The Oakland A’s have had Max Kuhn on their radar for a long time. He originally drew the A’s interest in 2011 when he was starring for Zionsville (IN) High School. Kuhn elected to go to college rather than sign with the A’s as their 24th-round pick in 2011. Three years later, the A’s still liked what they saw from Kuhn, who went to the A’s in the 13th-round of the 2014 draft. This time, the A’s were able to get their man.
Kuhn had a slow start to his career at Kentucky, but he put together a standout junior season in 2013. In 62 games with the Wildcats, Kuhn hit .324/.437/.494 with eight homers and a 43:49 BB:K.
After signing with the A’s, Kuhn was sent to the Arizona Rookie League, where he appeared in seven games before being promoted to short-season Vermont. He collected three extra-base hits in those seven games. With Vermont, Kuhn got off to a slow start, but he finished the year red-hot. He posted a .333/.400/.456 line in 26 games for the Lake Monsters in August. Kuhn finished the year with a solid .277/.348/.418 line in 52 games. He hit four homeruns and drove-in 23.
Defensively, Kuhn was a jack-of-all-trades. Kuhn appeared in games at third base, second base, left field and first base. This fall, Kuhn will be adding another glove to his collection. He will work behind the plate during Instructs, as the A’s try to see if Kuhn can add catcher to his defensive repertoire.
Donald Moore spoke with the Indiana native during the Lake Monsters’ final road trip about his 2014 professional debut season and more…
Donald Moore: How's everything going for you this season?
Max Kuhn: It's going great. I'm learning a lot, coming from the college game over to the pro game. Different type of pitching. It's all been a great learning experience.
DM: What were your goals for this year?
MK: Obviously, just come in and try to do well, that was the big thing. I've had my ups and downs and I didn't necessarily have any specific goals. Just trying to get comfortable in the pro ball system. So I think so far it's been alright.
DM: What do you feel is your greatest strength as a ball player?
MK: I think my ability to drive a ball to the other side of the field. That's definitely has been my strength. I've been able to drive a couple balls into the opposite field and I'd would say hitting is my overall biggest strength.
DM: What would you like to improve on?
MK: My defense, that's a big thing. Just finding a position and being able to play multiple positions and being able to play those positions and be comfortable.
DM: How are you adjusting to professional baseball?
MK: The lifestyle and playing everyday. I love it. I feel good coming out everyday and having the same attitude, so that's a big thing. But just be able to perform against that high level of baseball everyday because in college, you are playing three, four times a week, and here it's everyday against a guy who usually throws on the weekends for their college. Overall I've been adjusting to it very well.
DM: Any pregame routine?
MK: No. Just staying positive, be happy at the ballpark and just love playing the game.
DM: Favorite thing you like to do off the field?
MK: Just get on the computer and look up something on the news that interests me, something new. Staying in society a little bit while you busy traveling and stuff.
DM: Favorite team growing up?
MK: I'm not sure I can answer that but, growing up in New Jersey when I was kid, my favorite team was the New York Yankees.
DM: If there is one person who taught you the most about baseball, who would that be?
MK: Gosh, I had so many great coaches. I mean my dad definitely. He is a huge influence on me my whole baseball career, but I have already learned a lot from manager David Newhan and [hitting] coach Tommy Everidge, from just being here for a month and a half to two months. It's been great. Just being like a sponge and absorbing all the information they are giving us. They have already have taught me so much, it's pretty crazy look back and think about.
DM: Craziest thing you ever saw on a baseball diamond?
MK: A streaker. My freshman summer in college, some guy -- butt naked, dressed only with only socks -- ran across right field and past third base.
DM: Where do you see yourself in the future playing professional baseball?
MK: Hopefully, keep working and trying to get to the big leagues sometime in my career, whether that's in five years, 10 years, whatever. I just want to make it up there and stay there.
DM: Max, thank you so much for your time and the best of luck to you..
MK: Thank you.