Prep Baseball Report

Q&A with Vanderbilt Commit Erik Kaiser

By Matt Huck           
Area Scout

2017 RHP Erik Kaiser from Waterloo recently committed to National powerhouse Vanderbilt. Kaiser is currently ranked No. 12 in the Illinois Class of 2017 and No. 80 in the PBR Overall Ranks. He joins Waterloo teammates Tyler McAlister (Missouri State) and Jordan McFarland (Arkansas) as Division I commits.  Kaiser had been garnering interest from SEC schools since last winter, and shortly after his performance at the PBR Future Games committed to the Commodores. Here is a report from the Future Games.

Erik KaiserFuture Games 2015 - Big bodied 6-foot-4, 190-pound right-handed pitcher matched Corrigan for best fastball velocity on Team Illinois, also touching 90 mph over the weekend at the Future Games. The power-armed right-hander seems to just be scratching the surface of his potential. His easy fastball sat 87-89 mph. His arm works long and over the top but when out in front creates some downhill tilt to his fastball. When Kaiser gets on top and out front, the ball jumps out of his hand.  Showed feel for a 12/6 curveball with good depth at 73-77 mph. Routinely dropped it in for strikes during his stints on the mound. Throws a change-up at 76-77 mph. His three pitch repertoire leads me to believe he could be a legitimate weekend starter at the next level. Proved to have swing and miss offerings in his two innings of work at the Future Games Kaiser by recording all his outs via the strikeout, a total of six.

PBR: What were your expectations about the recruiting process? Was it as expected? Easy/Difficult? 

Kaiser: I really had no expectations; I just focused on getting better. I knew if I worked hard the recruiting process would take care of itself. It was fun visiting some great schools during the process. 

PBR: What were you looking for out of a college program to continue your baseball career at? 

Kaiser: A combination of a coaching staff that can help me become a better player and athlete, an elite baseball program with history playing in the College World Series, and excellent academics to match. 

PBR: Did location or distance from home play a factor in your decision? 

Kaiser: Distance did not really play a huge factor in my decision making process, however Vanderbilt was close enough to home here in Waterloo for family to come watch me play which was something I had added into consideration. 

PBR: When did the recruiting process really start to heat up for you? Was there a particular game or event that you feel turned the corner for you?

Kaiser: There were several events and showcases that coaches had the chance to watch me play, but the college recruiting really began to accelerate after I pitched at the PBR Future Games in Indiana.

PBR: Where did the college you chose first see you? How did your relationship develop with them?

Kaiser: I first talked to Coach Jewett from Vanderbilt in February because he saw some video of me and I was referred to them by coach Strickland with the Pirates. Vanderbilt then watched me pitch in a game at the 17U WWBA tournament in Atlanta and again at the PBR Future Games. After that I spoke with Coach Brown several times on the phone before we went for a visit. 

PBR: What do you like most about the college you committed to and what were the key factors in making your decision?

Kaiser: Vanderbilt is a great baseball school, with a tradition of winning and producing professional players. I just felt at home there with the coaches and the campus. 

PBR: What other schools were on your short list before you made your final decision?

Kaiser: Missouri State, Ole Miss, Mississippi State.

PBR: Who is the best player you have faced in your state, and why?

Kaiser: I faced a lot of great hitters over the summer from all over the country, but my teammate Kevin Graham who is going to Ole Miss is probably one of the hardest kids for me to get out. I have faced him several times in showcases and Pirate intersquad games.  

PBR: 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?

Kaiser: I always wanted and believed I would play college baseball but I didn't really know at what level until this past summer.   

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

Kaiser: Having fun is the #1 priority. You have to love the game and love to work hard to get better. 

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

Kaiser: Pitching at the PBR Future Games in front of 100 scouts.  Playing with and against the best talent in the country was an awesome experience.

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

Kaiser: We are going to have a great team and I think we are going to have a chance to make a run at state.  We have several D1 commits as well as several other kids that are going to play college at some level.  I'm really looking forward to our season.

PBR: Where do you play in the summer? And what has been your most memorable experience with them?

Kaiser: I play with the St. Louis Pirates, my most memorable experience has been working with coach Brett Huber who has been instrumental in my development as a pitcher.

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