Sunday, January 26, 2014

Dominique Vattuone Q&A

Vattuone emerged as one of the hidden gems amongst the 2013 draft haul for Oakland, immediately whipping past fellow short season competition en route to orchestrating one of the more consistent debuts of any newcomer within the A's organization. The lanky 6'4", 175 pounder was lifted past the AZL after a mere nine appearances and was trotted out for another nine with Vermont to conclude his 2013 as the 22 year old made a bullpen exclusive entry in the professional ranks. Cumulatively, Vattuone battled through 30 innings with a 25 H, 13 ER (3 HR), 12 BB, 38 K line and thus was granted an instructional league invite in September along with nine other 2013 draftee pitchers. Not to mention, Vatty gets bonus points for now owning one of the best names in the organization. 

With his first professional spring approaching, I discussed matters with the Maryland native for a bit:

CK: Howdy there Dom, how has this offseason been treating you?

DV: This off-season has been great! Really enjoying the down time with the family. Just returned not too long ago from Chile went on a two week vacation visiting my dad’s side of the family. As for the baseball aspect, I am very pleased with the workouts and the throwing program. I feel like this time is just as important as the season. Preparing yourself properly to embark on the long season ahead. I’m excited to get back out to Arizona and out of the cold here in Maryland.

CK: Oakland has had a recent allegiance towards your college program, UNC-Greensboro, over the past half decade (Rob Gilliam, Jermaine Mitchell, Blake Hassebrock, Lee Land, Tyler Hollstegge). Did you know that the A's were interested in you at all prior to draft day?

DV: Yes, it has been quite a thrill seeing the guys you know still playing for the same team. Since I was a transfer I did not play with Rob and Blake. With that being said I know them pretty well and have worked out with them this off-season down at UNCG. I received a questionnaire following my two outings at Furman University. I did not know the interest level from the A’s until the third day of the draft. My area scout called me that morning, informing me that the A’s wanted to take me later that day. I was glued to the draft tracker since day one. Then I heard my name called. I was taken back, really just sat there and said to myself “this is what I worked for, can’t stop here, gotta keep on going”. It really set in when I was going to the airport headed for AZ.

CK: After transferring to UNCG you made a whopping 46 appearances with only a lone start. Pretty safe to say you're settled in to a bullpen role huh? 

DV: Yeah, the bullpen has been my home and will be from here on out I believe. I enjoy it a lot. In college I would pitch in the Friday game and bounce back sometimes Saturday if not, then they ran me right back out there on Sunday. Being out there when the game is on the line, and you have the ball in hand, that is the greatest feeling, personally.

CK: Was the pick at 32nd overall a surprise? 

DV: I feel like it was the right round for me. I had a decent season my senior year. I figured going into the draft, if I was going to get selected then later on would be it. Numbers weren’t that great, but my area scout saw something and liked it enough to give me this opportunity. I felt like it was my round.

CK: You know, the A's have had a recent string of success with their 32nd overall pick over the past two seasons (Drew Granier, Ryan Dull). Think you can keep it up? Haha

DV: Yes, the 32’s have been successful for sure. These two guys have moved up quickly to Midland. Can I keep up? I feel like I can, having a good feeling about 2014. First full season, going to be a long one, but ready for what it has to offer.

CK: You were one of the first arms to receive a promotion to Vermont from the AZL. What was that transition back to the east coast like and how tricky was the transition to NYPL ball?

DV: The transition back to the east coast was amazing. Yes, the time change was a little rough the first couple of days. But being back in the same time zone, playing in areas near home was a great feeling. Overall being able to talk to my family for more than just a few texts a day was nice. I just missed the Aberdeen trip, would have been right next to my Juco. Would have been cool playing in front of all my friends and family.

CK: You had a little strikeout burst during your first professional stint by K'ing 38 in 30 innings. Do you feel like you can always get the strikeout? 

DV: I feel like I can in the right situations. With that being said, when I look back at this past season both in the NY-Penn and AZL I found myself throwing more pitches when I did get the strike out. Ultimately the more pitches you throw, out of the pen, the shorter your outings get. I love getting the big strikeout in the inning(s) don’t get me wrong, I need to conserve some pitches and produce soft contact.

CK: How was the instructional league this Fall as one of 21 pitchers in attendance?

DV: I enjoyed the Instructional league this fall. I was able to improve my mechanics and towards the end, begin to repeat the same delivery. With the other pitchers there it was beneficial , not only did we learn from the coaches and instructors, we learned and built off one another. 

CK: Can you give me a rundown of what pitches you have in your repertoire? And which one (s) are you really looking to emphasize improvement on entering 2014?

DV: I throw a 2-seam; inside to a righty and away from a lefty, getting good sink.

4-seam; away from a righty and inside to a lefty. I also throw a splitter, which I use as my change-up

Last but not least my breaking ball that floats between the titles of a slider and a slurve (depends on the day I suppose). I feel like my splitter is the pitch I am looking to improve most of the three pitches. Primarily getting used to the ball change, from college to professional. With the high seams in college I was very comfortable with the grip. Now, I am getting a better feel for the splitter grip with these lower seamed baseballs.

CK: Are you already aware of whether or not you'll be staying in extended and be heading off to Vermont or if you'll have a shot to break camp with the Snappers?

DV: As of right now, I do not know. My goal and hope is to break camp and play for the Snappers in April. Feeling good about the March 3rd report date. Just have to take it one day at a time and work hard. I feel like Beloit will be a good start.

CK: What do you hope to accomplish during this 2014 season with the A's?

DV: I hope to continue to move up through the A’s systems. Working each day on my tasks at hand and becoming a better pitcher. I want to improve my command, swing recognition, and be more aggressive attacking the zone. Whether it is in the game, dry work, post outings, staying healthy and giving my team the best chance to win. Pitching is a relay race, you give it your all and when it’s your turn. Once your turn is up you hand it off to the next guy and he gives it his all.

No comments:

Post a Comment