By Robert Cunningham, AngelsWin.com Staff Writer -
Transcripted Interview with Kevin Johnson
Author’s Notes: I think you’ll get a glimpse and some insight into each player’s personality. I tried to keep the interviews brief as I quickly discovered the team had a bus to catch for their next series and I didn’t want to take up too much of their time. Additionally this transcription has been edited slightly for readability and comprehension as needed. Interview conducted on May 15th, 2014.
AngelsWin.com: So how’d you do tonight?
Kevin Johnson: Good! I gave up two hits but the sinker was better and the slider is coming around.
AngelsWin.com: Saw you got a nice double play behind you!
Kevin Johnson: Yeah those are always good!
AngelsWin.com: So what aspect or aspects of your game have you been focusing on this season?
Kevin Johnson: Mainly the slider. Obviously I have a really good sinker but I’m trying to use more breaking balls to compliment the sinker.
AngelsWin.com: So what do you consider your best pitch?
Kevin Johnson: Yeah probably the sinker.
AngelsWin.com: It gets the best results!
Kevin Johnson: Yeah!
AngelsWin.com: So who’s your favorite baseball player?
Kevin Johnson: Of all time?
AngelsWin.com: It can be anybody!
Kevin Johnson: Ryan Klesco
Kevin Johnson: Yeah he was a big time first baseman with Atlanta. My Grandpa was a huge Braves fan so I’d always watch him at home. So that’s one of the reasons I liked ‘18’ because that was Klesco’s number playing first base.
AngelsWin.com: So tell us a little bit about yourself. Where were you born and how did you get into professional baseball?
Kevin Johnson: I was born in Pensacola, Florida. I went to Alabama Southern for Junior College and then the University of West Florida. I set the 7-time Player of the Week for two years so I set the record. Also I was a two-time Louisville Pitcher of the league. Threw a No-Hitter on my mom’s birthday so that was pretty cool!
Kevin Johnson: Then I got married in 2010 right after I got drafted by the Angels and then I worked my way up from there.
AngelsWin.com: Cool! Congratulations on getting married and the No-Hitter! So what do you consider your worst pitch or is there something you are working on this season that you’d like to improve upon?
Kevin Johnson: Probably throwing off-speed for strikes. Sometimes I try to make it too nasty and I leave it hanging or I bounce it in the dirt. I need to trust my mechanics and mainly throw the slider at the right times.
AngelsWin.com: Tell us about your repertoire. What types of pitches do you throw?
Kevin Johnson: I throw a sinker, slider and changeup. I’m also working on a four-seam kind of cutter to use against lefties.
AngelsWin.com: What kind of velocities do you get on those pitches?
Kevin Johnson: Sinker can get as high as 96 mph. Usually I like it to stay at 92-93 mph. Slider stays at about 83 mph. I try to get it (slider) down a little more. The changeup I throw at 87 mph.
AngelsWin.com: So are you able to get them out of the same consistent arm slot?
Kevin Johnson: Yeah that is one of the biggest things trying not to hook it and show it too early.
AngelsWin.com: So what is the most difficult aspect, outside of baseball, of being down in the Minors?
Kevin Johnson: Probably being away from the family. There are things that go on at home that you really can’t be there for. Also the travel but I don’t really mind it as much as some of the other guys do.
AngelsWin.com: Do you have any kids?
Kevin Johnson: No just a dog! She counts though (as a kid).
AngelsWin.com: Yeah I know I have three of them. What kind of dog is it?
Kevin Johnson: It’s a little Papillon mix.
AngelsWin.com: Which person has made a difference in your professional baseball career and why?
Kevin Johnson: I’ve had a lot of influences. Biggest one was probably Kernan Ronan when I first started he taught me how to trust the sinker and to throw it with more confidence and learn to trust it more and more. That was my first instructs and then it took off from there.
AngelsWin.com: Couple of final questions. Angel’s fans like to know stuff about players so what kind of music do you like to listen too?
Kevin Johnson: I’m a big Christian guy. I like Toby Mac for instance. Also a lot of Country music.
AngelsWin.com: Final question for you: Is there one thing that Angel’s fans don’t know about you that they should?
Kevin Johnson: Anything?
AngelsWin.com: Yeah anything. Maybe a hobby or something you like to do in your spare time?
Kevin Johnson: I don’t know…. Hmm…. I like to play golf but don’t get to do it that much. I especially try if I can get out to Southern California with all of those golf courses.
AngelsWin.com: Thank you for your time!
Kevin Johnson: No problem!
Big thanks to Kevin Johnson for taking the time to sit down with AngelsWin.com. Clearly Kevin has a mature approach both on and off the field and it showed in the interview. Kevin is an easy guy to root for and there really is some magic in his sinker. I wish the best to him and his family and hope to see Kevin make an impact in the Majors in the near future.