The Fresno State college program has produced some big time power hitters in recent seasons, and Aaron Arruda is the latest. The powerfully built first baseman hit 26 homers in 114 games over his last two seasons with the Bulldogs. The Fresno native hit .373 this year for FSU and was a two-time All-Mountain West selection.
Arruda made his pro debut with the Vermont Lake Monsters not long after being drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 12th round. He has had his ups-and-downs at the plate while with Vermont. Through Tuesday, he was hitting .171/.234/.308, although he did homer and double on Monday.
Donald Moore spoke with Arruda about the adjustments he has been making with Vermont.
Donald Moore: Hi Aaron, how is everything going for you so far this season?
Aaron Arruda: I mean it’s good. It’s been different. It’s just an everyday thing compared to college, but it’s been fun. I’m just learning approaches and stuff like that, so it’s more of a mental game than physical up here.
DM: What are your goals for this year?
AA: Just be the best I can possibly be right now, mentally and for our team to win the New York-Penn League, of course.
DM: What do you feel is your greatest strength as a ball player?
AA: On the hitting side, mostly either power and I feel as though I am a solid defender, for a first basemen I mean. I’m pretty solid over there.
DM: What would you’d like to improve on?
AA: Hitting wise, I would more like to have more of an approach to going into every at-bat and less strike-outs, putting the ball into play more and driving balls for doubles and home runs.
DM: How are you adjusting to professional baseball?
AA: Just trying to manage my time more, sleeping. You get back to the hotel at midnight and sleep until 11 or so, so it’s more up to you to go to bed. Eat really quick, go to bed, wake up early, trying to get your body in a better state when you come to the field.
DM: What do you like best about being a pro athlete?
AA: Getting paid to play baseball.
DM: Any pre-game routines?
AA: Usually when I get to the field, I get dressed and do my warm ups and stuff. I like going to the cage to work on things I need to improve on from the day before and then I do some defensive stuff and wait to do batting practice.
DM: Any hobbies?
AA: I like golfing a lot but I mean I don’t have my clubs with me, so it kind of unfortunate not being able to bring them out here. So I just hang out with the guys.
DM: Favorite baseball team growing up?
AA: It’s gonna sound cliche, but my whole family is from Oakland, so I grew up watching the Raiders, Warriors and the A’s, so I just always watched them.
DM: Where are you originally from?
AA: Fresno, California.
DM: If there is one person who taught you the most about baseball, who would that be?
AA: Probably my father. He was always the guy who wanted to push me more when I was younger, taking me to batting cages, hitting off a tee, and he never wanted me to hit home runs and doubles, it was always inside the ball, driving it up middle type of hitter.
DM: Craziest thing you have ever seen on a baseball diamond?
AA: Lets see, there’s a lot. This past year we had a triple play on this team and in college, the opponents had a runner on second and third, one out, and our pitcher wanted a different ball. He stepped off, didn’t call time and threw the ball into the dugout, both runs scored.
DM: Any off-season plans?
AA: Not really, I just workout and try to get my body in better shape than it is right now.
DM: I want to thank you for your time,and it was a pleasure to meet you and the best of luck to you and your career.
AA: I appreciate it, thank you.
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