Pittsburgh Pirates: Q and A with Prospect Shane Kemp

Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports /

The Pittsburgh Pirates selected pitcher Shane Kemp out of George Washington in the 2015 MLB draft.  Kemp, a 26th round pick, is entering his second full season in the Pirates minors.

Shane Kemp was a low round draft pick in the 2015 draft.  Originally an outfielder at Kirkwood Community College, Kemp moved to the mound full time when he transferred to George Washington in 2015.  The Pittsburgh Pirates liked the projectability of Kemp, and decided to take s chance on the young right hander.  Kemp, who’s head coach in college was former Pirates hitting coach Greg Ritchie, caught the eyes of the Bucs in his senior season.  Thus, the Bucs invested a 26th round pick in him, hoping to continue his development on the mound.  So far, it seems to be heading in the right direction.  Kemp pitched all season in Short-Season A Bristol last season.  He threw 35.1 innings last season in 18 games.  The 6’3” right-handed pitcher posted a 3.82 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP.

Kemp had a strong season at Bristol last year, being he just turned full-time to the mound just a few years ago.  With that being said, Shane hopes to continue and develop in the 2017 season.  Kemp, as always, took some time to answer some questions as he prepares for minor league spring training and the 2017 season.

1) Being this is your second spring training, how is your approach to this year’s spring training different than last spring? 

"Last Spring Training I didn’t really know what to expect, so this year I would say that I’m more focused. I know how to prepare my body for the workday, how it needs to recover, how vital my focus is with everything I do. I know the work that needs to be done, I know how to go about it, and I know how to get it done, and that’s the beauty of having teammates, coaches, and coordinators that are open for guys that want to learn.More from Rum BunterPittsburgh Pirates Prospect Stockwatch: Outfielder Tres GonzalezPittsburgh Pirates Podcast: Rum Bunter Radio Talks Winter Meetings FalloutPittsburgh Pirates: Potential Leadoff Hitters in 2023Pittsburgh Pirates: The Rotation is not being ImprovedPittsburgh Pirates Make Vince Velasquez Signing Official"

2) What kind of off-season work did you do in terms of trying to take the next step for the 2017 season?

"This off-season, my nutrition and strength training were my top priorities. Although you can’t just do with one or the other, I’d say nutrition takes the top spot, as I was trying to gain weight. I left for the off-season last year weighing 172 pounds. During the off-season, I was eating between 3000-5000 calories a day. Meals were my most important part of the off-season. I would rather miss a workout than miss a meal, not that I did either, but you get the point. I’m bigger, stronger, and more flexible than ever coming into this Spring Training. Currently weighing in at about 192-195 pounds. So, I put on around 20+ (good) pounds this off-season."

3) In general, how do you feel as a pitcher now compared to when you first joined the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.  Where do you feel you have improved? 

"Coming into Pro Ball, I had very little experience on the mound. Working with my coaches here, I’ve taken big leaps. I’m more comfortable than ever on the mound, and I’m really trusting all of my pitches. I throw a lot more strikes now, don’t walk nearly as many guys, and I can use my off-speed pitches as weapons, and I’ve come to learn in the world of pitching that that is huge. I would say that I have improved in every area of my game, but I also know that every single one of the areas can use more improvement. There’s always better."

4) What are some things you are hoping to accomplish this spring as you prepare for the long season?

"First things first is to establish my fastball, after that we can start using those off-speed pitches as weapons. I’m feeling pretty confident with both of those areas, so really it just comes down to putting the work in and competing your tail off, which I’m excited to do here in a couple weeks."

5) What are some season goals you have set for yourself this year? 

"Leaving the result oriented goals behind, I just know that if I take care of the things I need to take care of like my daily work, whether that be my shoulder program, my lower body work, my focus during daily throwing program and my bullpens, they will take care of themselves. Big thing for me is to own my work. Focus on every throw, have that intent with every throw."

6) What is the one thing that you are really looking forward to that you have missed over the off-season? 

"Man, one of the biggest things is seeing all these guys again. My teammates, friends, coaches. I’m sure you hear it a lot, but these guys really are a second family to me, and I’m sure they’d say the same thing. Some seriously high quality people, all around.Another thing is competing again. Can’t wait to get back out on that mound, with even more confidence than I’ve ever had. Beyond excited! It’s going to be a great year."

Next: More Spring Training Notes

Shane Kemp is one of the good guys in a great sport.  As always, thanks to Shane for taking some time to talk with us here at Rum Bunter, and answering some questions.  Kemp will likely be in Single-A this season.  Be sure to keep an eye out for him when you are reading through the box scores.