Sunday, August 11, 2013

Random Prospect of the Day: Casey Kalenkosky

When drafted, players don't sign for a variety of reasons.  Money, usually.  Sometimes, however, it's a commitment to a team and to its players.  A promise to finish an education.  For Casey Kalenkosky, when the Washington Nationals took him in the 13th round in 2011, he surprisingly returned to Texas State for a senior season in 2012.  Kalenkosky, who goes by "Ory" from his middle name Orion, probably cost himself a good penny since he wasn't drafted until the 30th round in 2012.  However, he gets to be a Brave and not a National so...good choice?

Ory was born in San Antonio on October 28, 1989.  Nine days later, as Kalenkosky's parents were still overjoyed with their new baby, the Braves signed Greg Olson.  I really stretched for that one.  Anywho, Ory graduated from John Marshall High School and went to Cisco Junior College to refine his game and have his tomorrow start there.  That's two really big stretches already.  

At Cisco, Ory was a NJCAA All-American as a freshman and took home an MVP after a sophomore campaign that gave him a .400 career average with 13 HR and 75 RBI.  Texas State offered Ory a shot, believing he could be a middle-of-the-lineup mature hitter for a team featuring 2011 3rd rounder Kyle Kubitza.  Two years before, T-State had lost their first baseman - some dude called Paul Goldschmidt - and they were looking for a guy to be a steady bat at the position for them.  Ory was super during his junior season for Texas State.  He slashed .328/.404/.656, setting a record at T-State with 21 HR.  He was instrumental in getting the Bobcats to the NCAA Championships and took home ABCA Third Team All-American honors.  

The Bobcats were a popular pick in 2012 and Ory was a big part of that.  However, his numbers took a rapid fall.  He slashed .266/.352/.488, a good two hundred point in OPS.  The biggest worry for Ory coming into the draft for 2012 was whether or not his strike-zone discipline would be good enough to make his bat formidable.

Drafted in the 30th round and the 929th overall player, Ory finished 2012 with Danville playing 26 games at first base with 34 overall.  Strikeouts were an issue as he picked up 30 K's in 130 ABs, but he did walk 18 times.  But the Braves were expecting far more in the power department than two home-runs, which also happened in a span of three games.  

Promoted to Rome to open 2013, Ory has been a regular fixture in the lineup for the uberly-talented Rome Braves.  He's also been used more at catcher, a position he played from time-to-time in college.  He has laced up the gear 21 times and added 33 games at first.  To get him into the lineup more, he's even played 18 games as the DH.  Unfortunately for him, the regular playing time hasn't produced very solid results.  He's improved his K rate, but is still only slashing .239/.325/.366.  He's homered just six times, last on June 11th.  He even was utilized as a pitcher on June 25th.  After Alex Wilson, who I profiled here, had given up three runs in the top of the 11th, Ory got the call as the sixth pitcher of the day.  With a runner, Ory intimidated Kannapolis outfielder Jason Coats into a fly-out to end the 11th.  

Ory is the kind of guy you cheer for, even if only because he spurred the Nationals and signed with the Braves. The lack of power is concerning as that was Ory's bread-and-butter when he was drafted.  However, the power has been MIA during his underwhelming senior season with Texas State and first 105 games as a professional.  His ability to get behind the plate improves his value, but it's unlikely his defense at catcher is good enough to keep him there.  He's already 23.  The average Rome Brave hitter and average SALLY hitter is 21.7.  The average pitcher is also 21.7.  If Ory was much of a prospect, he should excel against younger pitchers.  Still, he was a nice guy to take a chance on considering his junior year and the fact he was sitting there in the 30th round.  

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