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2018 Draft Coverage

Q&A with Oakland Athletics 33rd-round pick Joseph Pena

Joseph Pena flashed his versatility, patience and speed during his pro debut. Donald Moore spoke with the New York native.

Joseph Pena / Photo by Greg Bessette

Editor’s note: These interviews took place midseason, but personal circumstances prevented us from publishing them at the time of the interviews. We still wanted to share them even if they are a few months after the fact. Thank you!

After a collegiate career at St. Thomas Aquinas College in New York, the versatile Joseph Pena landed with the Oakland A’s in the 33rd round of the 2018 draft. Pena split his pro debut season between the Arizona Rookie League and Short-season Vermont. He played all over the field, logging games at second, third, shortstop, left and centerfield. In 154 at-bats, Pena hit .214/.354/.393 with 30 walks and 10 stolen bases in 48 games played.

Donald Moore spoke with Pena during a midseason roadtrip to face the Tri-City ValleyCats.

Donald Moore: Hi Joseph, how is everything going for you this season?
Joseph Pena: Everything is going well, I’m having a great time and having fun and trying to enjoy it.

DM: What are your goals for this year?
JP: Trying to do the best that I can. Just getting a taste for pro baseball. It’s a dream come true since I’ve been young and just being able to be here, it’s breathtaking every time and just learning the game of baseball and having many minds to pick from.

DM: What do you feel is your greatest strength as a ball player?
JP: My eye vision. I believe I can see the ball very well  and being able to see what strikes and balls a pitcher is throwing. It has helped me a lot in my career.

DM: What would you’d like to improve on?
JP: My power, trying to get stronger. My strength is a major thing that I want to improve on.

DM: How are you acclimating to professional baseball?
JP: It’s great, but it’s tough with traveling but it’s not normal from where I came from, so learning and getting with the program, but it is going pretty well so far.

DM: What is the best thing about being a professional athlete?
JP: Just being able to play baseball and getting paid for it. It’s something I have always dreamed to do.

DM: What is the hardest thing about being a pro?
JP: Probably how long the days are. I never thought about how long the days are being a professional baseball player. It’s a lot, but it’s fun.

DM: Any pre-game routines?
JP: Just thank God everyday and reading the bible.

DM: Any hobbies?
JP: I love playing basketball. I’m a Knicks fan and it’s tough, but I love watching the NBA.

DM: Favorite baseball team growing up?
JP: The New York Mets.

DM: Where are you originally from?
JP: Brooklyn, New York.

DM: If there is one person that taught you the most about baseball, who would that be?
JP: My brother. He’s 15 years older than me , but he was like a father figure growing up, and he has taught me everything though he wasn’t a big baseball guy, but he read a lot and learned from it just to teach me to play the game.

DM: Craziest thing you have ever seen on a baseball diamond?
JP: The most recent thing that I could think of was the power outage in the middle of our game.

DM: Any off-season plans?
JP: Trying to get stronger, put on some weight but also stay in touch with my speed and keep working on my agility.

DM: I want to thank you for your time and the best of luck to you and career.
JP: Thank you, I appreciate it very much.

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