When a baseball team is in rebuilding mode, it will look in all directions to improve. While high draft picks and splashy free agent signings can certainly make a big impact, other positive moves are possible by doing due diligence and following up with players who are a little further off the grid. The Oakland A’s are one of about a handful of teams who are in admitted full-blown rebuilding and are seeking every gem they can sign and cultivate. They have a number of these players scattered throughout their organization, with Sean Jamieson being one of the most obscure, but also possessing excellent upside.
Baseball wasn’t even Jamieson’s primary sport growing up. As a native of Canada it is little surprise that his first love was hockey, but he eventually started playing baseball as a way to continue competing with his friends year-round, and it became his best sport. Jamieson developed into a good enough prospect as a shortstop that he ended up playing collegiately for the Canisius Golden Griffins after spending two years with Niagra County Community College. Jamieson earned All-MAAC (Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) First Team honors in each of his two seasons with Canisius. In his senior season, he hit .350 with 13 home runs and 51 RBI in 57 games, garnering attention from the pros, and the A’s took him in the 17th round of the 2011 MLB draft.
Jamieson showed the A’s coveted him so highly out of the draft, playing in 69 games for short season Vermont in 2011, hitting just .235, but with 37 walks. He also hit 3 home runs, scored 39 runs, and stole 27 bases, while playing solid defense at shortstop.
Jamieson has started the 2012 season with A-level Burlington. The patience and multiple tools he shows is exactly the type of “Moneyball” player the A’s and general manager Billy Beane have come to embrace. With no clear cut top shortstop prospect ahead of him on the prospect depth chart, it is completely within the realm of possibility for him to make a run towards the majors if his development continues as hoped.
Sean Jamieson Interview:
How did you first become interested in baseball?: All my hockey buddies, since I was growing up, were playing baseball, so I came out and played with them. We had the same group of guys; we’d play hockey one season and play baseball in the summer. We ended up winning a lot of championships and doing very well. I loved up to an Elite team in Ontario. We don’t have high school baseball in Canada very much. It’s tough to come by, but I moved up to an elite team and played in a lot of big tournaments in the States. Eventually went on to junior college in Niagra, and got picked up and played D-1 ball at Canisius.
How involved were you in hockey?: Everybody’s into hockey up in Canada; every kid.
Did you have a favorite baseball team or playing when you were growing up?: I was a Jays fan cause they were really the local team; about an hour and a half out of Toronto. And, Derek Jeter; always a big fan; just how he carries himself and how great of a player he is.
How did you find out that Oakland was interested in you?: There were several teams interested actually. Oakland, you know. I knew Matt Higginson very well; he was there a lot. He came to our first games down in the Carolinas and Tennessee. He would come to all our home games and I knew he was interested. There were some other teams interested too, but Matt showed a lot of interest.
Did you do anything special to celebrate after signing with Oakland?: Nope. He called me up the day before, and he goes, ‘I might sign you today. You still alright to sign?’ And I’m like ‘absolutely, whatever it takes.’
He called me the next day and said, ‘You want to meet up and sign today?’ We met at a coffee shop halfway between where he is and where I am. It was a nice experience, and I think the next day I was on a plane.
You can follow me on Facebook by going to http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Baseball-Historian/138174109591660 or follow me on Twitter @historianandrew