Today, we get to know Mitchell Kranson. The Twins drafted the catcher from the University of California in Berkeley with their ninth-round draft pick in 2016. He put together a solid first full season. Berkeley has become a team that the Twins draft many players from. They didn’t draft any in 2017, but in addition to Kranson, the Twins took Alex Schick (6th) and Ryan Mason (13th) from Berkeley. In 2015, the Twins took Chris Paul in the sixth round. In 2014, the Twins took Trevor Hildenberger in the 22nd round and then Michael Theofanopoulos in the 30th round.Kranson spent four years at Cal, and after the draft, he went to Elizabethton for the remainder of the 2016 season. In 2017, he began the year in Cedar Rapids. After helping the Kernels to a first-half playoff berth, he moved up to Ft. Myers for the remainder of the season.
Today, we have the opportunity to get to know a little bit about Mitchell Kranson. Thank you Mitchell!
Seth Stohs (SS): Growing up in California, who were some of your favorite players and teams? Do you follow other professional or college sports teams throughout the offseason?
Mitchell Kranson (MK): I grew up an Oakland A's fan. I am a Golden State Warrior fan as most of my Twins teammates know since I put almost every game on the TV whenever they are on.SS: What was your recruitment as a high school athlete like for you, and what was it about Berkeley that made it the right choice for you?
SS: You played all over the field during your four college seasons. Tell us about your position history there, and do you think that has been beneficial for you as you’ve started your pro career?
MK: My recruitment in high school was a lot of fun. Stressful at times, but I really enjoyed the whole process. I took my time and didn't commit to a school before I was ready. I did my research and visited many schools, but in the end, the combination of world-class academics and being able to play in the Pac 12 made my decision to go to CAL one of the best decisions of my life.
MK: I have always taken pride in being able to play multiple positions. I want to be in the lineup every day and if playing more positions gives me a better opportunity to be in the game, then I have no problem making sure I am ready to play all over the field. I think it has really helped me in my pro career so far!
SS: What was the highlight (or two) of your time in college at Cal? Any memories that really stand out?
MK: My biggest highlight of my time at CAL was hitting a walk-off home run in the 14th inning of the Texas A&M regional on ESPN.
SS: What was it like for you leading up to the draft? Were there a lot of scouts, and specifically, did you speak with scouts from the Twins?
SS: The Twins selected you with their ninth-round pick in 2016. Was that about where you were expecting to be selected? What were your initial thoughts when it was the Twins that selected you?
MK: Leading up to the draft my senior year I had heard from nearly every team and spoken extensively with a few, including the Twins. It was a nervous yet exciting time!
MK: I had a pretty good idea that I would be selected on the second day of the draft. I was extremely excited that the Twins decided to pick me and give me a chance to live out my dream of playing professional baseball
SS: What was the transition to pro baseball like for you, both on and off the field?
SS: Your season has been done for a couple of months now. Have you had a chance to reflect on your season? In doing so, what are your thoughts on your first full season as a professional baseball player?
MK: I felt very prepared coming from Cal and playing in the Pac 12 for professional baseball. Nothing can completely prepare you for the grind of playing every day but after my first full season I learned it's all about preparation and sticking to a routine.
SS: You were part of a Cedar Rapids team that earned a playoff berth in the first half, and helped the Miracle to the second-half playoff spot. As a player, how do you weigh the idea of winning versus the idea of development and advancement up the organizational ladder?
MK: Yes, I have had a chance to reflect on my season. I was very happy with my season. I was a part of two great teams and had a bunch of great coaches make my first full season a memorable one. I have a lot to work on and that's what the off season is for so I will be ready for Spring Training.
SS: What was that adjustment like for you from the Midwest League to the Florida State League? Did you notice much difference?
MK: It's always fun to be able to play for something. We were able to do that in Cedar Rapids and in Fort Myers. It was obvious that when our team was winning, our personal stats were better. It was an honor to be a part of both playoff teams. I think we have a really good group of guys.
MK: The biggest difference was the heat and humidity. Catching was tougher because you're just soaking wet of sweat.
SS: What were your thoughts about playing for Tommy Watkins and Brian Dinkelman, and then Doug Mientkiewicz and Steve Singleton? Maybe some styles are different, but were you able to glean information from each of them?
SS: How would you describe yourself as a player? What are your strengths?
MK: Playing for Tommy and Dink in my first experience of full season ball was great. They were extremely loose but when it was time to turn it on, they were serious. They were great resources to have while in Cedar Rapids and with their help and knowledge of the game, they absolutely helped me get the mid season call up to Fort Myers. I loved playing for Doug. Both he and Sing really helped me with my hitting approach. It would be ridiculous to not listen to Doug after the career he had. I was all ears trying to learn as much as I could from him.
SS: What are the areas of your game that you hope to work on this offseason to improve as you look to 2018?
MK: I would describe myself as someone who comes prepared to play everyday and will do whatever it takes to win. I love to hit, but I know that I have the defense to not just be a hitter.
MK: I felt pretty consistent last season hitting, but I want to keep improving on being consistent. I also have continued to improve my catching!
SS: Have you been able to do to get away from baseball this offseason at all? What do you do outside of baseball for fun?
SS: At what point do you not only start thinking about the 2018 season, but when do your workouts and preparation begin? Do you think you’ll do anything new or different after going through a full season?
MK: GOLF. and Golf a lot!
SS: Did you learn anything about yourself, or did anything surprise you about working through a full season?
MK: After getting home, I took about a week and a half off. I think I did three weeks of pre training where I would go to gym and get my body ready for my actual training with my trainer that started October 1st. I've been in the gym since then, mostly twice a day working with my trainer getting my body ready. It really helped me last year so I have committed even more this year .
SS: Who are some of the people who have helped you get to this point in your career?
MK: All the days seem to be the same. Some days I didn't know what day of the week it was because they all just started to blend together. With that said, I learned how to turn the switch on to be ready to compete each and every day!
SS: There are probably some high school baseball players reading this. What would one piece of advice be that you would share with them, or share with a 14-year-old Mitchell?
MK: I have had a lot of people help me get to the point I am in my career. Of course, my family has helped me out with their constant support and then all of my coaches as well. They all taught me how to play the game the right way. Also, my trainer, JJ, has changed my career and my body!
SS: Favorite Baseball Movie?
MK: I would say that when being recruited, enjoy it and take it all in, but make sure that you never give a coach a reason to cross you off his list of players for something that doesn't have to do with your baseball abilities.
MK: The Rookie
Thank you very much to Mitchell Kranson for sharing his responses with the Twins Daily readers. Feel free to discuss or ask questions in the comments below.
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