Oakland A's Prospect Q&A: A.J. Huttenlocker

One of the most valuable members of the Kane County bullpen this season is lefty A.J. Huttenlocker. In 30.2 innings, Huttenlocker has a 2.93 ERA and a 36:10 K:BB ratio. Huttenlocker was drafted by the Oakland A's in the 44th round in 2009 and he had a 2.72 ERA and a 45:4 K:BB ratio 36.1 innings for Kane County and the AZL A's that season. David Malamut spoke with the southpaw.

David Malamut: How has the season gone so far for you?

A.J. Huttenlocker: It's gone pretty good. Not too bad. I was hurt there for a while, but I'm back pitching, pitching pretty good.

DM: What do you throw?

AH: Fastball, changeup, curveball and working on a little cutter right now.

DM: What are you working on besides the cutter?

AH: Not much. Just the cutter. Just trying to throw strikes.

DM: What's your mentality on the mound?

AH: Pretty much I just go out and try to get outs, try to fill up the 'zone and get strikes.

DM: Have you always been a pitcher?

AH: Yeah, I've always been a pitcher since high school. In high school I was an outfielder, played a little first and pitched as well. My hitting was pretty good. I was like a 3-4 guy [in the order]. I think I hit .350 or something like that.

DM: How was your experience at White River High School?

AH: It was kind of set up like a college system. We had a lot of first and thirds bunts, so that was good to get a little preview before I went to college.

DM: How was Missouri Western?

AH: I learned a lot more I think about pitching. I was a starter the whole time I was there. I kind of started to get that pitching mentality going for myself.

DM: How did you go from Washington to Missouri?

AH: I don't know, I think that is just kind of how it worked out.

DM: You had a knee injury in 2008. How did that happen?

AH: I was going for a bunt down the third base line, and I ended up dislocating my knee, and I was out for the rest of the year and took a red shirt.

DM: How was draft day?

AH: It was pretty cool. It was exciting to hear my name called. That is all I've wanted my whole life so I'm glad it happened. I was still at school at the time. I was in my apartment with a couple of friends. I think my girlfriend might've been there. I love being drafted by Oakland. It is a great organization.

DM: How was playing in Arizona?

AH: It's hot. Real, real hot.

DM: You played in Kane County last year. What was that experience like?

AH: Kane County was great. To come out of Arizona and come up here was awesome. I felt like a big leaguer.

DM: What do you think of the Midwest League?

AH: It's nice, it's challenging. There are a lot of good hitters. Every team has their good hitters that you have to go through. It's a good league.

DM: You've had a sore shoulder twice [2009 and 2010].

AH: Last year I was hurt for like a week or two, then the beginning of this year I was hurt for like three or four weeks. It's nothing serious, it's been tendinitis both times.

DM: You were a Sports Management major?

AH: I've always been involved in sports my whole life and I wanted to keep that going. Hopefully someday I will go into coaching.

DM: Besides baseball what do you like to do?

AH: I like to sleep, sleeping is a big hobby of mine. I like the outdoors. I'm from the Northwest, so I go fishing and hunting a lot.

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

AH: I'd be at home, finishing my degree. All I have right now is an internship.

DM: Top 5 artists in your iPod?

AH: Chris Cagle, Garth Brooks, Slightly Stupid. Got a little Pearl Jam, I'm a big Pearl Jam fan.

DM: Biggest influence growing up?

AH: My dad. I feel like we are real similar. Now that I'm growing up a little bit I feel that we are real similar.

DM: Baseball hero growing up?

AH: Ken Griffey Jr. He was in Seattle when I was growing up.

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