A's Prospect Interview: Matt Sulentic

Matt Sulentic is a name already on the rise at the lower levels of the A's farm system. After being drafted out of high school with the organization's third-round pick last June, the outfielder blistered Northwest League pitching to the tune of a .354 average and .409 on-base percentage in 38 games.

The 18-year-old was drafted from Hillcrest High School in Dallas, Texas, and reported to short-season, Class-A Vancouver later that month. The early portion of his young career took off in a hurry, with Sulentic recording hitting streaks of nine and seven games with the Canadians.

Promoted to Class Mid-A Kane County during the first week in August, Sulentic has gone 5-for-19 with a double and four walks through his first six games with the Cougars.

Oakland Clubhouse: You're off to such a great start. Coming out of high school as you did, had you had any experience in Wooden Bat League's until now?

Matt Sulentic: No, I never really played in them. I played in a couple of tournaments with some summer team's that I was on in high school, but never consistently before.

OC: How easy was the transition once you got to Vancouver?

Sulentic: It's kind of the same thing between the wooden bat and the aluminum bat. You have to hit the ball with the barrel to get a good outcome. It's relatively similar.

OC: You played right field exclusively with the Vancouver team, now you've been used only in left with the Cougars. Is there really a difference that you can tell?

Sulentic: It's a little different look out there, but similar for the most part. I'm doing a lot of work with the coaches, who are helping me get better out there every day. It's been good so far.

OC: What can you tell us about your throwing arm, range, etc.?

Sulentic: I never had a set position in high school, so I moved around a lot. We didn't have a team full of set positions. We were more of a scrappy team that played all over the place. Now that they've got me set in the outfield, I've been doing a lot of work out there and trying to improve all the time. Range-wise, I'm always working on my routes. As far as throwing is concerned, we do lots of long toss every day.

OC: What type of hitter would you label yourself as?

Sulentic: I don't really classify myself as one thing too much. I just try to square the ball as much as possible. When I get the chance, drive the ball, whether that be a home run or a double, or a single. I try to do the best I can with the pitch that's thrown and hopefully have success with it.

OC: Growing up in Texas, was there anyone at the major league level that you wanted to imitate?

Sulentic: Definitely. One guy I've always tried to model myself after is Derek Jeter, because of the way he conducts himself both on and off the field. He's very professional all the time and plays the game hard. I've always admired that about him and tried to imitate that.

OC: How much do the A's value professionalism away from the field?

Sulentic: It's huge. You can look around the organization and see the type of guys we have are high-class people, all throughout the franchise. Everyone I've met and played with so far have met that mold. The A's are high on good people.

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