Interview conducted by Rick R. Dykhuizen
June 27, 2010
Bats: Right Throws: Right 6’2’ 200 lbs. DOB: 06/26/1986
2010 Arkansas (Double-A):
2-2 with 3 Saves, 2.45 ERA, 25 strikeouts, 8 walks, 18.1 IP, .194 BAA
2010 Salt Lake (Triple-A):
2-1 with 6 Saves, 1.65 ERA, 23 strikeouts, 8 walks, 16.1 IP, .113 BAA
4-3 with 9 Saves, 2.08 ERA, 48 strikeouts, 16 walks, 34.2 IP, .157 BAA
Coming into the 2010 season, Michael Kohn ranked as the AngelsWin.com Number 10 prospect within the Angels’ organization. Below is our 2010 Scouting Report for Kohn (pronounced Kahn, like James Caan the actor).
If there's an organizational award for player, pitcher and defensive minor leaguer of the year, there should be one for organizational relief pitcher of the year. If it did exist, the award would go to Michael Kohn hands down. Kohn posted a 2.19 ERA for the Cedar Rapids Kernels over 28 games and in 37 innings he struck out 60 Midwest League batters, holding the opposition to a .161 batting average. Promoted to High Class-A ball in July, Kohn continued to dominate, posting a sparkling 0.94 ERA in 24 games while fanning 43 batters over 28 2/3 innings of work. Kohn gave up just one home run all season and finished with a sensational .153 BAA.
Kohn comes at opposing hitters with a heavy 94-98 mph fastball and a plus slider. The slider still needs work in terms of consistency, but when it's on he's just filthy. There were a lot of late inning contests in which Kohn dominated the opposition with just his fastball that explodes out of his hand. Taking up pitching for the first time in 2008 for the College of Charleston, Kohn pitched just 13 amateur innings before being signed by the Angels.
The Angels will most likely start Michael Kohn in Double-A Arkansas as the Travelers' closer. If the breaking pitch is there we are willing to bet that fans will see Kohn in the big leagues before the 2010 season is over. The consistency of his slider will determine whether Kohn profiles as a future setup man or closer down the road. Just ask Matt Anderson if you can get away with just a good fastball in the big leagues.
Kohn’s stock has definitely gone up this year as he has continued to impress at Double-A Arkansas and then posted even better results at Triple-A Salt Lake. When AngelsWin.com recently talked with Abe Flores, Director of Player Development for the Angels, Abe had the following to say about Michael Kohn:
AngelsWin.com: What about Michael Kohn? He looks like he’s forcing his way up through the organization as a reliever.
Abe Flores: He’s had success at every level and so his time will come. He’s done very well.
AngelsWin.com: Is there anything additional that he should be working on, or keeping it up at the same level?
Abe Flores: He knows what he needs to work on. It’s continuing to improve his breaking ball—the action and the shape of it. Otherwise, he’s been a very good strike thrower. He’s been very poised in that role—the end of the game type role. He’s come a long way quite quickly.
AngelsWin.com Rick R. Dykhuizen recently sat down with Michael Kohn and got his impression on his season, his teammates, baseball in general and the lighter side of the young reliever. Click below to listen to Michael Kohn in his own words, or read the text version.
AngelsWin.com: Michael, you have moved up a level in each of the last two seasons. Tell us a little bit about your ascent to the big leagues and what it has been like?
Well first off I have been very blessed the last two season to enjoy a mid-season promotion last year with Rancho and this year with Salt Lake. So far it's been great but, still have a long ways to go and just have to keep working hard.
AngelsWin.com: When did you start playing baseball?
Michael Kohn: I first started playing baseball when I was about 4 years old.
AngelsWin.com: You were a hitter and pitcher in college, do you think being drafted as a relief pitcher was the right move?
Michael Kohn: Haha.. Yea being drafted as a pitcher was def the right move. Most of my teammates will tell you that I still think I can hit but I have put the bat down for a golf club.
AngelsWin.com: Who has been the most influential person (coach and personally) to the success you're having thus far?
Michael Kohn: Well, I have been blessed with a great family. My two great parents my Father Thomas Kohn, and my Mother Rebecca Sheheen along with my two great sisters Jessica and Mary. But if I had to say one person in my life who has inspired me the most I would have to say my Father because growing up and watching the work ethic he has and what he taught me I couldn't ask for a better role model. If I grow up to be half the person he is then life will be great..
AngelsWin.com: What part of your game do you take the most pride in?
Michael Kohn: Well, I take pride in all aspects of my game. So I don't think there is one that is bigger than the other.
AngelsWin.com: We hear that your fastball has some rise to it, that it's hard to hit. What's the highest speed on the radar that you can dial your fastball up to?
Michael Kohn: (Laugh) The highest I have ever hit was 97 mph.
AngelsWin.com: How is the breaking ball coming along? Do you see it as a true swing and miss, strikeout offering?
Michael Kohn: I have been extremely pleased with my new slider that I learned this year in big league camp. I still have some work to do with it but I guess you can say its a swing and miss pitch.
AngelsWin.com: What are the things you believe need the most work?
Michael Kohn: I am a firm believer of never being satisfied so in saying that all aspects of my game need work. I always say the day I am satisfied is the day I will hang it up.
AngelsWin.com: Which teammate and opponent in the Texas League and Pacific Coast League is in your opinion a future major league star?
Michael Kohn: That's a tough question since there are so many great players I have played with and against. As far as the Texas League Jordan Walden throws 100 mph so I can see him being a great major league player. Mike Moustakos is a pretty good hitter so I could see him doing great things in the big leagues.
I have so many good teammates in Salt Lake it would be pretty hard to pick one. I mean you got the Pete Bourjos who runs like a deer, Mark Trumbo who hits balls 500 feet, but if I had to say one guy who has a very bright future in my mind I would say Will Smith. He is only 20 years old and pitches like he has been around a long time. He is very hunger to do well so I can see him being a great starter in the big leagues. As far as opponents I haven't been here long enough to see all the teams but the young kid who just pitched against us in Tacoma, Michael Pineda I think is his name. He is also 20 years old and throws 98 mph and doesn't walk guys, so that's pretty impressive to do at 20.
AngelsWin.com: Which hitter in the Texas League and PCL have been the toughest get out so far this season?
Michael Kohn: Ha, they are all hard to get out.
AngelsWin.com: On the lighter side, what are some of your hobbies outside of baseball?
Michael Kohn: I love to hunt, play golf, and especially watch college football.
AngelsWin.com: What kind of music do you listen to?
Michael Kohn: I listen to all kinds of music country, R&B, rap, rock. Listen to it all
AngelsWin.com: What is your favorite movie?
Michael Kohn: I would have to say TinCup. Always loved that movie.
AngelsWin.com: Who is your biggest fan and the first person you call when you get promoted to the big leagues?
Michael Kohn: I am going to get in trouble for leaving some people off this list so forgive me. But my parents will get the first phone calls. After them will definitely be my best friend and my biggest fan Matt Sheheen. I talk to him along with my dad after every game good or bad. They are pretty much the only people I talk to if I do bad. Sorry Mom.
Thanks Chuck for having me. Take Care Michael Kohn.