big school with a lot of attention paid to sports, so that was fun in that sense. Both are good experiences.

OC: What was it like to win the MVP for the Cal League?

Brian Stavisky: I was kind of surprised actually. We were having such a good year – we were 90-50 – and we had so many good players – we had a guy who had 100 RBIs and another who led the league in doubles, that I figured there were too many good players for one to stand-out. I did well in a number of areas, but a number of guys did their part to contribute to the team, too, so I think it was more thanks to my teammates for getting on-base and hitting me in than my individual performance. I have to give the credit to the whole team [for that award] and I kind of accepted it on behalf of the whole team.

OC: Do you have any specific goals for this season?

Brian Stavisky: I try not to set any stats goals before the season, but hopefully I'll be at Sacramento. It's a new level and every year I've moved up a level, so my goal is to get comfortable as quick as I can and improve on what I have done so far. I want to try to see what it takes to succeed here and, perhaps, to move beyond AAA to the majors.


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