Editor’s note: These interviews took place midseason, but personal circumstances prevented us from publishing them at the time of the interviews. We still wanted to share them even if they are a few months after the fact. Thank you!
Chris Kohler was a highly touted left-hander out of a Southern California high school when the Oakland A’s selected him in the third round of the 2013 MLB Draft. Unfortunately for Kohler, arm injuries have prevented his career from progressing as rapidly as most expected. In 2018, Kohler spent the season with the short-season Vermont Lake Monsters as a reliever, tossing 36 innings over 15 appearances. He had a 4.21 ERA and a 28:16 K:BB.
Donald Moore spoke with the Rancho Cucamonga native during the season.
Donald Moore: How is everything going for you so far this season?
Chris Kohler: It’s good. Happy to be back on a real team. It’s been a long journey with my surgery and just happy to have a healthy arm again.
DM: What are your goals for this season?
CK: To stay healthy, for sure. That’s number one and I have been feeling great all year. I’ve gotten a lot of innings and just build off being able to pitch whenever they need me. I have been hurt a lot so it’s been a struggle to regain my speed if you want to say, so just pitch all year healthy and try to help the team the best I can.
DM: What do you feel is your greatest strength as a ball player now?
CK: I feel as though going out there and having a good time and really enjoying the process of the grind I guess. And just competing.
DM: What would you’d like to improve on?
CK: Getting all my pitches back, my velo back, which has been my biggest ordeal since surgery. So I’d just say velo and working on my pitches.
DM: You have been in professional baseball for over five years now, what do you like best after all these years playing professional baseball?
CK: It’s fun and I guess like I said it earlier, it’s a grind. It’s hot, you have to come into the field everyday and work hard since spring training, but it’s finding enjoyment out of every day I guess. The traveling, hanging out with the guys, we go to NYC in late August, just looking forward to things.
DM: Any pre-game routines?
CK: For me, not really. Have fun and don’t stress so much. Just be ready when your called.
DM: Any hobbies?
CK: Really into adventuring topography.
DM: Favorite baseball team growing up?
CK: I’d have to say the Cardinals. I like Albert Pujols. I liked Josh Hamilton after I read his book. I can’t root for the Angles, so after he went to the Angels I kind of just let him go.
DM: Where are you originally from?
CK: I live in Southern California, Rancho Cucamonga. But, I was originally born in Oakland.
DM: If there is one person that taught you the most about baseball, who would that be?
CK: I’d say my dad. He really didn’t know much about baseball, but he worked hard to get me a hitting coach, or whatever he thought was best for me. Definitely my dad.
DM: Craziest thing you have ever seen on a baseball diamond?
CK: The skunk the other night was pretty crazy and last year pitching in rookie ball, a rookie catcher in his first year was going to block a ball, but fell over his own feet and I thought that was pretty funny.
DM: Any off season plans?
CK: Like I said, I enjoy venturing and traveling. Maybe Europe.
DM: Thank you so much for your time and the best of luck to your health, your career and future.
CK: Thank you, I appreciate it.
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Chris Kohler had a healthy 2018 season.
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