Barrett Kleinknecht was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 12th round of the 2010 MLB draft. Since the initial draft took place Kleinknecht has been working hard, and in return has been able to move his way up through the lower ranks of the minor leagues.
Kleinknecht spent the first 30 games of his 2011 season with Single-A Rome, before finishing out the season with High-A Lynchburg. In that time, Kleinknecht recorded 88 hits in 113 games played. Of those 88 hits, 19 found the gap for doubles and 11 flew over the wall for home runs. Not bad for just his second professional season.
Barrett Kleinknecht–prospect in the Atlanta Braves organization–took the time recently to answer some of my questions:
1.) At what age did you first become interested in baseball? Who was your biggest baseball influence?
Since I can remember I have loved baseball. My dad has been coaching high school baseball for 36 years and I had the privilage of playing for him, so he’s probably my biggest influence.
2.) Who was your favorite baseball player growing up? Why?
Scott Rolen because he played the game hard but stayed out of the spotlight while winning numerous gold gloves and playing in numerous all star games.
3.) You signed with the Braves after being drafted in the 12th round of 2010. What was the process like for you? Where were you when you found out? Initial thoughts?
Pretty much a cut and dry process with being drafted. I was actually hitting with a summer league team when I got the call. It didn’t kick in untill I finished hitting and had around 80 missed calls, and close to 70 text messages.
4.) This past season was your second year of professional ball. What do you feel went well? What do you feel you need to work on for 2012?
I play every position on the field besides pitcher, so being able to compete at the pro level at all of those positions takes a bunch of work and dedication. I didn’t have many errors at all, so defensively I was set. Offensively I need to work on being more patient and hit to the situation.
5.) When’s the first time you were asked for your autograph? Oddest thing you’ve ever signed?
Haha, in college I was on the front of my town’s phonebook, so my sophmore year in college. Probably a cell phone or a flip flop.
6.) Favorite thing to do on an off day during the season?
Fish or shoot guns.
7.) Favorite food?
My grandmas cooking, or just a good southern meal.
8.) Favorite baseball movie? Why?
The Rookie, because it shows that if you love something you should never give it up.
9.) You’re very active on twitter. What do you feel are the advantages and disadvantages of being a ballplayer on twitter?
Biggest advantage is interaction with fans and friends to show them that pro athletes are real people just like everyone else. We (pro athletes) dont understand why people ask for our autographs, but from a fans standpoint autographs make us feel like we are apart of the game.
10.) What advice would you give to kids who are just starting out, that dream of playing professional ball one day?
If you love it, persue it; but dont think it will be an easy road. You lose a lot of friends, but you make new ones and you have to make a ton of sacrifices if you want to be good at it. Don’t let anyone outwork you but when it all comes down to it you have to have fun. After all, baseball is a game.
Big thanks to Barrett Kleinknecht for answering my questions.
You can follow him on twitter: @bkleinknecht