Oakland Prospect Q&A: Matt Sulentic, OF

After starring during his first professional season for Vancouver, Matt Sulentic was expected to post big numbers at Low-A Kane County this season. Sulentic struggled for the Cougars, however, and was sent back to Vancouver at the start of short-season baseball. Sulentic has hit much better since his return to the Northwest League. Jeremy Knight spoke with Sulentic recently.

'Excellentic' Sulentic is back for another year with the Vancouver Canadians, after struggling in Kane County. Matt recently hit three home runs in three consecutive games, and hit one grand slam in that three-game span. Batting just over .280, Jeremy Knight spoke to the 19-year-old about how it's like being back in Vancouver and more.

Jeremy Knight: You started this year with Kane County, and struggled a bit, before coming back to Vancouver. Is it a confidence booster hitting two home-runs in two games [Sulentic hit a grand-slam the next night bringing his home-run streak to three games] and performing as well as you are?

Matt Sulentic: I guess so, yeah. It's nice to come out and play well, no matter where you're at.

JK: Is it tougher hitting here at Nat Bailey where the fences are so deep and high than in the Midwest League where some fences are closer in?

MS: I don't think there's a whole lot of difference. Obviously the ball doesn't fly as well here as it does in some other parks, but there's always things that play to the hitter's advantage. I'd say it's pretty much six or one-half dozen of the other. Some places are good, some places are bad.

JK: What was going through your head when you hit the homer today? [After Vancouver's 7-2 win over Yakima August 5th]

MS: I was happy. I was happy I made solid contact and helped my team seal the deal today.

JK: During the five-game losing streak, and you were performing so well, was that better than say if the team was on a 10-game rampage and you were batting 0-4 every night?

MS: No, definitely not. Winning kind of smooths everything over no matter what it is. Losing, no matter how well you're doing, puts a damper on things. In the short run it might be good to have a few good at-bats, but nothing substitutes winning.

JK: You were a high pick in last year's draft, were you planning on going to college if you weren't a high pick? Or were you planning on entering the minors no matter where you got drafted?

MS: Obviously I was hoping to get drafted, and start my professional career. If it didn't happen I was going to go to Texas A&M and go there to play, but it was really a no-brainer for me.

JK: You're not the MVP of this league, nor anywhere near the worst player, but being a former high school triple crown winner is it tough not being able to carry all the success from your past into the present?

MS: No, I think it's just part of the transition from high school to pro ball, it's tough. You know, I played well last year so I think I've proven I can play at this level, but it's just having to do it on a consistent basis.

JK: Was the transition from metal to wooden bats harder than you had thought last year?

MS: No.

Writer's Bio
Jeremy Knight is known as Canada's wonderkid of sports reporting. He covers CFL football, college baseball and minor league hockey for The Roadkill Sports Blog, and pro baseball for Notes From The Nat and Scout.com ... when he's not in detention.

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