Oakland A's Prospect Q&A: Petey Paramore, C

Through Sunday, the Low-A Kane County Cougars' pitching staff sported an impressive 3.56 ERA, good for fourth in the Midwest League. One of the reasons for the success of the Cougars' staff this year has been catcher Petey Paramore, who has provided a steady presence behind the plate. David Malamut spoke to the Oakland A's 2008 third-round pick on Saturday…

When the Oakland A's took catcher Petey Paramore out of Arizona State in the third round of last year's draft, the team was as excited about his defense as it was about his switch-hitting bat. Paramore hasn't disappointed defensively since being drafted. In 50 games behind the plate, he has committed only three errors and has only four passed balls. In addition, Paramore is third in the Midwest League in catching base-runners attempting to steal, with a 39.8 caught-stealing percentage.

His time at the plate has been a bit more of a struggle this season. In 70 games, he is batting only .240 with four homeruns and 26 RBIs. On the plus side, he has walked 38 times against 41 strike-outs and sports a very respectable .352 OBP.

David Malamut caught-up with Paramore before Kane County's game on Saturday to discuss his first season in pro ball, playing in the pros and more…

David Malamut: How has your body held up so far this season?

Petey Paramore: Pretty good. I had just some bad luck stuff at the beginning of the year, just kind of the ball hitting me in the wrong spot, stuff like that. Since then I've been pretty healthy.

DM: You've taken some hard hit the last couple of days.

PP: That just kind of just comes with the territory of being a catcher. You kind of expect that to happen. There is nothing really you can do to prevent it, just learn to roll with it.

DM: What kind of conditioning do you do?

PP: It's a daily thing, not just the off-season, you've got to take it on through the season. You've got to go to the weight room three hours a day, five days a week in the off-season trying to get bigger and stronger so you can stay healthy for the season. So it's a year-round job.

DM: How difficult was the transition from High School (TX) to college ball (Arizona State)?

PP: It was just a different level of play. You have to step up. The game is a lot quicker and you are expected to make adjustments on the fly in college, kind of your talent doesn't carry you so far, and it's more production than it is projection.

DM: What did you learn in your three years at Arizona State?

PP: Everything. It is a huge time as a human being, not even a baseball player. Growing up as an adult, being more mature and obviously you learn about baseball in a way, how to conduct yourself and how to go about your daily business.

DM: What was it like playing for Team USA in 2007?

PP: It was a really cool experience, not too many people can say they have done that, putting on your country's uniform and getting to play against other countries. It really was an experience you can't compare to anything else, until you have a chance to do it. It was a complete honor.

DM: Did you play in any other countries?

PP: We played in Brazil and Holland. Both were really cool for different reasons, the difference in the sport and the way of life in both those countries is really cool to see.

DM: How was the food?

PP: The food was kind of the one thing that I wish I would've taken with me, some people enjoyed it, some people liked getting something different to eat. I like home cooking, it was something you definitely had to get used to.

DM: You were drafted by the Mets in the 2005 draft. Why did you go to college instead?

PP: There really was not an offer on the table. It was really was a no-brainer for me. It was pretty much going straight to college right after the draft for me. I pretty much knew I was going, I did not get drafted where I wanted to and they never really made an offer. Really it wasn't even a choice.

DM: What went through your mind while you had the quad injury a month into your pro career last season?

PP: It was tough, just the timing of it really sucked. It kind of really got me off to a slow start, kind of stuck in Arizona trying to get healthy, and I was trying to get out here to get some experience under my belt. It took a long time for that to get healed. It really took until the off-season for that to really not bother me anymore. The timing of it more than anything was bad.

DM: What was the Arizona Rookie League like?

PP: It's different. It is up at dawn and you go a long time, there are a lot of basics covered. There are some younger players there just trying to get their first taste of pro ball, just trying to get acclimated after being from high school or the Dominican or wherever they are from. It's a different kind of grind then it is out here.

DM: What did you think of your first Cougar experience last year?

PP: It was good, I learned a lot. I started off kind of slow and picked it up towards the end. You definitely learn a lot in that first year because there are a lot of learning curves to the wood bat and pro ball and getting used to playing every day.

DM: What did you learn last year to prep you for your first full year of pro ball?

PP: It was kind of trial and experience, kind of figure out things that work and that don't work and trying to use that small amount of time that I had here last year to kind of know what to expect coming into this year. Even though it's the first year of full pro ball playing every day, you still had a season where you were playing 60-70 college games and then you'd do a summer ball season. So you kind of have an idea of what it is going to take, but it's a little bit different when you get into the pro game.

DM: Are you going to get your college degree?

PP: Yes, I'm going to try to finish up in the next couple of years. I don't have too much left. I got three and a half years out of the way, so I figure I might as well finish.

DM: What is your major?

PP: Business and communications.

DM: In high school, you played on a summer wood bat team. What was it like to hit with wood for the first time?

PP: It was a good learning experience, kind of something that everyone needs to go through at some point. The more experience you have with wood, the easier the transition is.

DM: Who calls the pitches?

PP:I do.

DM: On the feel of how the pitcher is going or on scouting reports?

PP: A little bit of how the pitcher is going and a little bit on scouting reports. And what we know about the other hitters.

DM: How much help is a pitcher on stealing attempts?

PP: They are half of the equation. It gets pinned on both of us. It's not just me, it's not just him. As long as they give me a shot and leave the second half up to me with a realistic opportunity, then it's much appreciated.

DM: Do you call the pick off attempts?

PP: Most of those come from the bench.

DM: What is your mindset at the plate?

PP: Just to go up there and try to stay in the middle of the field, make hard contact and see the ball well. Try not to get too complicated in the box, just try to keep my mind clear, see one pitch at a time and clear the noggin. Try to hit the ball hard somewhere.

DM: What is your mindset behind the plate?

PP: Behind the plate is a little bit different. You're thinking more, trying to set up hitters and always running through the different possibilities of things that can happened and trying to anticipate ahead of time different scenarios that you might encounter, so you are more prepared when they do come.

DM: How much talking do you do to the ump?

PP: As much as need be. Some umps don't like to talk as much as others and some are really talkative. It kind of depends on the umpire and as a catcher you just kind of roll with whatever they be.

DM: When you are not catching, you still have to do some catching in the bullpen. Does that still help rest your body?

PP: It kind of just adds to the toll. There is really nothing you can do. It's part of life so you just learn to deal with it, but it does help to have a little bit of time off, at least during the game. It's just something you just got to learn to roll with.

DM: How do you think the season has gone so far for you?

PP: Not well. I haven't played the way I expect myself to play. Hopefully I can get things back on track in the second half, and start to put up some numbers that I know I'm capable of putting up that I really haven't done yet. It's been disappointing for the most part but I know I'm capable of pulling out of it.

DM: How about the team?

PP: The first half went really, really well for us. We had a real consistent team and we didn't have a lot of turnover. In the second half, we have kind of struggled of late just because we have had so many injuries and so many new faces in and out everyday, so it's hard to get a consistent lineup and feel for the team. Going in day in and day out, that makes it tough trying to put wins together as a team, when you are beside new people everyday.

DM: What was it like on Friday when you had a new pitcher come in the day before and he was starting? What did you go over with him?

PP: You just try to run with it the best you can. You just try to get a feel the second and third time around the order. You try or get an idea of what they are trying to do and you don't expect to be perfect the first couple of times out. You just kind of hope you fall into a rhythm somewhat quickly maybe his second or third start.

DM: If you didn't play baseball what would you be doing?

PP: I'd just be finishing up college, so I'd be looking for a regular job and getting ready to get married. Hopefully I'd have a good job somewhere.

DM: What's in your iPod?

PP: A little bit of everything. Mostly country and some rock and roll, and a little rap here and there from high school days. Mostly country is what I listen to.

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