Oakland A's Prospect Q&A: Mike Massaro, OF

After two seasons with the Low-A Kane County Cougars, Mike Massaro has been a man on the move this season. He has appeared in games at three different levels for the Oakland A's in 2008, seeing time in Double-A Midland, Triple-A Sacramento and now High-A Stockton. Massaro has hit well at all three levels and is enjoying the experience of learning the game from competing at all three levels.

After being selected in the 13th round of the 2005 draft out of Colorado State-Pueblo University, Mike Massaro spent the first two-plus years of his professional career moving along at a traditional pace. He spent the 2005 season with short-season A Vancouver and was promoted to Low-A Kane County in 2006. After an injury shortened his 2006 season, Massaro returned to Kane County in 2007, where he put together an All-Star year for the Cougars. In 129 games, he hit .286 with a .362 OBP.

At the start of this season, it was expected that Massaro would begin the year with High-A Stockton. However, injuries created a void in the Midland Rockhounds' roster, so the A's sent the 24-year-old to the Texas League. Despite skipping a level, Massaro held his own with the Rockhounds, batting .268 in 24 games.

After a few players returned from injury, Massaro was sent to Stockton, but it wasn't long before he was summoned to Triple-A Sacramento. There Massaro competed against mostly older players and he made his time count when he got onto the field, batting .280 with four extra-base hits in 15 games for the River Cats.

Massaro has been back with Stockton for the past few weeks, and he has quickly established himself as one of the Ports most productive hitters. In 25 games for Stockton this season, Massaro is batting an even .400 with 14 RBIs and a 926 OPS in 90 at-bats. Over his last 10 games with Stockton, he has hit .459 with five doubles, five RBIs and four walks.

We spoke to the versatile outfielder last weekend about his travels through the A's system, his success this season and more…

OaklandClubhouse: You've played at three different levels this season and have hit pretty well at all three stops. What have you learned from playing up in Triple-A and in the Texas League?

Massaro hit .280 for Sacramento.
Mike Massaro: I've learned a lot actually, just being around older guys and getting to see the game through the eyes of some of these guys who have been in the major leagues. Just being up there, even if you don't play, you learn a lot just from watching. But for getting to play as much as I did, it's helped me out a lot with my confidence and everything that goes with being out there and playing the game the right way.

OC: Has it slowed the game down for you here [in High-A] to have played the game at the speed they play at in Triple-A and Double-A?

MM: I think it has. I always helps to be at the higher levels and if you come back, it definitely helps to slow the game down and to see the game differently in different situations because you have been able to experience more.

OC: You were banged up a bit when you were with Kane County, especially in 2006. Have you been healthy this entire season? Has that helped?

MM: I have. Being healthy definitely helps. You can just play pain free and not worry about little nagging injuries getting in the way.

OC: What do you feel your role in the line-up is? Are you a guy who is looking to hit behind runners and get guys over, or do you take a different approach?

MM: Probably getting guys over. The small-ball stuff is probably the biggest part of my game. Just doing the little things right to help the team win because I am not going to hit a lot of homeruns or anything like that power-wise. I have just got to do the little things that help the team win.

OC: Is there a position in the outfield that you are most comfortable in?

MM: Center is my favorite, but I have played all three. I've played all three, so it doesn't matter. As long as I am out there, it's all good to me.

OC: Has it been weird to have three different hitting coaches this season, or are they pretty consistent at each level with what they are telling you?

MM: They are all pretty consistent. You know, it's nice to get a little bit of information from each of them. That helps you out even more. But overall, they have been pretty consistent, telling me that I don't have to change much and to just keep going the way that I am going.

OC: Do you get a sense from the organization what they are hoping to get from you when you are moved to each level?

MM: I don't really know. I think they know that I can play and obviously I don't think that they are going to put me in a position where they think that I am going to fail. It is a pretty good feeling to know that they think I can play at any level and that I have been proving to them that I can.

OC: When you had that first at-bat at Triple-A and you realized that you were only a step away from the big leagues at that point, what was that feeling like for you?

MM: I was very nervous, but I was very excited at the same time. Like you said, you are facing guys who have been there [in the big leagues] and you are just one step away, so you watch the way that they prepare and try to learn the things that you need to do to get yourself there, and hopefully everything works out.

OC: You've now been in three different clubhouses this season. What are the different teams like?

MM: They were all really welcoming to me, which was awesome. It just makes that transition so much easier. They are all pretty much the same, you know? They are all pretty laid-back and everyone just pretty much goes about his business. You know what you have to do to get the job done and everyone just works on getting those things done.


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