One of the top two-way prospects in the class of 2018 is now off the chart with Kyle Johnson (Newfield) committing to Stony Brook University on Friday night. The SS/RHP is a slick fielder with great pop at the plate and a 87-89 MPH fastball on the hill.
Kyle Johnson (Newfield ’18) on to pitch the third inning for B.A. pic.twitter.com/kkpnvPvRWf
— aXcess Baseball (@axcessbaseball) July 20, 2017
He’s had a great summer, hitting over .300 against top competition. He also compiled a ridiculous 0.69 ERA with 74 strikeouts against only five walks.
I had a chance to talk to him, and here’s what he had to say…
Can you talk about the commit to Stony Brook and how it came about?
I became very familiar with Stony Brook baseball at a very young age. When I was 4 years old I went to many games with my uncle who worked at the university and was always around the Stony Brook team. Ever since I was a kid I wanted to play Division 1 baseball at a school with great academics, and Stony Brook covered every aspect. I first was recruited by Stony Brook going into my sophomore year and after visiting other schools in the area I knew this was the best fit for me. Stony Brook’s trip to the College World Series in 2012 definitely was an eye opener for me watching them play on ESPN, watching local guys doing big things down south showed me that we can compete with anyone in the country. This made me want to be part of this winning program.
Who were some influential people in this decision?
My biggest influence has been my parents. They have molded me not only into the player I am but the person I am as well. The whole Titan family has helped me a lot since joining the organization when I was 11. In particular, Coach Tom Downey, Eric Joyner, and Chris Sipp have helped me a lot.
You will be only a quick drive from home. How important was it for you to stay close to home?
Staying local was a big factor in making my decision because I can have my family and friends at my games in college just as they have been since I started playing the game. Having my family, friends and former coaches being able to see me play is something I will be very grateful for since they have all helped me get to where I am today. Being close to home allows me to be able to stay in touch with people I grew up with. I knew this was the perfect fit for me.
Who are some Major Leaguers you look up to now or when you were younger?
Major League players I look up to are Francisco Lindor and Marcus Stroman. Lindor is an incredible shortstop who plays the game with a lot of passion. He doesn’t take the game for granted and plays with a smile on his face each day. Even when times are tough , his body language never changes and I adore that about him. Nothing will phase him as a player. He’s a great defender as well as hitter and is going to be a franchise player. From a pitching standpoint, Marcus Stroman is someone I look up to. People may say he shows “too much emotion” on the mound, but that’s what I admire about him. His passion for the game is amazing and he clearly shows he is a competitor on the mound. His mound presence sets him apart from the rest and he never lets anything intimidate him. He thrives in the big moments and overcomes a lot of adversity, making him one of the top competitors in the game. These two players I look up to greatly.