Oakland A's Prospect Q&A: Tom Everidge, IF

It has been a long-time coming, but after years of quietly putting up solid numbers at every level of the Oakland A's organization, Tom Everidge is finally in Triple-A, and he is making a big impact. The big right-hander was named the Pacific Coast League's Player of the Week on Monday and is crushing PCL pitching. We spoke to the Sonoma native on Saturday...

It hasn't been a quick road for Tom Everidge, but the end of the journey is finally in sight for the Sonoma State alum. The Oakland A's 2004 10th round pick has been moved through the system at a leisurely pace by the A's, despite hitting at least 20 homeruns in 2006, 2007 and 2008 and leading the Texas League in RBIs in 2008 with 115.

Despite his All-Star performance with the Double-A Midland Rockhounds last season, Everidge was forced to start the 2009 season back in Midland thanks to a log-jam in the upper-levels at first-base, which was caused by the A's off-season acquisitions of Jason Giambi and Nomar Garciaparra. Everidge didn't pout about staying at Double-A. In fact, he improved on his 2008 numbers, batting .306 with an 869 OPS in 55 games for the Rockhounds. Everidge also added versatility defensively, appearing in a significant number of games at third base for the first time in his career.

In early June, Everidge finally got the call to Triple-A. After a slow first week, Everidge got red-hot at the plate, and he hasn't looked back. He currently leads the River Cats with a .345 average. In 36 games, he has seven homeruns, 26 RBIs and a 976 OPS. He is currently working on a six-game hitting streak, during which he has driven-in six runs for the first-place River Cats.

We spoke to Everidge on Saturday about his journey to Triple-A, his approach at the plate, learning to play third base and more...

OaklandClubhouse: Congratulations on getting up to Triple-A and swinging the bat so well. What is it like to be back here playing in front of friends and family after being in Texas for so long?

Tom Everidge: It's really good. Coming back to California from Texas, period, is great, but getting to see all of your family and friends is awesome. I've got someone every day rooting me on and it feels good.

OC: Obviously your numbers look great, but was it a tough jump from Double-A to Triple-A? Did you have to make any adjustments?

TE: No, I think just staying positive and trying not to do too much really helped out. I had to trust that what I had been doing down there was going to work up here.

OC: You put together quite a stretch with Midland, hitting .300 this season and leading the Texas League in RBIs last year. Were there adjustments that you made in Midland that helped you improve?

TE: I think I used to just focus on trying to have good at-bats rather than saying if there is a good pitch to hit that I can put in play hard, I should hit it. Now I try to go with that rather than waiting on one particular pitch or just trying to hit homeruns. I think just trying to hit balls hard was the best adjustment I made.

OC: After last year, was it frustrating to have to start out with Midland again this year after putting up those kind of numbers?

TE: Yeah, it was a little disheartening, but I understood what was going on. I got to go down there and play third, so I looked at it as an opportunity to take on a new challenge. I had a good time with it.

OC: How do you feel defensively right now, both at third and at first?

TE: I feel good. I played winter ball last year and worked on first a lot and I felt a lot more comfortable there. Getting to play third everyday, it was like there was something new and exciting everyday. Everyday I felt a little better there.

OC: Had you played much in college at third or is this relatively new?

TE: I had played some at third in college and some in summer ball in college, but never in pro ball. At first it was a little nerve-racking and I had to tell myself, ‘okay, you just have to field the balls the same way and then throw it.' After awhile, it was fun.

OC: Like that first line-drive right at your head?

TE: [laughs] Yeah, you realize pretty quickly that the ball gets down there really fast.

OC: Now that you are finally up here in Triple-A and are swinging the bat well, do you feel like you are finally get close to that end goal of playing in the major leagues after all of these years?

TE: Yeah, it's kind of nice. I have always really just wanted to get here. I waited patiently and when I finally got my chance, I was definitely glad to come up here and just show that I could play here.


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