BCB: Where are your negotiations with the Brewers at?
TK: Well, I haven’t signed yet. They sent me a contract a few days ago, but I’m not sure where we’re going from here. We just keep in touch every week or so trying to make a deal out.
BCB: Do you want more money than they're currently offering?
TK: That’s the thing--I haven’t got offered anything. They’re trying to find out how much [money] they’ll have, because I was [a] very late [pick], so they’re trying to get the people in front of me before they throw anything out there, I’m guessing.
BCB: Oh, okay. So they sent you a contract, but it's blank? Or what?
TK: Yeah, they sent a contract explaining everything and how much I get a month and all that. But the bonus has yet to be decided.
BCB: Right, okay. Is there a dollar amount you have in your head that you'd need to be offered to sign?
TK: Honestly, I really don’t know. I would have to figure it out with my family, but I’m sure it’s not going to be outrageous to where I’m just gonna drop everything and go. I mean, I’m only gonna be a sophomore in college. I still have a long time to go, you know?
BCB: Do you have a preference, though? It sounds like you're pretty interested in staying in school.
TK: I’d love to go and play, but I have a few friends playing now that have been struggling pretty bad. So I like the idea of staying in school and getting the rest of my education, but if the time comes, whenever that is, that they throw a bunch of money out there, I will definitely be on my way. [laughs]
BCB: Which friends?
TK: Chad Robinson, you might know him, he plays for the Brewers, right-handed pitcher. He’s been hurt, though.
BCB: Yeah, I do, he had shoulder surgery. He got a bunch of money as a draft-and-follow.
TK: Yeah, see, if I was like that I would be gone playing. What I’m really looking to do is to get bigger, try to get up to about 195, 200 [pounds], have a big year, and hopefully the Brewers pick me up again next year pretty high, ‘cause I’m not sure about D-I. Going back to the metal [bats] I don’t think would be good, so next year I’m sorta looking to go, hopefully.
BCB: Are you playing in a summer league or anything?
TK: No, I’m not playing summer ball anywhere. I was supposed to go to South Carolina, but we decided I needed to stay home, get in good shape, and get up to that weight.
BCB: Do you think that will hurt your chances of getting offered good money this year, the Brewers not being able to scout you over the summer?
TK: No, not really. Their plan was to come watch me at the end of the summer/start of fall, when I’ll be getting back into [playing], but I don’t think it’ll make a big difference. I think I might be doing some workouts with them in the fall, but I think they’ll come during the regular season again, and plus my high school coach is good friends with the Brewers guy, so he can get them to come out for me. He did this year, and look what happened. [laughs]
BCB: Chad Robinson went to your high school, right? Silverado?
TK: Yeah, our coach is some Brewers guy. I’m not sure how he’s linked, though.
BCB: And you said something about metal bats--does CSN not use metal?
TK: Nah, we use wood. We use metal about two weekends a year: going to Florida for a tournament and then we have a bunch of California teams come down.
BCB: Oh, i didn't realize that. Is that common for jucos?
TK: No, not at all. There are only a few schools that do it. But I like the idea, I think it’s more fun with wood. You can’t get those little bloop shots to get a hit; you have to hit it well.
BCB: And it makes your performance more impressive. That's why you're hesitant to go back to metal?
TK: Yeah. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the games are exciting ‘cause there is lot more hitting going on, but a lot of those extra hits aren’t true, so I’d rather just stick with wood. I’ve always liked to play with wood, though, even when I was younger.
BCB: Be honest: How much of wanting to stay at CSN is so you can play with Bryce Harper?
TK: I don’t think it’s the whole idea of playing with him, ‘cause I’ve played with and against him since we were younger ,but I really want to stay for what we’re supposed to be. We had a few holes and we’re bringing in a bunch of good players and a bunch of good pitching. I’m excited to see how good we can be, but yeah, a little bit of it is getting the chance to play with the "chosen one". [laughs]
BCB: So you know him a little bit?
TK: Yeah, I mean, I don’t hang out with the kid on a regular basis, but I see him around the ball field a bunch.
BCB: Is he as good as they say?
TK: I don’t know if he’s as good, but he’s by far the best player from around here that I’ve seen. I went to a game for the playoffs when he played Silverado, and he hit like two or three homeruns. It was unreal, and they were absolute bombs. And he has a cannon from his knees behind the plate. But I don’t think he'll get up to the big leagues and be like LeBron in the NBA. But I think he'll make it.
BCB: Well, how about you? What's your game like?
TK: What do you mean?
BCB: Like, what are your strengths and weaknesses?
TK: Well, it was my first time ever being in the outfield this year, so I would have to say that my breaks weren’t very good, but I made it up with my speed. I’m pretty quick. And I like to think I have a pretty good arm. I think I hit about 86 to 88 from the outfield, 90 once. But I think what I really need to work on is hitting for power. I didn’t hit many home run. I hit for a lot of singles and doubles. I felt like leadoff hitter hitting in the three hole. [laughs] But I can improve every aspect. I need the power and to gain some more speed and get a little bit better arm.
BCB: Did you play in center this year?
TK: Nah, I played right. I think I might play center next year; that’s what my coach’s plan is. We had a kid in center that had a cannon, throwing 94 from the outfield and can fly, he just couldn’t really hit. I mean, he got his jobs done and could be a good hitter but was just up and down this year.
BCB: You said this was your first year in the outfield--where did you play before?
TK: I played up the middle, switching off from short to second. But I wasn’t cutting it in there so they sent me to the outfield ‘cause of my speed.
BCB: So even though you have good speed and a good arm, you think you need to improve them?
TK: Yeah, you can always get better, I think. That’s why I’m lifting at 5:30 every day, trying to push my body to its max to get all I can get.
BCB: So you think hitting for more power is a matter of just getting stronger? I know some players retool their swing to get more loft.
TK: Yeah, I’m not a very big kid. In high school I had lots of power, but that was with a metal, but with wood it’s a big difference. I mean, I had warning track power this year, hit the fence a lot, so I don’t think it’s anything with my swing, just strength.
BCB: That makes sense. Did you get any draft consideration from other teams?
TK: Last year I talked to the White Sox a little, but this year just the Brewers and maybe Mets, and then an Angels scout sent my name in, but not really anything big.
BCB: So would it be safe to summarize your position as willing to sign if you're pleasantly surprised by the offer, but mostly expecting to go back to CSN next year and work on your game and hopefully get drafted higher next year?
TK: Yeah, that’s exactly right. I mean, I don’t want to say I’m not gonna sign, but I don’t think the chances of signing are very high.
BCB: Right, because the team has so many other guys above you priority-wise.
TK: Yeah, you got it exactly right.
BCB: Well, it sounds like the team knows you pretty well at least, so hopefully if you don't sign this year we'll be talking again next year after you're drafted much higher--by the Brewers, I mean. [laughs]
TK: [laughs] Yeah, I hope I get taken by the Brewers again. But then again, I have no say in who’ll pick me up if I were to get picked up again.
BCB: Well, best of luck to you in the future, regardless of what team you end up with. Put in a good word with Bryce Harper for us in case Boras figures out how to make him a free agent.
TK: You got it, man.