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Nelson Koenig Breaks Down Kansas Commitment

The exciting pitching prospect commits to the Jayhawks during an extremely successful JUCO season.
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It’s not every day that your baseball team receives a commitment that causes a lot of excitement. But today, the Jayhawks landed a highly talented junior college pitcher on Friday that could be a huge deal for Dan Fitzgerald's program.

Yavapai College right-handed pitcher Nelson Koenig committed to Kansas. The 19-year-old has been very successful even throughout his high school career. He helped lead his team to the playoffs with a 1.40 ERA. He posted a 0.00 ERA in 14 innings of playoff work. He was named All-Conference, All-Area, and All-Section his junior year for Wayzata High School before moving to Basha High School to complete his high school career.

Following his Kansas offer he spoke with Blue Wings Rising.

“My goal was to have an opportunity to start at a power five school with a team that was highly invested in me,” Koenig stated to Blue Wings Rising. “I had a great connection with the coaching staff there and it was all about family first and winning. The head coach Dan Fitzgerald is from Edina Minnesota and had a strong relationship with my club coach Adam Barta. I play a vertical style of pitching with high spin with the fastball and 12/6 curveball, and Kansas has a lot of experience developing that style of pitching. The technology they use for pitching is top level and state of the art and they develop pitchers like no other.”

Koenig dove deeper into his pitch mix. “The fastball and 12/6 curve are the two pitches I trust the most. I know I can work with those two pitches as complimentary to get out. I love trying new things and new pitches, but I want them to be effective and work within the strategy of my approach to use them in the game. I do mix in a slider and a change but they are primarily used to mix in and keep hitters off balance. My usage is much higher on the 12/6 and the fastball.”

“I’m looking forward to jumping into their program right away. I think their facilities and technology are really going to help me maximize my mechanics. Additionally, I know working with the strength coaches will help me get stronger. Increased strength and better mechanics will make me the best pitcher I can be.” He added a bit more to that statement. “Also, the Big 12 is really good baseball. You play a tough team every weekend and that elevates your game. Iron sharpens iron, you have to play good competition if you want to call yourself a competitor.”

Each pitcher holds a specific role either in the rotation or bullpen. “I’m not shy about wanting to be a starting pitcher. I love the challenge of being tasked with getting the best hitters in a lineup two or three times. That being said, I’m ready to do what the team needs me to do. I just love being in high-pressure situations where I have to execute.”

As mentioned earlier he is currently in JUCO ball and that’s what has raised the attention of colleges like Kansas. “I’ve got a great group of teammates here at Yavapai and I’m excited to see where this season goes. However, I’m excited to get to Lawrence in the summer or fall. I’m still figuring out where I’ll be pitching for summer league.”

“I don’t know if anyone can really be prepared for the JUCO experience. It’s so much different than high school or club, but once you realize that everyone is a fish out of water and is going through the same experiences, it creates some great bonds. It’s a character-building scene that’s for sure.”

“I believe in my stuff, I believe in my ability, and I believe in my work ethic. I have to keep that belief in order to continue to progress and keep taking steps to the next level.”

Below is his stat line so far.

Zero hits, zero runs, 0.00 ERA, eight innings, 12 strikeouts.

Check out some of his highlights below.

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