Oakland A's Prospect Q&A: Kent Walton, OF

One of the Kane County Cougars best offensive players this season has been OF Kent Walton, who was batting .297 with an 805 OPS through Monday. Coming out of BYU, the A's liked Walton so much, they drafted him two years in a row. David Malamut spoke with Walton for a Q&A.

David Malamut: How are the wrist and the thumb?

Kent Walton: The thumb is almost at full strength, and the wrist is too. I got hit by a couple of balls.

DM: How has the season gone so far?

KW: Good so far. I had a few up and downs. Been having good at-bats and a good approach at the plate.

DM: What's your mentality at the plate?

KW: I'm really just trying to get a pitch to hit. I'm not so much worried about the pitcher as they all can throw strikes to get you out, but wait for them to come to you.

DM: What are you working on defensively?

KW: I'm working on my jumps, as this is my first time out in the outfield for about a year and a half after some shoulder surgery, so I'm just trying to get all the jumps back.

DM: What happened to the shoulder?

KW: Labrum on my throwing shoulder. I dove for a ball and I dislocated it in college.

DM: What are you working on offensively?

KW: Trying to stay flat through the ball, trying to make solid contact every time. I'm not so much worried about average or power as just going up there and having good at-bats and hitting the ball hard every time.

DM: What did you learn in high school?

KW: We had a really good coach. I think he played like nine or 10 years in the minors. He taught us how to play the game right.

DM: How about playing at Brigham Young?

KW: I had a big league coach up there Vance Law. He was a smart guy and knew what he was talking about, so I just tried to learn as much as I could before I left.

DM: How was living with Steve Garvey in the summer of 2007 while playing college summer league ball in California?

KW: That was awesome. That was another big leaguer. I just think I've been blessed by being around all of these talents. I learned a lot from him about the game. We just sat around and talked. We went out and hit at times as they had a cage in their back yard. So I went and learned from him, so he would just sit there and give us lessons and stuff.

DM: How was draft day the first time?

KW: The first time it was a little bit of a disappointment as I was hoping to go a little bit higher. I was a little surprised that it was so late, but I went back to college and it all worked out. They came back and picked me the following year which was even more of a surprise.

DM: Being drafted by Oakland twice?

KW: I really liked the organization. I was sad that we didn't come to terms in the first year as I wanted to play with them. That is one of the few teams you dream of going to. They have a great minor league system and just the way they run things is awesome.

DM: Playing in Vancouver?

KW: That was fun. I've never played baseball out of the States. That was something cool. They have great fans, and it was an experience that I've carried over to this year. We had a really good hitting coach, Casey Myers, for him to teach. He was a two-time All Pac-10 [player]. He is just one of those real knowledgeable guys out there, and just to learn the game from Rick Magnate [Canadians' manager], he is a really good coach.

DM: How about the Midwest League so far?

KW: I really like it. The fans are great. Nuke [Cougars manager Aaron Nieckula] is really intense. I don't think I have ever had a coach like that. He makes us play the best we can every single day. The travel is a lot better than it was up in Vancouver. We were one of the furthest teams away so I think our shortest trip was three hours, and our longest was 15-16.

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

KW: I would be golfing. I love the game of golf. I've been playing since I was little.

DM: What besides baseball and golf do you like to do?

KW: I love playing cards with all of the guys, but I also like to hunt and fish.

DM: Biggest influence growing up?

KW: My dad. He sort of grew up from nothing. He worked at a low time job and worked up in that company and now he owns his own business and he has provided great for our family, given us all the opportunity in the world. We have never had to worry basically, and that is something that I want to take over in my life.

DM: Biggest baseball hero?

KW: Now it's got to be Steve Garvey because I grew up a Dodgers fan, even though he was a little bit before my time. Going in and living with someone like that, he was so great and I just learned from him, and I've gone back and watched film and I've learned so much from him.

DM: Top 5 artists in your iPod?

KW: Blake Shelton, Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw, George Strait, Brad Paisley

DM: Coming into your first full season, what did you do differently this past off-season?

KW: I just worked out at my old high school, it was good because I got to hit and field, and I got to work out in baseball, and I got to share some of my knowledge which is something that I look forward to in the future. I think that is something important that I think players should do.

DM: Spring training?

KW: I wasn't sure of how it was going to go because it was my first time and I heard a lot of rumors about it, but it was good going there and trying to prove myself, and trying to make the team. It was kind of like another tryout.

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