Coleman Not Looking Over His Shoulder

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA - The 2008 baseball season was a blur for Kane County's all-star shortstop Dusty Coleman. He would open as a draft-eligible sophomore at Wichita State University, continue in the Cape Cod Summer League and finish north of the border playing for the Oakland A's short-season affiliate in Vancouver, British Columbia.

So it's been nice for the former 28th-round draft pick to settle in as the Cougars' starting shortstop in the Midwest League, his first full season of professional ball. As Kane County nears the end of the season's first half, Coleman was hitting .272 with eight homers and 39 RBIs. He's added 13 stolen bases to go along with an OPS of 837.

Oakland can't ask more from a 28th-round pick who nearly didn't sign at all.

"I'm very happy with how the first half has gone with me," said Dusty Coleman, who will represent the Cougars in the upcoming Midwest League All-Star Game. "I've felt comfortable in the box the entire time and my swing has felt great.

"I'm trying to become a more consistent hitter, cutting down on the strikeouts and getting the walks up. I always try to get a 10 percent walk-ratio and I've done a pretty good job at that."

Needless to say, Coleman has no regrets over his decision to sign with the team that drafted him midway through the 2008 amateur draft.

Instead of returning to Wichita State for his junior season, Coleman inked for $675,000, the equivalent of a second-round pick.

He parlayed a strong summer campaign with the Bourne Braves of the Cape Cod League into an August signing with the A's.

"I could have gone back and played college ball," he said. "I was very close to doing that and had that mindset the whole time.

"Towards the end of my summer season, Oakland came at me pretty hard. I started feeling that it was a good situation. Oakland put some investment in me, was going to give me the time to develop and be a great ballplayer. I went with my gut feeling and where God was leading me – that was playing pro ball."

It was during his summer on the Cape that Coleman played against fellow shortstop Grant Green of the Chatham A's, Oakland's first-round selection in this year's draft.

As a player in the lower levels of Oakland's minor league system, it would be easy for Coleman to start looking over his shoulder at the USC standout. But that's not his style.

"I played three or four games against him and he's a really good hitter," Coleman said. "It looks like he's got some great action at short. He seems like the real deal. I'm sure he will help the organization."

On the other hand, if Green signs and begins his pro career at Kane County, it could mean a promotion is in the cards for Coleman.

"I guess that's what I'm hoping for, getting to the next level," he said. "It was a good decision by the A's; Grant's a great player."

Coleman's also not spending much time worrying about his next step, especially with a first-half title at stake and next week's All-Star game in Clinton.

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