Supplemental 2013 third-round pick Chris Kohler opened a lot of eyes with an impressive professional debut season with the Arizona Rookie League A's. Unfortunately, Kohler was unable to build off of the momentum of his debut season after he injured his forearm during spring training last year. The injury didn't require surgery but it would cost him the entire regular season.
Kohler returned to the mound during the A's fall Instructional League and he was given a clean bill of health going into the off-season. After spending the first half of the 2015 season in extended spring training, Kohler joined the Vermont Lake Monsters in late June. Although he has missed some time with a hamstring injury, Kohler has been otherwise healthy this year. In 31.2 innings, Kohler has a 4.83 ERA and a 33:7 K:BB.
Donald Moore spoke with Kohler during a late July Lake Monsters' roadtrip to upstate New York.
Donald Moore: Hi Chris, how is everything going for you so far this season?
Chris Kohler: It's been very good. I feel good coming off an injury from last year, so really good.
DM: What are your goals for this season?
CK: Hopefully move up another level because I feel like I dropped because of my injury obviously and just keep throwing strikes and keep getting people out.
DM: What do you feel is your greatest strength as a ball player?
CK: Just being left handed, using that for my advantage.
DM: What would you like to improve on?
CK: Keep getting in on hitters, getting back on my curveball and keep improving my change up.
DM: It's your second full year in professional baseball. How are you adjusting to it this year?
CK: I feel very well. My high school coach played pro ball, as well, so he helped me learn how to pitch, how to pitch inside. When I came into professional baseball, I already kind of knew how to do that, so I feel like that helped me.
DM: Who was your coach?
CK: Scott Rivette. [Former A's, Blue Jay and Mariner minor league pitcher.]
DM: What is the best thing about being a pro athlete?
CK: Just living the dream. You grow up wanting to do it and you actually get to do it. It's unreal.
DM: Any pre-game routines?
CK: Not really. Just when I start warming up, don't touch anything.
DM: Any hobbies?
CK: I like photography. I picked up surfing this off-season and just hanging out with family and friends.
DM: Favorite baseball team growing up?
CK: The Texas Rangers. I like Josh Hamilton. We just got done actually talking about his book on how real it is and beyond belief. It's cool.
DM: If there is one person who taught you the most about baseball, who would that be?
CK: I would say Dave Coggin. He pitched with the Phillies, got drafted in 1995, pitched with Philadelphia in the early 2000s. He's had a big impact on me.
DM: Craziest thing you have ever seen on a baseball diamond?
CK: I'd probably say Vicmal de la Cruz rolling down the first base line. That's probably the craziest thing that I have ever seen on a baseball diamond.
DM: Where do you see yourself and your baseball career in the future?
CK: Hopefully in the bigs, being one of those lefties that everyone looks upon and be a good role model to little kids and all that and just do well.
DM: Chris, thank you so much for your time and the best of luck to you and your career.
CK: Thank you, nice meeting you, too.