Oakland A's Prospect Q&A: Dusty Coleman, SS

OAKLAND - It has been almost exactly one year since Dusty Coleman came to terms on a contract with the Oakland A's. Coleman was a 28th round pick of the A's out of Wichita State last season, but the draft-eligible sophomore convinced the A's to go over-slot to sign him with an impressive showing at the 2008 Cape Cod League. We spoke to Coleman about his first year in pro ball and more on Monday.

For the Oakland A's High-A and Triple-A affiliates in Stockton and Sacramento, respectively, the major leagues are just around the corner, literally. Dusty Coleman and his Stockton Ports teammates got a reminder of how close they are to the big leagues on Monday when they visited their parent club at the Oakland Coliseum. On the current A's squad are two members of the 2008 Stockton Ports' team (Brett Anderson and Trevor Cahill), so the current Ports know how quickly their addresses can change from Banner Island Ballpark to the Coliseum.

For now, however, Coleman is excited about the opportunities presented to him at Banner Island. The shortstop visited Oakland only a day after arriving in Northern California, having received a promotion from Low-A Kane County to Stockton over the weekend. Coleman has made a quick strong impression on his new team, going 2-4 with three runs scored in his first game and collecting a walk-off hit in his second contest, which came on Tuesday.

Coleman is hopeful that a change of scenery will get him back into the groove that he was in at the beginning of the season. Despite playing in the pitcher-friendly Midwest League, Coleman excelled during his first two months with Kane County, posting OPSs of 959 and 933 in April and May, respectively. He slumped in June and July, however, and finished his time with the Cougars with a 760 OPS in 93 games.

Despite the slump, the A's are high on Coleman, who they invested six-figures in after last year's draft. The athletic middle infielder has shown a combination of power and speed in his young career, collecting 32 extra-base hits and 18 stolen bases with the Cougars. He has also flashed good range and a strong arm at short.

We spoke to Coleman on Monday as he watched the A's take batting practice about his time in Kane County, his goals for the rest of the season, his preparation for next year and more...

OaklandClubhouse: Congratulations on the promotion and a good first game [on Sunday] with the club.

Dusty Coleman: Thanks very much. I was definitely excited to be here and get off to a good start.

OC: When did you get the word that you were moving up?

DC: I got it on Friday during the seventh inning of the game. They pulled me out of the game and told me that I was moving up, so it was pretty exciting.

OC: What was it like to pack up all of your stuff and move to another city midseason like that for the first time?

DC: It was a little hectic knowing that I only had with me the stuff I had brought for the roadtrip. I knew that when I got up here, I'd be a little limited on clothes and stuff, but I was still extremely excited.

OC: You guys got off to a great start to the season in Kane County, but the team was struggling lately. Was that a result of the grind of the season, do you think?

DC: Yeah, I think so. We had a lot of new personnel and we had some bad luck with injuries. Guys were going down left and right, so everyone was just kind of struggling to get back healthy. Maybe that had an effect, maybe not, but it's definitely good to be here and have a new start somewhere else.

OC: With this being your first full pro season, have you felt worn down at all or does your body still feel pretty good despite playing all of these games?

DC: My body feels pretty good still. Definitely better than I expected. It's probably more of a mental grind than a physical one. You have to get out there everyday and prepare for the game and all that sort of stuff. That is probably the harder part.

OC: Is there stuff that you think you've learned about preparing for the season that you'll change from last off-season, or are you going to stick with your preparation schedule from last off-season?

DC: I'm sure there will be definitely some new stuff that I will work on this off-season. Trying to work more on my mental game and talk to other guys about what they do. I have learned that routines are huge and if you stick to them, you'll feel more prepared everyday.

OC: You guys did a lot of running in Kane County. Did you have a green light or was it a case-by-case basis?

DC: No, it was more of a case-by-case basis. Scar [Steve Scarsone] the manager, he was pretty open about giving guys the green light. Pretty much if we got on there and it was the situation where we had a green light, we were running. It was fun.

OC: You've mostly been playing shortstop this season, but do you feel comfortable if you had to play at second or third?

DC: Yeah, I've played all of the infield positions. I've obviously played mostly short lately, but I feel like I'd be comfortable that if I played anywhere in the infield, I'd do fine.

OC: What's your goal for the rest of the season?

DC: My goal is to definitely be more consistent at the plate. Hit for more average and with some power. But also have a good strike-out-to-walk ratio and continue to learn on defense and get better.

OC: How was the All-Star game experience for you?

DC: It was very fun. Definitely having six other guys from the team with me was great and getting to play with all of the great players in the rest of the league was a great experience.

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