Oakland A's Prospect Q&A: Michael Gilmartin

Michael Gilmartin, the Oakland A's 27th round draft pick in 2009, has been a regular in the Kane County infield this season. The switch-hitter is hitting .279 in June and has driven-in 24 runs in 60 games. David Malamut spoke to the Wofford alum over the weekend.

David Malamut: How has the season gone so far?

Michael Gilmartin: It's gone good. It's been fun. I get a lot of work in and get better every day. Kind of ups and downs. I just kind of stay on an even keel the whole year.

DM: What do you have to work on defensively?

MG: Slow rollers and back hands are my two main things. On slow rollers I tend to be too quick sometimes. I've just got to trust my ability and trust my arm.

DM: How about offensively?

MG: Working on getting on top of the ball, hitting hard line drives and ground balls, putting balls in gaps.

DM: What's your mentality at the plate?

MG: Less than two strikes I'm just trying to get a good pitch to hit, and hit it hard somewhere. After the ball leaves the bat you have no control of where it is going to go, so I'm just trying to put a good swing on the ball.

DM: What did you learn playing at Crepsi High?

MG: Learned a lot of stuff. They have a good coach over there. We had a pretty good team over there too. We had Trevor Plouffe, 20th overall pick for the Twins the year before me, and a kid by the name of Ollie Linton. He is in Double-A right now. So we had a pretty good group of core guys there. I just learned how to go out and have fun and just play the game the right way.

DM: What was it like playing for Wofford and UC-Irvine?

MG: It was a good experience for me. I red-shirted my freshmen year [at UC-I], so I kind of sat in the dugout and watched and just tried to soak up as much information as possible, and then at Wofford it just gave me a chance to play, and that's all that I was looking for was a chance to play, learn how to go out there every day and hopefully make a good career for myself and make a good name for myself. I didn't want to go the junior college route and sit out a year. It's a good academic school. They're not known for their sports as much, but it's a good athletic program and it gave me a chance to play and things worked out fairly well for me.

DM: How was the Cape Cod League?

MG: It was the best summer of my life so far, besides this one right now. It was fun playing against the top competition every day. Cape Cod is a really nice place to go vacation and just on our off days my host family was really nice. We went out and had a boat and we went out on the boat. It was really nice. I think I learned how to play with wood in the summer time in the Cape and all those kind of places, so it's not that big of a deal, right now. There isn't difference at all since I've been using it all the time now, once you first start transitioning from metal to wood it's kind of hard when you just start out, but once you get used to it you will be fine.

DM: How was draft day?

MG: It was good. It was a little nerve-racking. I mean, I wasn't sure exactly where I was going to go, or who I was going to go to, so it was kind of nice to just hear my name. It was kind of a relief after it all happened. I listened and then I saw it on the draft tracker on the computer. Playing in Oakland system, it's a real good system. They do a real good job in teaching their younger guys and developing players through their system. It's a real good environment to just go out there and learn and get better every day.

DM: You pitched in high school and college?

MG: Yeah I was the number two pitcher in high school and did ok there, and in college I was kind of a closer because we really didn't have anybody else, so I kind of did that a little bit. I had a fastball, changeup and slider.

DM: Did any of the pitching help by being able to know what might be coming at you as a hitter?

MG: A little bit. Basically at the plate I'm just trying to see the ball and hit the ball, and once I start thinking at the plate I've tried that a couple of times and right now the best way for me to go at the plate is ‘see the ball and hit the ball,' and I try to keep it as simple as possible. The pitching has helped me kind of think along a little bit, but I try to keep the thinking to a minimum when I'm in the box.

DM: How was Vancouver?

MG: Fun. It was the first time I've been to Canada. The people were really nice, I had good host parents there. It was a good short season experience for me, the first professional start to my career, so it was good for me.

DM: A history major?

MG: I don't actually have my degree yet. I've got to go back and get it. I have about a semester and a half left. My aunt she is a history major so she kind of influenced me on that one a little bit. Eventually one of these off-seasons I'm going to go back. After baseball I'm going to become a pro golfer. I'm ok. If I practice and play every day, I can be good, right now I haven't played in awhile so if I went out there I would probably shoot close to 100 right now.

DM: How has your experience being in the Midwest League been?

MG: It's fun so far, a lot of fun. Kane County is an excellent place to play. We get good fan support. I've never actually been to the Midwest. This is my first time in the Midwest, so going to Iowa and Illinois and all those kind of places, Dayton, Ohio, just seeing what's around in the Midwest and seeing what's here. The weather in April was a little brutal. I'm not a big cold weather guy, playing in the cold with wood bats is no fun at all. The road trips have been good so far. We haven't had any really too long ones yet. I mean Bowling Green was our furthest one and that's only like seven hours, so that's not too bad at all. It's a lot better than the Northwest League. We took a trip to Boise and our bus broke down, and we had to stay in a Walmart parking lot for the night. None of those experiences so far this year.

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

MG: Probably playing golf.

DM: Besides golf and baseball what do you like to do?

MG: That's about it, just hang out, not much. Just do whatever.

DM: Top 5 artists in your iPod?

MG: I'm a country guy, Eric Church, Jason Aldeine, Brad Paisley, Jake Owen.

DM: Who was your biggest influence growing up?

MG: I'd say my dad and my mom, my whole family. They are real close as a family, and they always used to come to my games. They taught me to do things the right way and I think it's paying off for me now in a big way.

DM: Baseball hero growing up?

MG: I like Chipper Jones. I'm a big Braves fan because he is a switch-hitter.

DM: Did you always switch-hit?

MG: I started my freshman year in high school. I would always toy around with it in the back yard a little bit. I'm a natural left hander. I'm getting used to it a lot more, there are not a whole lot of lefties around the league, so it's kind of hard to get your reps in right-handed so that stays on par with your left-hand side.

DM: This being your first full pro season what did you do last off-season to prepare?

MG: Worked out every day, did running, throwing and hitting all that kind of stuff. Just tried to get myself in the best physical condition to go out there in spring training and win a spot.

DM: How about spring training?

MG: Spring training was good. A fun experience, my first one. I talked to a couple of people so I knew what to expect a little bit. Other than that it was a good experience for me.

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