The Vermont Lake Monsters won their first division title since 2012, and a big reason why Vermont reached the post-season was the play of Ryan Gridley, the Oakland Athletics 2017 11th-round pick. Gridley earned a spot in the New York-Penn League All-Star game and hit .262 with a .357 OBP during the regular season. In the first game of the post-season, Gridley had a hit and a walk and he scored a run in the Vermont win.
Gridley joined the A’s after a standout junior season with Mississippi State.
Donald Moore spoke with Gridley in early August about his transition to the pros.
Donald Moore: Hi Ryan, how is everything going for you this season?
Ryan Gridley: It’s been really going well. I am enjoying myself, enjoying my time playing with Oakland and it’s pretty fun.
DM: What are your goals for this year?
RG: To get better. I’m working on the strike zone, deciding when to swing or not, recognizing breaking balls early and be on time for fastballs.
DM: What do you feel is your greatest strength as a ball player?
RG: My hand-eye coordination. I’m really pride myself on making every routine play that I can make and try to put the ball in play as much as I can at the plate.
DM: What would you’d like to improve on?
RG: Just like I said, working on the strike zone, making sure I’m hitting the pitches I’m looking for and being a disciplined hitter.
DM: How are you adjusting to professional baseball?
RG: It’s been easy having a bunch of good guys on the team. It’s been easy to acclimate. It’s different than college. There is a lot more travel obviously, you’re playing every single day, it’s a lot more wear and tear on your body, but having a lot of good guys on the team makes it a lot more fun.
DM: What do you like best about being a pro athlete?
RG: Just being able to hang out with a bunch of guys who are good friends every single day. It’s a lot of fun.
DM: Any hobbies?
RG: I love to hike. I love to go outdoors a lot, go on the lake. We go on the lake back in Burlington in Vermont. It’s really beautiful there. It’s got mountains and stuff, so any time I can get I usually just go outside.
DM: Favorite baseball team growing up?
RG: Probably the Atlanta Braves. Just liked watching them a lot and I’m also a big Steelers guy for football.
DM: Where are you originally from?
RG: I’m from Atlanta, Georgia, so I grew up there, played summer ball in the East Cobb area where Jason Heyward was and just a lot of good players. I was always around the game and playing a lot of summers, too.
DM: If there is one person who taught you the most about baseball, who would that be?
RG: It’s got to be my dad. He would always take me in the backyard and hit me ground balls and play catch with me every single day. He’s awesome.
DM: Craziest thing you have ever seen on a baseball diamond?
RG: Probably right here in Tri Cities. A kid took one right in the chest 150 MPH, so that tops it. I’m going to go with the ball sucking into that kid’s chest. That was ridiculous.
DM: Any off-season plans?
RG: I’m going to make some trips. I’m going to go to a couple weddings. My friend is getting married from college and I might go out of the country for a week. Just do all of the baseball stuff and lifting, but it will be good to get away from the game for a bit.
DM: I want to thank you for your time and the best of luck to you and your career.
RG: Thank you.
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