In this year's draft, the Oakland A's had three picks on the first day. With that third pick, they selected infielder Chad Pinder. The Virginia Tech star had an impressive career for the Hokies, posting OPSs of 878, 917 and 888 in his three seasons in college. Pinder was first-team All-ACC in 2013, when he drove-in 50 runs in 60 games.
After being selected as the 71st overall pick, Pinder was assigned to the short-season Vermont Lake Monsters. Pinder's first professional hit was a homer, but injuries impacted him for much of his pro debut. Pinder hit .200/.286/.293 in 140 at-bats. He finished the year with a four-game hitting streak, however, and he homered in the last game of the year.
Now healthy, Pinder is at fall Instructs in Phoenix. Donald Moore spoke with Pinder during the waning days of the 2013 regular season about his pro debut and more…
Donald Moore: How is this everything going so far for you this year?
Chad Pinder: Everything is great. Just getting adjusted and I've been having fun. We've had a great group of guys here, so it's been a pleasure playing for the Oakland Athletics organization so far.
DM: What are your goals for this season?
CP: Just to get better in every aspect of my game. Fielding and hitting and all that stuff and try to help our team win games, whichever team I'm on.
DM: What do you feel is your greatest strength as a ball player?
CP: Probably my defense. I take pride in playing defense. You can always go 0-for-4, but you know, the defense can stay sound most of the time.
DM: What would you'd like to improve on?
CP: Probably my pitch selection. I get myself out at the bat early on in the counts and stuff like that so definitely being more selective at the plate.
DM: What's the best thing about being a professional baseball player?
CP: Just the freedom to be yourself and the knowledge you get to learn from our coaches, as you grow as a baseball player. It's pretty special.
DM: How are you adjusting to pro ball?
CP: At first, it was a little slower than I expected because it was a big adjustment, but I've gotten my feet wet, so I'm starting to have fun and playing well. It's been a better time for me as of late.
DM: Favorite team growing up?
CP: The Braves.
DM: If there was one person who taught you the most about baseball, who would that be?
CP: My father, definitely. My dad played professional ball as well and I was very lucky to have him in my life and in my career early. Having him in my ear hole and teaching me about the game early on, it's definitely been special.
DM: Who did your father play for?
CP: He played in the Orioles and the Indians organizations.
DM: What position did he play?
CP: He was a left-handed pitcher.
DM: How far did he go in his career?
CP: I think he got up to Double-A, it's about as far as he made it..
DM: Craziest thing you've ever seen on a diamond?
CP: That's a good question. Maybe a hit-and-run home run? I don't know, but that happened two years ago in college ball, so that's probably it right there.
DM: Where do you see yourself five years from now?
CP: Hopefully playing in the big leagues with the A's. That's my goal.
DM: Chad, thank you very much for your time and the best of luck to you.
CP: Thank you very much.