In Part Two of our lengthy, season-end conversation with Oakland A's Director of Player Development…
Q&A With A's 28th Round Pick Conner Crumbliss
David Malamut spoke with Crumbliss over the weekend about his first pro season, his adjustments to wood bats, his off-season plans, and more...
David Malamut: How do you feel?
Conner Crumbliss: I feel pretty good. I started dragging here a little bit, but I had a couple of days off when I got here to Kane County and got going with a little bit of energy, so I feel good.
DM: What was your first baseball experience?
CC: With my brothers. I watched them play games when I was in diapers.
DM: What was it like playing at Emporia State?
CC: Kind of a small school. Good coaching staff though. It's a lot of fun and had a nice field. It was a lot of fun.
DM: What did you learn while at Emporia State?
CC: The little things about baseball, things you can't learn by someone telling you. Just picking it up as you go, the little things, when you're playing.
DM: How was reaching the finals this year?
CC: It was the most exciting thing short of being drafted. That was the best time I've ever had and I wish we could go back and play that game over.
DM: You had 12 homers one year in only 39 games. What did you do differently that year?
CC: I hate to say it, but I think it was just a little bit windier. I just kind of got a little bit lucky. I probably hit four or five that were pretty legit home runs, and then quite a few that got up in the wind a little bit.
DM: How was being scouted?
CC: You don't really hear much about it. Maybe it was different for me at a small school, but you really don't hear about people. Scouts don't come talk to you.
DM: How was draft day?
CC: For me it was laid back. I just sat around and watched the computer ticker and just chilled out at home.
DM: How about being drafted by the A's?
CC: I love it, it has been a great time so far. I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world, it's been a great time.
DM: What was Vancouver like?
CC: It was fun, I had a lot of fun there. The fans were good, the stadium is nice, and the coaching staff was great. It was a lot of fun coming here [to Kane County] and I'm glad I made the move.
DM: How was Canada?
CC: I liked Canada. I didn't like that my cell phone cost extra, the money exchange. I didn't like that, but other than that, it was great. I had a lot of fun there.
DM: How big of a difference are the wood bats for you?
CC: I had played summer ball with wood bats before, for three years. For the first few weeks after you've played with metal it takes some getting used to. It's a different weight and different feel when you hit the ball. Now I can't even remember what it was like to hit with the metal bats. It hasn't been too hard of a transition.
DM: You have played the outfield and second base. Which do you prefer and has playing both helped you in either one?
CC: I like both. I don't even care just wherever they want to put me. I don't know if it has helped me with either one. It has helped me a lot in Vancouver, especially to get into the lineup. I got about half and half playing time in the outfield and infield. It has definitely gotten me more at bats, so it has been good.
DM: How has Kane County been so far?
CC: It's been a lot of fun. They get big crowds most nights when it's not school nights. It's been a lot of fun. The people here are awesome.
DM: How do you like being a leadoff hitter?
CC: It's pretty much the only place I've ever hit in the lineup, so I guess I wouldn't know anything different but I like it. I like helping get things started most games and try to have good at-bats.
DM: As the leadoff hitter, is a walk as good as a hit for you, in your opinion, and what are you looking at when the ball comes towards the plate?
CC: Yes, definitely, because if you can get on, if you can just get to first base, you up your chances of scoring and then you can steal bases. It's just finding a way to first which is the only big thing. I try to make a little window where the ball is going to come out. I just try to watch the ball. I don't even think about it.
DM: If you were not playing baseball what would you be doing?
CC: Right now going back to school, trying to finish my degree. I have another year left. I'm not going back this year but I might start back up next fall. We were too late this year, especially with Instructionals, so if I don't go to Instructs next year I will probably try to finish school then.
DM: You majored in pre-dentistry in college, were you going to become a dentist?
CC: Well that was my major when I was a freshman. I don't think they ever changed it [on my bio], but that wasn't actually my major. I majored in recreation, so it kind of changed. I fell through on the dentist stuff my freshman year, and decided I wanted to go into more fitness and health-related activities, trainer-type stuff.
DM: What do you like to do in the off-season?
CC: Just working out. Working on baseball stuff, although I just hang out a lot play some guitar, play some video games, and watch television. Just chill out.
DM: Any good with the guitar?
CC: A little bit, I won't be having any concerts anytime soon.
DM: What is your off-season training like?
CC: I don't know this year, I've only ever done it with college, so they had a set workout program for us. We will see what our strength and conditioning coach has planned out.
DM: What are your top-five artists in your iPod?
CC: Metallica, Chevelle, Three Days Grace, Breaking Benjamins. I don't know if I can get five. I like Queens of the Stone Age, that's a good fifth one.
DM: What are you working on on offense?
CC: Making less easy outs, fly balls, weak grounders. Just trying to get more line drives, and hard ground balls.
DM: On defense?
CC: In the outfield taking better routes. I haven't played much infield here, but in the infield having more sure hands and trying to get quicker at turning double plays.
DM: In college you stole a lot of bases. What are you looking for from the pitcher?
CC: I don't know because when I was in school they didn't have many guys with good pick-off moves so pretty much as soon as they started to move their bodies at all, I'd take off. Here it's a little harder a lot of times. Before the game they will have a key for you to key on, a lot of times it's his elbow or his knees or something that moves first and try to pick that up.
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