Prospect Q&A: Mike Massaro, OF

At 34-22, the Kane County Cougars have been the best team in the Oakland A's system thus far this season. The Cougars struggled on offense in 2005, but scoring runs has not been a problem for Kane County in 2006. Cougars lead-off hitter Mike Massaro has been a big part of the Cougars' offensive resurgence this season. Jennifer Harasek caught up with Massaro over the weekend for a quick Q&A.


Before being drafted by the Oakland A's in the 13th round of the 2005 draft, Mike Massaro was probably best known for having the same name as the ESPN NASCAR reporter. However, Massaro began to make a name for himself as a table-setter with Vancouver last season, scoring 35 runs in 58 games for a Canadians ballclub that often struggled to score.

This season, Massaro is at the head of a high scoring offense. The Kane County Cougars are averaging better than five runs a game through 56 games. One of the reasons has been the play of Massaro, who has manned the lead-off spot for the majority of the Cougars games this season.

Despite missing nearly three weeks with a broken thumb, Massaro has appeared in 40 contests and is hitting .276 with a .360 OBP. He has scored 32 runs in 40 games and walked 22 times against 24 strikeouts. In addition, Massaro has played a solid centerfield.

Jennifer Harasek caught up with Massaro during the Cougars most recent homestand to talk about the season, being drafted out of a lesser-known baseball school (Colorado State, Pueblo) and more...

The Interview

Jennifer Harasek: Has anything surprised you about professional baseball?

Mike Massaro: We've always heard that it's a real grind - and going through it you really realize how much of a grind it is playing every day. You're always on the go, always doing something. It's really not surprising, but it's probably the most difficult thing to get used to.

JH: What was your first season in Vancouver like?

MM: It was new. It was a different experience, because coming out of college, you didn't play every day. It was fun though. It was a good learning experience for the years to come.

JH: Is there an aspect of your game that you would most like to improve this season?

MM: Probably just my mental approach. If I don't have a good game, not to beat myself up... just to say tomorrow is a new day and work harder the next day to get better.

JH: Do you prefer to be a lead-off hitter?

MM: Yes, that's what I like to do because I don't have a lot of power, so I'm a guy that likes to run and get on base for the guys behind me.

JH: Was it difficult to get noticed by scouts in college coming from a non-traditional baseball school like Colorado State?

MM: Yeah. In Colorado, the weather isn't always good so we don't play year round. Because of that, not a lot of scouts come out. The guy that drafted me, Jeremy Schied, took a couple guys from our school the year before. So through them, that's how he saw me. I got lucky.

JH: When you attempt to steal a base, does Kane County manager Aaron Nieckula give you the green light to steal when you want to or do you wait for his sign?

MM: We usually have the green light until Nieckula takes it off.

JH: Is there a player you model your game after?

MM: Not in particular.
Anthony Recker: Ichiro!!! (laughter)
MM: That's what everybody says! Everyone says I look like Ichiro when I hit, but I don't know. I don't really model myself after him.

JH: Who was your favorite player as a kid? Your favorite team?

MM: David Justice was my favorite player, so I loved the Braves, and then he went to the Indians so I liked them. Then he went to the Yankees so I liked them, and then to the A's so I liked them. Wherever he went - I liked that team.

JH: Is your hand back to 100%?

MM: Yes, the thumb is good.

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