Strongsville Baseball Alumni Question & Answer
Kris Hall – Class of 2009
Current Pitcher – Oakland Athletics Organization
Since graduating from Strongsville High School, you have had the opportunity to sign an NCAA Letter of Intent to a D1 college baseball team, then transfer and become an NAIA All-American and pitch in the NAIA College World Series for Lee University. Finally, you were drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 8th round of the 2012 draft last June. Describe how far you’ve come from a freshman in college to a professional pitcher.
Kris: Cleveland State was a great experience but was not for me and I did not feel I was making strides to get better as a player most of all. After transferring to Lee I really got reenergized about the game and really enjoyed going to the weight room, training room, ball park, and etc. I think the biggest stride I have made from freshman year till now, is I have grown up and become a man. I do not take my responsibilities lightly. I have always had a good work ethic but I think I have gained more knowledge and how to apply it to the game.
Since signing a pro contract, what’s been the most memorable moment in your pro career?
Kris: I have so many memories that I can’t really pin point one but I have a few. Striking out the side against Team USA when I played for the Gastonia Grizzlies in the Coastal Plains Summer League, Being named to the NAIA All-American team last year and of course being drafted are also accomplishments that I treasure.
What was it like pitching for Lee University in the NAIA College World Series?
Kris: Anytime you get to play in a highly competitive atmosphere like that is special, but mainly the memories you share with your teammates, because you will carry those with you the rest of your life, not just the results of the games.
You’ve always been regarded as a highly athletic pitcher who has the ability to run your fastball up in the 95-96mph range. What do you attribute to that success? Mechanics, mental game, training, maturity, etc?
Kris: My work ethic has always carried me, I knew from a young age I was not as gifted as a lot of others and I had to work harder to get the results I wanted. Being able to step on the mound knowing you did all you could to prepare yourself for the start or that at bat is very reassuring, mentally and physically.
Is there a big-league pitcher you try to emulate or compare yourself to? If so, explain why.
Kris: I’m old school. I have always really enjoyed Nolan Ryan and the way he just attacked and attacked, granted he threw a bit harder but I think pitchers today get away from being aggressive and “nibble” a little too much in the zone. Be aggressive and go after every hitter regardless of who it is or what level of baseball you are at. Remember the odds are always on the pitcher’s favor.
What’s the best thing about professional baseball that most people never consider or are unaware of?
Kris: I would have to say the friendships you make with your teammates. We spend everyday together for about 6-8 months, so having a few buddies to hang out with makes it a lot more fun, especially when things are not going so well.
What’s the worst thing about professional baseball that most people never consider or are unaware of?
Kris: I spent the past summer in Burlington, VT, playing for the Vermont Lake Monsters and we were a little farther from the other teams in the New York Penn League. Our bus rides were anywhere from 4-13 hours and after awhile it gets pretty tough to get rested and stay up on your nutrition.
Describe the typical day in the minor leagues as a pitcher.
Kris: People always think that pitchers don’t do anything, but it is quite the opposite. We would show up to the ball park at around 1:30 to run, throw and get our workouts in, mind you our games were not till 7. Then we get a break or head to the training room if you need to get some more work done. After that we have to shag batting practice for about an hour, then hopefully you could just hang out until the game. But pitchers have a lot of work to get done before the game even starts to prepare for their next game.
What are your plans after professional baseball? What do you see yourself doing?
Kris: I still have about a year left of school, so I would definitely go back and finish up. I haven’t given it too much thought but I would love to get into baseball if the opportunity presented itself.
If you could give a current Strongsville baseball player any advice, what would it be?
Kris: Just give it your all, be open to learn new things, and enjoy the game. We are all not promised to play and eventually everyone has to retire, so enjoy the game and approach it with a positive attitude because it is a privilege to get to play, not a right. I still look back at my experiences that I had with my teammates throughout high school and trust me they will mean more than you can even imagine right now.