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Q&A with Oakland Athletics prospect Slater Lee

Cal-Poly alum Slater Lee had a strong season for Vermont and Beloit.

Slater Lee / Photo by Greg Bessette
Slater Lee had a 1.80 ERA in 2018 / 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!

Slater Lee joined the Oakland A’s in 2017 as a 24th-round pick out of Cal-Poly. The right-handed pitcher posted a 3.86 ERA and struck out 21 in 21 innings for the Rookie-level A’s in 2017 before splitting his 2018 season between short-season Vermont and Low-A Beloit. In 2018, the sidearmer dominated, posting a 1.80 ERA with 29 strike-outs in 33.2 innings.

Donald Moore spoke with the reliever during his stint with the Lake Monsters.

Donald Moore: Hi Slater, how is everything going for you so far this season?
Slater Lee: It’s going well and it’s great to be in the Northeast, instead of in hot Arizona.

DM: What are your goals for this year?
SL: I don’t set a lot of goals. A lot of it is pushing yourself day to day and get better on the little, minute things. Just overall make yourself a better player day by day.

DM: What do you feel is your greatest strength is as a ball player?
SL: I’m a side-arm guy, so I think probably deception. So with that, I think that is my greatest strength. I just kind of try to throw as many strikes as I can.

DM: What would you’d like to improve on?
SL: Everyone has certain thing to improve on, just being more consistent and throwing more strikes.

DM: How are you acclimating to playing in the New York-Penn League?
SL: It’s good and definitely different than college ball. It’s fun and a great group of guys and it makes it way easier to be out here in the environment, so it’s been a good time.

DM: What is the best thing about being a professional athlete?
SL: Getting to live out your dream as a child and taking it day by day. Getting to soak it all in and work and try to get better everyday.

DM: What do you feel is the hardest thing about being a pro?
SL: I think just being away from family. I’m from San Diego so I’m from the opposite side of the country. Other than that, the baseball lifestyle is something I’ve grown accustomed to over the years from the baseball side of things.

DM: Any pre-game routines?
SL: No routines really. Just try to relax the best I can and try not to think about the game, only if I need a scouting report or something, but for the most part just try to relax and just go from there.

DM: Any hobbies?
SL: Yeah, I mean when I’m home, I’m at the beach with my family and spend as much time there as I can and relax someplace Other than that, some ping pong here and there, too.

DM: Favorite baseball team growing up?
SL: I grew up in San Diego, so I like the Padres, but my family really didn’t grow up with baseball and they weren’t huge fans. If I have to say a team, it would be the Padres.

DM: Where are you originally from?
SL: San Diego, California.

DM: If there is one person who taught you the most about baseball, who would that be?
SL: It would be Poppa Mike and my dad. He basically taught me how to pitch, even though my mechanics have changed drastically, he did teach me the mindset and the way to pitch and I think that you learn at a young age moving forward.

DM: Craziest thing you have ever seen on a baseball diamond?
SL: I think probably the skunk came on the field the other day. That’s probably it.

DM: Any offseason plans?
SL: I think as of now probably go back home. My brother is living down there and I live with him and work towards the next season.

DM: I want to thank you for your time and the best of luck to you and your career.
SL: Thank you.

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