Oakland A's Prospect Q&A: Stephen Parker, IF

With the Oakland A's first-round pick Grant Green and fourth-round pick Max Stassi signing late, and third-round pick Justin Marks battling a groin injury, fifth-round pick Stephen Parker has been the highest A's 2009 draft pick to get significant playing time this season. David Malamut caught-up with Parker over the weekend.

The Oakland A's selected BYU third baseman Stephen Parker with their fifth-round pick in 2009, and they wasted little time putting Parker into the fire. After only three games with the A's Rookie League team, Parker was sent to one of the A's full-season affiliates, Low-A Kane County.

Parker has had his ups-and-downs offensively with the Cougars. In 63 games, he has a .232 average with five homeruns and 36 RBIs. In addition to learning about playing professional baseball, Parker has had to adjust to a new defensive position. With Michael Spina manning third base for the Cougars, Parker has found a home at first with Kane County.

David Malamut spoke with Parker over the weekend...

David Malamut: How do you feel physically at this point in the season?

Stephen Parker: I feel great. I feel good, healthy.

DM: What's your mentality at the plate?

SP: I try to stay within myself not do too much. I look for base hits up the middle, and am not trying to do too much with the pitch. I never think of taking it deep. I try to just think of line drives up the middle. Homeruns come.

DM: How has the transition been to first base from third base?

SP: It's been fine. I'm feeling more comfortable with it everyday. It's been good so far.

DM: What did you learn from playing at American Fork HS?

SP: I learned a lot. I had great coaches. I became a better hitter in high school and I took it into college and now into pro ball.

DM: How was college at BYU?

SP: It was great. I loved it. I had a great coaching staff that taught me what I needed to know to take my game to the next level.

DM: How much did you learn from BYU coach Vance Law?

SP: I learned a lot. Him being an infielder and him playing professional baseball, he definitely taught me a lot.

DM: What advice did he give you when you decided to sign with Oakland?

SP: Play hard and keep doing the things I did in college and take the coaches' advice and keep grinding.

DM: What did you learn on the field at BYU?

SP: More of being a complete player and trying to have a better approach at the plate. Overall, I became a better player.

DM: You've played 115 games this year between BYU and the pros. Is that the most you've played in a year?

SP: Yeah definitely.

DM: Has that taken its toll on you mentally?

SP: You've got to take it one at-bat and one game at a time. If you have a bad day, you can't think about it the next day, so you've really got to focus on taking it one at-bat at a time.

DM: Are you going back to finish your degree and what was your major?

SP: Yeah eventually I will. I was Exercise Science.

DM: How was being scouted?

SP: It was good. Playing my season finishing my junior year, it was good knowing I had a chance to play pro ball.

DM: How was draft day?

SP: Stressful. I was at my parents house and I watched it online.

DM: What were your thoughts when you played your first pro games in Arizona?

SP: I was excited and a little nervous but the nerves passed and it was great.

DM: How was the transition after the draft to wood bats?

SP: It's definitely a little different type of swing and a different type of feel. You definitely have to get used to it, it took a few games to get used to it. I had used it before in the college summer league in New England.

DM: What are your thoughts on the Midwest League?

SP: It's a great league a great place to play. I love Kane County, great stadium, good coaches great place to be.

DM: Your average has gone up each month as a pro. What kind of adjustments have you made in your approach and your swing?

SP: I have adjusted to better pitching by trying to stay within my own swing and trying not to do too much.

DM: If you were not playing baseball what would you be doing?

SP: Finishing my degree and possibly going to dental school.

DM: What is your off-season like, training-wise?

SP: I have worked hard. I like to train hard. I like to get in the weight room and definitely do a lot of running. Conditioning is a big part of staying healthy. I work on conditioning my body for each part of baseball.

DM: In the off-season what other things do you like to do besides baseball?

SP: I like to just hang out with my friends and go up into the mountains to ski and snowboard.

DM: Top 5 artists in your iPod?

SP: I listen to a lot of different stuff. I like the Beatles. I like hip hop. I don't like country that much. I couldn't really do top five. I wouldn't know where to start.

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