Q and A – RHP Keaton McKinney – Ankeny HS (IA)
Mack – We’re starting off the 2013-2014 series of interviews of potential 2014 draft picks with the pride of Ankeny High School, in Ankeny, Iowa, 6-5 RHP Keaton McKinney. Hey Keaton, how are things going in Iowa tonight?
Keaton – Everything is going good. We have summer baseball here and played 9 games so far this season.
Mack – Let’s go over your repertoire. I’ve got you with a 91-92 fastball that hits 94, an 11/5 curve that tops at 80, and an 80 change-up. Do you have an update on this?
Keaton – Yes sir, that summary of the repertoire is correct. I’ve thrown eight or nine times this spring. My last outing a couple days ago I sat 92-94 for five innings. I have been working on a slider as well.
Keaton – I’m not sure whether I’m a better pitcher or hitter as of now. I just keep working on getting better at both. Each day I just try to get better at running faster hitting the ball further and more consistently and throwing harder and commanding three pitches.
Mack – I understand you had a private tryout with Boston at Fenway Park in March. Take us through that experience in that historic park.
Keaton – No I did not have a tryout with the Boston Red Sox. I was given a pre-game field pass at a Red Sox spring training game. I did throw and hit for the Washington Nationals during their spring training though.
Mack – See, that’s why it’s important for reporters to talk directly with players rather than write about what other people tell them. Keaton, you have a tough decision to make a year from now and I have no desire to discuss that now, but I am curious what you have planned this ‘off-season’ to help improve on your senior year.
Keaton – Currently I am in my junior year of high school baseball, as we play summer baseball in Iowa. This summer I’m also going to attend the National showcase, Tournament of Stars and hopefully the premier events in August such as the Area Code games. Then I will take a little time off and then start my off-season sessions. My goals will be similar to the past few off seasons to get quicker, more flexible, stronger, and more explosive, work the core, maintain arm care, and do various repetitive drills to make my swing better and my pitching mechanics better.
In the off season sessions, we have goals we want to accomplish over 4-5 months, but we will build our plans one month at a time, sometimes just one week at a time. My parents and my brother help me build plans. I work out with Jeremy Hellickson 3 times a week as we have the same trainer and our families are good friends. I also attend Acceleration Iowa 2-3 times a week. We are also members at a good indoor facility with dirt mounds, iron mikes, a long toss tunnel as well as live hitting cages.
The off season sessions & plans include a lot of tubing, explosion exercises, stretching, weights, swimming and biking. The guy I work with on hitting is big on swinging the bat 500 times a week including dry swings, tee work, short toss and a lot of segment swings. I worked a lot this past winter on hitting to the opposite gap and I am much improved. His style of instruction is to outwork others and work on everything. Regarding pitching I work a lot on mechanics, arm care, command of 3 pitches. I will visit Mr. Spin Williams some during the off season, who is 3 hours away, and he is the pitching coordinator for the Nationals.
I really like baseball and I am blessed to be surrounded by many who help and guide me in baseball and in making good decisions.
Mack – Keaton, thank you for your time and good luck in the future.