Kevin Kaczmarski OF
Bats/Throws: L/R Ht: 6’0 Wt: 192 Age: 26 (12/31/91)
When amateur baseball players sign with a Major League baseball organization, they come aboard with a wide variety of skill-sets, development projectories and timelines. Oft, baseball fans will gravitate towards the tool-shed of a freak athlete, who makes weak promises of MVP’s and future dominance. But while every organization needs enough of those hit-or-miss lottery tickets, they also need quality depth throughout the organization. And Kevin Kaczmarski, drafted by the Mets in the 9th round of the 2015 draft, has been just that and more.
That is not to say that Kaczmarksi stands no shot to become a valuable Major Leaguer. Only the future will tell that, but what we do know is that Kaczmarski impressed Mets brass enough to send him out to the Arizona Fall League at the end of his 2017 season, which marked yet another successful campaign for the 26 year old outfielder.
Kaczmarksi goes out there every day, and he hits. He did it for 4 seasons (not including his true freshman season which was lost due to a foot injury) at the University of Evansville. He did it to the tune of a career minor league OPS of .794. He did it again with an .834 OPS in the AFL a few months ago against many of the nations elite prospects. So how does he do it, and what does it portend for the future?
Kaczmarski uses a line drive, gap-to-gap approach from the left side of the plate. Kaczmarski has simple swing mechanics, using a level swing that is oriented for solid contact. To that end, Kaczmarksi boasts an impressive 12% walk rate for his career, which buttresses his career OBP to a robust .376. Kaczmarski has never adopted the high launch angle approach to hitting that is taking baseball by storm these days, but you never know. Often it is the guys like Kaczmarski who have solid pitch recognition skills that can benefit the most from incorporating more loft into their swings.
But for now, Kaczmarski’s path to the big leagues is to be that grinder off the bench, who can play the corner outfield spots, and handle center field capably in a pinch. Something like a Kirk Neuwenheis with a bit less pop, but way less swing and miss. That dirtbag that will grind out good at bats and can get solid wood on the baseball on a consistent basis. Probably never sexy enough to be a regular in this day in age (again, never say never, this was once Justin Turner’s offensive profile as well), it wouldn’t shock me to see Kevin be a nice piece for a winning Mets ball club in the near future. For now, we will see what Kaczmarski can do at the friendly hitting confines of Vegas to begin 2018.