The Royals had a successful MLB Draft about one week ago. They selected players like Asa Lacy from Texas A&M and Nick Loftin from Baylor. With the draft only being 5 rounds this season compared to it usually being 40 rounds, this now leaves many high-school and college players not being picked. Last Sunday, those players were able to sign with Major League clubs for $20,000. Kale Emshoff was one of many players the Kansas City Royals signed last Sunday. I had the opportunity to chat with Emshoff and talk about what the signing process was like, what his favorite memory of college ball was, and much more.
First off, here is a little background on Kale Emshoff.
For the last 3 years, Kale Emshoff attended the University of Arkansas-Little Rock. He is a catcher and during his freshman season in 2017, he batted .214 with 11 RBI’s in 39 games. During the 2018 season, Emshoff added more power to his game. In 56 games he hit .273 with 4 home-runs and 26 RBI’s. The young catcher was ready to break out during the 2019 campaign. However, he spent the 2019 season recovering from Tommy John surgery for an injury sustained during fall practices.
Emshoff was off to a hot start in 2020, drawing attention from national media. He ranked 8th in home runs (7), 9th in total bases (48) and 11th in slugging percentage (.800). He also led the Sun Belt Conference in each statistical category while also batting a league-best .417. However, the 2020 college baseball season was cut short due to the global coronavirus pandemic.
For his career, Emshoff played in 112 games with 103 starts, batting .280 with 11 home runs, 24 doubles and 49 RBI. Behind the dish, he posted a .986 fielding percentage, registering nearly 800 put outs in under 3 seasons.
Question 1: What was it like coming back from Tommy John surgery and only having to play 17 games this past spring?
“Coming back from Tommy John surgery was a roller coaster of emotions but at the same time an exciting learning experience. In my opinion, I think I handled it quite well. Going through rehab was almost like Christmas every two weeks because I was able to move forward with my rehab exercises and eventually got to the throwing portion of it. The 17 games still shocks me to say out load that that actually happened but at the end of the day it is what it is and I’m just thankful to be on the field for the 17 games.”
Question 2: What was your reaction to the announcement of college baseball suspending their season?
“My initial reaction to the ending of college baseball was sad but also confident that it would start up again in the future.”
Question 3: What did you like most about Arkansas-Little Rock? Favorite Memory?
“I love the coaching staff and team the most. We are all hard working blue collar baseball players that are going to fight for the last out of every game.”
“Favorite memory, hitting a 3-run home run to tie the ball game against Louisiana Lafayette at their field my sophomore year.”
Question 4: Were you committed to going to pro ball or did you want to go back to college?
“At the start of draft, I was committed to going pro. But, when I realized that I wasn’t going to be drafted I definitely viewed all options and thought about my decision, ultimately I wanted to be a pro and that’s what I did.”
Question 5: Describe to me what the Un-drafted signing process was like? Did you have several teams contact you?
“The signing process was exciting and hectic at the same time. Calls opened up at 8 central time that morning and within the first minute, I had over 15-20 calls and messages wanting to talk to me.”
Question 6: What are you most excited about joining the Kansas City Royals Organization?
“I’m excited most about the Royals to learn about the way they carry their organization. I’m excited to see the people within and make more friends through the game of baseball.”
Question 7: What have you been doing for workouts during the pandemic?
Drills, practice, and workouts right now consist of a lot of running, throwing and hitting every day. And catching drills when I can get inside a cage.”
Emshoff has had to adjust to many obstacles in his way. For example, a shortened 2020 season and recovering from Tommy John. Kale Emshoff will now go through the Royals Minor League System and continue on pursuing his life-long dream of making it to the Majors.
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