On Friday, I had the opportunity to talk with new Athletics prospect Aaron Cunningham. Cunningham, 21, was in the trade that sent Dan Haren to the Diamondbacks and could see time at the big league level in 2008, but we will probably see him more in 2009. He has hit successfully at almost each level, and Baseball America rates him in the Top 10 prospects for the Athletics. I want to thank him again for doing this interview for me, I really appreciate it. I also want to thank Adam Bierman of XTS Sports for setting this up for me.
ELI: What was the draft experience like for you?
AARON: It was pretty crazy. In high school, I didn't consider myself a prospect. I did okay, but I had just one home run in high school. I went off to junior college and just hoped to death that I would get drafted. I told some of the teams that were looking to draft that I didn't care where I went, and that I would sign for anything. Surprisingly, I was taken in the sixth round by the Chicago White Sox, it was the best day of my life.
ELI: Did you have trouble adjusting to the wooden bats?
AARON: I had no problem. I was playing with wood bats in junior college.
ELI: Did you have a favorite player growing up?
AARON: I was a Mariners fan, so I liked Ken Griffey Jr. and Randy Johnson.
ELI: What was it like getting traded from the Sox to the Diamondbacks?
AARON: It was emotional. I made a lot of good friends with the Sox. It came out of no where too. I was really comfortable playing there, and it was sad to leave my friends. But the experience of being traded was cool.
ELI: Yeah, so how did you find out?
AARON: Oh man, let me think. We were in Maryland, playing the Royals farm team, Wilmington. It was after a game and we were at Arby's. I was just about to sit down and eat when I got the call that I was traded. It was the minor league coordinator and he was like, 'I'm sorry to inform you, but I've got some good news and some bad news. The good news is you've been traded to a good team.' I was shocked, really caught up in the moment.
ELI: Were you surprised to find out you were traded to the Athletics?
AARON: I was surprised, but I didn't care. I got a call from AJ Hinch, the Diamondbacks director of player development, and he was like, 'You've been traded.' I heard the rumors everything. But when I heard, I was just laughing.
ELI: What do you think of your performance in the AFL?
ELI: Did you go down to work on anything specific?
AARON: No, it was just to play baseball. I want to work on everything.
ELI: Did you watch the playoffs this year?
ELI: Did you happen to catch the Matt Holliday play at the plate? In your opinion, did he get it?
AARON: He didn't get it. I am a 100% for instant replay when it comes to judging a homerun. But other than that, no. It is apart of the game. The arguments, everything, that is what is great. But in the umps defense, you can't call him out. I wouldn't have called him out.
ELI: What have you done this off season to prepare for '08?
AARON: I live right by the Athletics complex, so I am there Monday through Friday.
ELI: Your agency, XTS, is working with you to get you more involved with tattoo parlors. Can you tell me about that?
AARON: I think it is a good idea for the most part. What they are doing is taking baseball, and turning into a business. It allows you to make money, and them to make money.
ELI: If you could rob one player of a homerun, who would it be?
AARON: I don't know, that's tough. Barry Bonds maybe, I don't know.