Q&A with Purdue commit Jake Kuntzendorf

By Andy Sroka
Staff Writer

Jake Kuntzendorf, the righty who’s enjoyed a decorated summer featuring a complete game victory in the 1A state title game for Aurora Christian, the program’s first-ever state championship, and an invite to the PBR Future Games as a member of Team Illinois, capped the season with a commitment to Purdue. Along the way, Kuntzendorf went from an unranked prospect to highly ranked, with a spot right near his state class’ top 10. In Westfield, Ind., at Future Games, the big righty touched 90 mph, sat in the upper 80s, and showcased a breaking ball he’s been utilizing as an out-pitch throughout 2018.

In this whirlwind summer, we had the chance to speak with Kuntzendorf about his commitment to Purdue as well as his fondest memories in his baseball career, to this point.


Jake Kuntzendorf RHP / Aurora Christian, IL / 2020

6-foot-2, 190-pound athletically-built with a strong frame, right-handed pitcher, projectable. Operates with a short, loose arm action, clean on the back-side, accelerates quickly to release point with regular effort. Tall and fall delivery, leads with hip, long stride down mound, works on-line, lands toe-closed, finishes athletically. Fastball, mostly straight, cut at-times, commanded, sat 85-86, touched 87. Changeup, maintains arm speed, heavy fade, located for strikes, 76-80.  Curveball, 12/6 shape, can be sharp, 67-71. Slider, similar to curveball, located arm-side, 69-71. High follow 2020.


PBR: What were your expectations about the recruiting process? Was it easier or more difficult than you anticipated?

Kuntzendorf: I was anticipating the recruiting process would go smoothly and it would be stress-free… I thought wrong. I found myself a little stressed about the whole thing and it was almost too overwhelming. It’s a good problem to have though, having a lot of schools talk to you, but after I narrowed down my decision to Purdue, it’s been smooth sailing.

P: What were you looking for out of a college program to continue your baseball career at? Did location play a role?

K: Mainly, I was looking to see where I could see myself without baseball. Do I like the campus? Do they have what I needed for school? Another point I was looking at was if could I see myself grow with the coaching staff and compete for a national championship. Thirdly, I was looking to see if I got along with the coaching staff. As far as location, yes and no. It would have been nice for my parents to come see my games but if I liked a college far away that I just fell in love with, I’d have to consider it.

P: When did the recruiting process really start to heat up for you? Was there a particular game or event that you feel accelerated the buzz around you?

K: My recruiting process started when I was a sophomore. I got a couple looks around then, but the one event that sparked my recruitment was the PBR Future Games for sure. After pitching in front of 200-plus scouts my phone rang off the hook.

P: What do you like most about Purdue and what were the key factors in making your decision?

K: My favorite thing about Purdue was the coaching staff. They are all experienced and have mindsets like me. The key factors were if I liked the coaches and if I could see myself getting better as a player there.

P: At what point in your career did you realize you were a college-caliber player and became serious about taking your game to the next level?

K: When I pitched a complete game in the state finals and won the 1A state title. I felt like I could pitch at any level then.

P: What advice would you give to young baseball players striving to get where you are?

K: The advice I would give to young baseball players would be don’t let anyone set your limits for you. I was told many of times at an early age I couldn’t play at the elite level but you can’t listen to them. I’m a firm believer in never giving up on your dream and if you have your mind set on something, then don’t let anyone stop you until you get there.

P: What is the most memorable moment in your baseball career to this point?

K: Committing to Purdue. That was the best moment in my baseball career because you can look back and feel good about all the hard work you put in. But at the same time you’re not satisfied because you still have to get to the next level after college.

P: Preview your high school season for us. How do you feel your team will be? What are your expectations and goals?

K: I feel my high school team will be great this year. We all have that mindset to win state again and encourage each other if something doesn’t go our way. As our goal every year is to not end the season on a loss, aka win the state title.