Oakland A's Prospect Q&A: Justin Marks, SP

Things haven't gone according to script for Justin Marks, the Oakland A's second overall pick in the 2009 draft. Marks made only one appearance in 2009 before landing on the disabled list and he wound-up having surgery. This season, Marks has struggled on the mound, posting a 7.15 ERA with 21 walks and seven homers allowed in 39 innings. Marks discussed his efforts to turn the corner inside...

David Malamut: How has your season been?

Justin Marks: Definitely not what I expected. I haven't had the outings that I wanted to have so far, but on the other end I think that I'm learning a lot. It's not a huge leap from college ball to Low-A, but it's a learning experience, learning the hitters and learning to adjust to the game in a different sense. When you spend three years at a college and do things their way, which was great, I had a great time at Louisville, but it's a different time now.

It's a learning experience and I'm enjoying every minute of it. I know I'm not putting up the numbers that I should be, but I'm happy with what I'm getting out of it, and I think that, in turn, this season will turn at a certain point. I've had one good outing really, and the other ones things just didn't go my way. I let it get to me instead of just pushing through it, and trying to overcome that. I think that I've learned a lot, so I hope that the game will start to become more positive on the numbers side.

DM: What are your goals?

JM: I really don't have any goals as in I want to pitch this amount of innings, my ERA needs to be this. Goals are just I want to be comfortable out there. I want to look back at the season and say I learned something. I feel like this is a great year for learning and picking up the game of professional baseball.

DM: What do you throw?

JM: Fastball, curveball, cutter, changeup.

DM: What do you ultimately want those pitches to do?

JM: I want the fastball to run in on lefties. I want to have good arm-side action.

DM: How was draft day?

JM: It was good, exciting. It was definitely an experience I won't forget. It was definitely nerve-racking waiting around for the call or just seeing where I was going to go.

DM: What did you learn from playing at Louisville?

JM: Kind of what I'm trying to find right now, the mental side of the game. There I felt like I was really well composed. I felt like I dealt with adversity very well, and that is something that I'm trying to find right now. They advanced my skills just from three years of being in a college program, working out every day, training. They have great pitching coaches, and it's fun to be around a winning organization like that.

DM: Besides baseball what do you like to do?

JM: Hunt, fish. I'm a big outdoors guy.

DM: Top 5 artists in your iPod?

JM: I listen to something new everyday it seems like. Kings of Leon, the Features, the Black Keys. I listen to a lot of country to but no one in particular. I like the Abbott Brothers.

DM: Always a pitcher?

JM: In high school I played first base.

DM: What's your mentality on the mound?

JM: Go at them. Have good composure.

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

JM: No clue.

DM: Who was your biggest influence?

JM: Parents. The way they brought me up, things they bestowed on me.

DM: How was your off-season?

JM: Good, too long, definitely way too long with the [groin] surgery being out. I didn't get back on the field for about seven months. It was good at first. I had a little break, but then after a month and a half I was ready to get back at it. I had to wait around for another five and a half months.

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