Where Are They Now: Connor Kaiser


Tino Abarca and Andy Urban
Kansas Staff

In our Where Are They Now Series, we highlight prospects to see where they are now and how they got there. From attending PBR events to now performing at some of the highest levels the game has to offer, these prospects are interesting follows. Today, we'll check in on Connor Kaiser.

Kaiser, a 2015 grad of Blue Valley West, was always among the top prospects in the country. He was a sure-handed SS with quick feet and soft hands. It was a given that anything near him was an out. It didn't hurt that he had a strong arm to assist his dynamic fielding skill set - an arm that touched the low 90's on the mound, too.

Kaiser's prep accolades included 2015 All-Eastern Kansas League - 1st Team,  2014 PBR Kansas Preseason All-State - First Team, 2013 All-East Kansas League - Second Team and Rawlings Gold Glove honors. He was considered a serious draft prospect his senior year, being ranked No. 1 in KS and No. 51 overall. 

Kaiser attended the Super 60 in 2015 to boost his draft stock, where he performed in front of MLB scouts. There, he cemented himself as one of the top infielders in the country. 

Kaiser (2/1/15)

 

Kaiser would make it to campus in Nashville, he immediately contributed as a freshman at Vanderbilt. He hit .261 with 19 RBI and only committed a handful of errors in 46 games played his freshman season. Kaiser was named to the All-SEC Freshman Team.

 

 

Kaiser continued his stellar play at the collegiate level. By his sophomore season, he was the opening day shortstop. He played a large part in Vanderbilt's post season success in 2017 and 2018, beating Clemson each year.

Kaiser (3/7/18)


In that 2018 regional final, Vanderbilt thumped nine home runs which tied an NCAA Tournament record. Kaiser, himself, tied another NCAA Tournament record by driving in 10 runs during the 19-6 victory with the help of a three homer game. A performance worthy of winning the Regional's Most Valuable Player.

 

 

Kaiser's 2018 season - and Vanderbilt career -  would end with a loss to Mississippi State in the Super Regionals. But, Kaiser had a year for the books. He was named to the All-SEC Defensive Team with a .988 fielding percentage and listed as a finalist for the Rawlings Gold Glove award. He also hit .293 and hit six homers, knocking in 46 runs. 

On June 5, 2018, Kaiser was selected in the third round (No. 86 overall) by the Pittsburgh Pirates and signed later that month.

 

Kaiser is still a part of the Pirates organization, having played for their Single-A teams, the West Virginia Black Bears (short) and Greensboro Grasshoppers (full). In 126 minor league games, Kaiser has a .985 fielding percentage with just eight errors in 517 chances. At the plate, has nine homers with 53 RBI and 68 BB.

From KS No. 1 prospect to pro ball with the Pirates, Kaiser is just beginning to do what many expected very early on: have a lengthy pro career.

 

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