Sean Doolittle was Oakland's second draft pick in 2007 (No. 41 overall) after a stellar career as a two-way standout at the University of Virginia. The slick fielding first baseman split his rookie campaign between Vancouver in the Northwest League and Kane County in the Midwest League. He hit a combined .243 with four homers and 33 RBIs in 68 games.
Hello everyone! A lot has happened in the three weeks since my last journal entry as we are now three weeks into this young 2008 Minor League season. After breaking camp with the Class A Advanced club, I headed to California to play for the Stockton Ports. I'm writing you today from my apartment, taking full advantage of our first off-day this year.
Being assigned to Stockton has been somewhat of a homecoming for me. I lived in central California, in the San Joaquin Valley, when my father was stationed at Castle Air Force Base (what is now Castle Air Museum) from the time I was 4 to 6 years old. As a family, we spent our summers going to A's games in Oakland, but I also got to see a lot of games about 20 minutes from where we used to live, watching the then Modesto A's play.
Baseball has taken me to a lot of places so far in my career. All the way back to high school, from showcases to college baseball in the ACC to summer baseball, the game has presented a lot of opportunities to go places I probably would never have had the chance to experience. Since being in the Minor Leagues, I played in Vancouver, so I got to experience life north of the border. Last summer I was in Geneva, Ill., and I got to check out the Windy City. And now, in the California League, I'm returning to where I spent some of my childhood, and I'll get to see a little bit of what this state's all about.
Enough about me, let's talk about baseball. Our team got off to a pretty good start. We opened up by taking three out of four from Modesto and have continued to play well, winning 12 of our first 18. We've played our best baseball in our last five contests. After dropping two games against San Jose on the road, we bounced back and took the third and final game of that series before sweeping Rancho Cucamonga in a four-game set at home.
Over those last five games, we've come together and found that we have the kind of ball club that can win a number of different ways. Our starting pitching has been as good as advertised, and our bullpen proved they can get the job done, pitching very effectively in tight ballgames. Our offense has also come together and has started to run on all cylinders, posting 44 runs in our last three games.
Now comes the part where I answer some of your emails. I want to thank everyone who took time not only to read my journal, but also to write me an email. Each week I'll answer a few in here, and respond to the rest personally.
My question is about your changeover to being solely a position player. I know you're a great first baseman, and it's great to be in the lineup every day, but do you miss pitching? Is it something you see yourself volunteering to do, say, if your team is shorthanded after using a number of pitchers in a game?
I actually received a number of emails pertaining to my glory days when I used to toe the rubber and get up on the bump for the Cavaliers at the University of Virginia, so that's why I chose this one. Although I miss pitching, it seems as though my pitching days are over. I would love to get an inning if the opportunity presented itself, but I'm not sure if that would actually happen. I've got to believe our coaching staff would turn to our middle infield -- so Mike Affronti could showcase his knuckleball -- before they would look to me at first base. For now, I'm having a blast playing first base and right field every day, and I hope I can continue to improve now that I'm not splitting my reps in practice between pitching and hitting.
Thanks again to those who took a second from their day to read this journal and send me an email. I look forward to writing for you all again in a few weeks, so until then ... you stay classy, Minor League Baseball.
Sean Doolittle is a first-base prospect in the Oakland A's organization and a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.