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Baisley seeing more speed in AFL10/23/2007 1:10 PM ET
Oakland prospect Jeff Baisley sees an abundance of speed in the Arizona Fall League this season. The first baseman participated in an online chat Tuesday and shared his views on a variety of topics, including competition in the AFL and facing tough pitching.
Jeff Baisley: Hi everyone, thanks for joining the chat today.
Q: Not a baseball question -- but what did you think of the University of South Florida Bulls' run this season?
Baisley: It's good so far; it puts us on the map. We're doing a lot better than we should be. I've been catching a lot of slack from my teammates, especially after we lost this week.
Q: Who was you idol growing up?
Baisley: It was Barry Bonds, but that was before all this other stuff started happening. And then I started playing third base, so I started watching Eric Chavez and A-Rod. It's fun to watch them.
Q: Is there a pitcher you are looking forward to facing?
Baisley: Not really, I just want to get to the big leagues, it doesn't matter who I face. It would be fun to face some of the big names: Curt Schilling, Roy Halladay.
Q: Who is the toughest pitcher you have faced so far?
Baisley: That's a tough question, I don't really remember the toughest guy. There's a lot of good pitchers, but I try not to give them too much credit. They're going to get better as you keep going, but you've got to make adjustments. They're all good up here, they're all tough.
Q: What is your offseason routine?
Baisley: In a usual offseason with no baseball, it's just take a couple weeks off. I have a twin brother, Brian, so two weeks after we get done playing we start working out. We don't swing a bat until probably January. And then my dad is a high school coach, so he throws us batting practice. I don't take ground balls until probably two weeks before I come out to Arizona.
Q: When playing in the Arizona Fall League, are you guys trying to win a championship?
Baisley: Yeah, you always want to win. But I guess that's not the main focus when you're here. It is during the regular season. You're here to show off in front of the scouts and the general manager.
Q: What is the main thing you are working on in the AFL?
Baisley: Not really here working on anything, you're not here to develop. Most people here already know themselves as a player and know what they can do. They're not trying to add stuff to their game. Like I said before, you're just trying to show people what you can do, you've got to impress some people.
Q: Who was your favorite team growing up?
Baisley: I know a lot of people are going to hate me now, but I was a Yankees fan growing up. All my family is in New York, but my immediate family, we're the only ones in Florida. The Yankees' Spring Training is 10 minutes from my house.
Q: Is it hard for a player to change his game plan, when he loses one of his tools, say his speed?
Baisley: I don't know how it is to lose speed, I don't have any. Usually that's the only thing a person can lose throughout his career. A pitcher can lose velocity, but I don't pitch either. You're ability to hit for power and average should always be there as long as you stay in shape.
Q: Hi Jeff, how do you think the competition in the AFL compares to what you faced in Double-A this past season?
Baisley: Obviously it's better. There are some guys in Triple-A and some spent time in the big leagues, so it's going to be better. The biggest difference is the speed all these teams have, it's a lot more abundant here.
Q: Do you manage any fantasy baseball teams?
Baisley: No, it's too much day-to-day stuff. Football is easier. I don't know a lot of baseball players that do fantasy baseball. You're too caught up in your own stats to deal with other people's.
Q: Have you been following your alma mater's emergence onto the college football scene this year?
Baisley: Of course. I try to go to some games when I go home, but not this year. Tickets are getting harder to come by. I was devastated by the loss this week.
Q: What position do you find most comfortable? It seems you have moved around the infield a little this year. How do you like first base?
Baisley: Third base is still more comfortable. I just started playing first base when I got here, I've played four games there. It's not that much different from third base, it's the same angles off the bat. The hardest part is whether to go after a ball in the hole or cover first base.
Q: What is your dream Major League career?
Baisley: Obviously to play a long time. I think it's everybody's dream to be in the Hall of Fame, but sometimes you've got to be realistic.
Q: Would you rather hit a home run or steal home?
Baisley: I would much rather hit a home run. I'm not fast, so I don't even think about stealing second. So home doesn't ever cross my mind.
Q: Do you guys hang out with the guys from the other clubs on the Dogs or do you pretty much stick with the other A's guys?
Baisley: At first no one hung out with anyone except your own teammates. When we got here the A's Minor League teams never played against any of the other parent teams that we're with, so we didn't know anybody. But after three weeks you kind of have to get to know people, so you start hanging out with them more.
Q: Do you have any tips for a high school third baseman on gaining power on his swing?
Baisley: No. I didn't start hitting home runs until I started playing pro baseball. I wasn't a power hitter in college, it just developed when I got to pro ball.
Q: Do you ever find yourself putting more effort into the games in the AFL than you did in the regular season because you are trying impress?
Baisley: You can't do that, you'll put too much pressure on yourself -- bad things will start happening. You've got to relax.
Q: I heard that some Major League hitters do eye exercises to be able to see the ball better -- have you heard of that? Have you ever done something like that?
Baisley: Yeah, I've heard of it, but I don't have the money to go do it yet.
Q: Any standout pitchers or hitters you've noticed this year?
Baisley: I haven't noticed any standout pitchers. I don't try to remember them, by name anyway. Hitters tend to stand out in my mind more. Evan Longoria, powerful swing I guess you could say, takes hacks. Sam Fuld, he has a good approach for a leadoff hitter.
Q: What's the biggest thing you're working on at the plate right now?
Baisley: I'm not really working on anything right now, but I've always got to remind myself not to pull everything. Especially during batting practice, that I don't get too pull-happy. Start hooking balls in the game, that's not good.
Q: Have you ever been to Sacramento? What do you think of playing for a winning organization? That is probably where you will be next year.
Baisley: No, I don't like California, I try to avoid it. But it will be fun to play there, I only play there half the year -- only half the games are in Sacramento. But playing for Tony D. [DeFrancesco] as a manager should be fun, I've heard a few things about him.
Q: How is the atmosphere at AFL games in comparison to regular season Minor League games?
Baisley: It kind of stinks, there's nobody here compared to your Minor League seasons. But you've got to remember who the people in the stands are, it helps a little.
Baisley: Thanks for coming in this morning and asking questions. Hope you guys learned something, and hope you don't hate me. Thanks everyone!
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.