Pittsburgh Pirates: Interview With Prospect Brett Kinneman
The next part of our series of Pittsburgh Pirates prospect interviews, we talk with a 2018 MLB Draft pick who was an outfielder from North Carolina State University.
In 2018, the Pittsburgh Pirates drafted an outfielder from North Carolina State University by the name of Brett Kinneman. Kinneman ranked inside the Top 160 prospects on both MLB Pipeline and Baseball America.
The Bucs technically got really good value based on his rankings with Kinneman being selected at pick number 204. The outfielder is a Pennsylvania native growing up in West York. He earned this selections after having a very good career at NC State, and a strong junior season where he hit 17 home runs in 60 games.
Kinneman followed up a strong junior season with a solid Pittsburgh Pirates organization debut. The 6’1” and 195-pound lefty played mainly in right field for the Short-Season A West Virginia Black Bears. He hit .253/.344/.413 with four home runs, four triples, and 16 doubles in just 60 games.
The now 22-year-old had a 134 wrC+ and walked nearly 12 percent of his at-bats. All in all, it was a solid first season for Kinneman. I caught up with him and asked him about his first season, the draft process, and this upcoming year.
1. Brett, you were drafted in the seventh round by the Pittsburgh Pirates during the 2018 draft. What was your reaction to joining the organization?
"“I was ecstatic to have been picked by the Pirates. I was extremely grateful to have a childhood dream become a reality, and being from Pennsylvania, it was really cool to be picked by the “hometown team” so to speak.”"
2. What was the biggest difference you had to adjust going from college ball to professional?
"“I think the biggest difference was just the adjustment of playing every day. We had a fairly busy schedule in college, but playing 6-7 days a week versus the 4-5 in college was a bit of an adjustment. “"
3. What did you learn from you first half-season of professional ball?
"“I think the biggest learning point for me in my first half-season was just being able to flip the page every day. I kind of prefaced it earlier, but you play too much to sulk over the bad days or vice versa, ride the high horse after good days. Just learning to be even keel from a performance standpoint was a big learning point for me this past summer.”"
4. During this offseason, how have you been preparing for the 2019 season?
"“The offseason been great for me. Continuing to get stronger and faster has been a big focal point for me. I’m fortunate to train with some other pro guys in the area, so as spring training gets closer, we’ve gotten into some live at-bats and other things to get ready.”"
5. What are some goals you have for this upcoming year?
"“One of my main goals for the upcoming year is to be a consistent hitter. I’m not unrealistic in thinking I’m never gonna have a 1-15 stretch from time to time, but being able to limit that and be the same guy at the plate at a consistent clip is a big goal of mine for the upcoming year. I want to continue to grow as an outfielder, and be more active on the basepaths in the upcoming year.”"
6. What do you consider to be the best facet of your game?
"“I would probably say the best facet of my game is being able to drive the ball to the gaps. I had a good bit of success this past summer at driving balls into the gaps, and driving guys in. I’m excited about growing on that this year.”"
7. If there is one thing you would like Pittsburgh Pirates fans to know about you, what is it?
"“My parents were Yankees fans (Pirates fans now). Anyways, when I was born, my dad wanted to name me Whitey after Whitey Ford. Thankfully, they settled for Brett.”"
Kinneman will likely make the jump to Single-A this season and play his first full professional season. After being a highly rated prospect entering the draft, and having a strong first season, it will be interesting to see how he responds to the long haul of a full professional year. Be sure to give him a follow on Twitter at @bkinn2.