Don’t be fooled by that Football photo, you’re still on Sodo Mojo.
Before the draft coverage here at Sodo Mojo, many of you may not have recognized the name above. Some of you still be a little fuzzy on the name. But I challenge you to remember from here on out, because this pick may very well represent the biggest steal of the 2012 draft.
This former Rutgers football star, discovered a wild hair in 2012, deciding to try out for the baseball team after his football eligibility ran dry. Prior to last year, Kivlehan hadn’t picked up a bat in 4 years. Metephorically of course. In all probability he probably has touched a baseball bat in the past for years, though I suppose it is also entirely plausible that perhaps he didn’t. Regardless, he hasn’t played competitive baseball in quite some time before this year. Remember that particular aspect as we jump to his college stats.
- 189 ABs
- .501 wOBA
- 14 HRs
- 24 SB
Those numbers have not been altered for dramatic effect. Kivlehan took four years off, focused entirely on football, got bored, and came back to put of those numbers. Unreal. Just for comparison, lets take a look at Dustin Ackley’s college stats the year we took him second overall.
- 250 ABs
- 22 HRs
- 13 SB
While we’re at it, we’ll take a look at this years first round selection: Mike Zunino.
- 231 ABs
- .446 wOBA
- 18 HRs
- 9 SB
Kivlehan won the Big East triple crown… those numbers don’t scream 131st overall pick. So why? Why, with those stellar numbers, did he drop all the way to us in round 4? In reality, 189 ABs is a minuscule sample size for a player. While the numbers were gaudy, he simply hasn’t played enough baseball to convince many teams he was worth the pick. The Mariners ultimately decided the risk was worth it.
"“Here’s a kid who hasn’t played much baseball. This kid played for football for Rutgers. I believe he was a third safety. We were really surprised by how this guy picked up and basically led the Big East in every offensive category. He got better and better as the season went on.”Of the recently-crowned Big East Player of the Year, McNamara added: “He’s physical, he’s strong, he’s athletic, and he likes to play. And he’s got character, so he has a lot of intangibles there.”Tom McNamara"
Kivlehan plays third, though some doubt he will be able to stick at the position, another reason perhaps his value was somewhat drained. So here comes another “why”. Why am I so excited for this guy if 29 other teams weren’t willing to take him a chance on him?
Because Kivlehan is the ultimate sleeper. His potential is tremendous. It’s extremely hard to fake the numbers he posted this season, and even harder for a player who had taken a four year hiatus from the sport. The strength and agility he gained from his time as a football player is only going to help him as he adapts to professional baseball. Most of all the like where he was selected. No one is going to complain if a fourth rounder flames out, or metamorphoses into a quad-A player. But if Kivlehan figures it out, if he can put it all together, then the Mariners suddenly have made themselves look extremely intelligent. Fans expect much from their first round draft picks, but it is all the sweeter when a player from the lower rounds comes out of relatively nowhere and becomes a star. He may only have a year of baseball under his belt, but that doesn’t bother me. I would be just as intruiged as McNamara, and I have to believe that he was a little shocked that Kivlehan was still sitting there come the 4th round.
Kivlehan has the potential to be one of those players associated with the 2012 draft for the rest of his career. Risk dictated the level at which he was drafted. But I can think of at least one other player who happened to be drafted lower than Kivlehan who ended up being a Hall of Fame catcher. I’m sure Mike Piazza can tell you that it’s not impossible to beat the odds.