Commitment Corner: St. Louis Park's Hokenson Stays Close To Home


Parker Hageman
Prep Baseball Report Minnesota

St. Louis Park’s Kristofer Hokenson had a lot of college suitors but his desire to play in his hometown in front of friends and family led him to the University of Minnesota.

 At 6-foot, 170 pounds, Hokenson is the class of 2022’s 9th overall prospect in Minnesota. The number 9 is serendipitous considering he has a TrackMan-verified max exit velocity of 96 miles per hour and a 90 mile per hour max throwing velocity from the outfield. Left-handed throwing Hokenson has also dominated at times on the mound for his high school team.

Hokenson recently joined the Ducks On The Pond podcast to discuss his commitment to the Golden Gophers, his game, and his future.

You can listen to the full interview on Spotify or Apple.

 

Why the University of Minnesota?

 I said my place I want to go is Minnesota and if I get [an offer] there, I will probably end up going there. Because I am a home kid and it will be really easy for my coaches and family to come watch. With my two-way scholarship, I pretty much got everything I wanted.

Knowing [Minnesota pitching coach] Ty McDevitt helped. I was at my first ever camp [at the University of Minnesota] and I saw the facilities and I was like, 'wow, this is amazing.' I could see myself being in here practicing. I also love Pat Casey, the hitting coach, he always brings me joy. And Coach [John] Anderson, one of the best coaches ever to be at Minnesota. I think they are one of the best coaching staffs. Looking at Max Meyer, he was drafted third overall, so they'll coach you up pretty well over there.

Where do you like playing in the field?

I think I feel the best in the batter's box. I have been working on it quite a lot this winter and that helped me through this season. I had a really good summer, probably one of the best of my career. The Gophers [coaches] told me to focus on being in the outfield and I've been taking care of my arm this fall and taking it easy. I really want to be a hitter later on in my life.

What elements from your other sports helped your baseball performance?

Definitely for hockey with speed, it's very fast and works on your conditioning. I relied on hockey with my speed and [playing] football added a little more strength. Hockey helped me with my speed and other muscles in baseball.

We always had drills where we would stick handle before practice for 10-15 minutes to warm up the wrists and it burns you up pretty bad. After the year, you get pretty good wrist strength and your shot gets harder. I definitely felt it while playing baseball, staying on a flat plane while hitting the baseball and having that wrist strength.

Who helped you in your career?

My St. Louis Park high school coaches, Brian Kelly and Tom Spaeth. Tom Speath is our pitching coach and he saw me when I was in ninth grade and he has always been by my side and mentoring me on the mental side of baseball and keeps pushing me. He always believes that I will go somewhere far and I really appreciate what he has done for me.  Brian Kelly also helped me through the mental side of baseball and focusing on what you need to do to take care of business.

What pro player do you think you play like?

I really like watching Cody Bellinger play. As an outfielder and as a skinnier guy, I look up to him and I think I have almost the same swing as him. I want to play like him, I've looked up to him and he's one of my favorite players to watch.

What's next for Kristofer Hokenson?

For high school, I'm trying to win a state title. We came pretty close in sections last year. We lost to Hopkins pretty badly but they're a very good team. So win a state title. I don't know what I'm doing next summer yet, whether it's playing Northwoods League or playing Legion ball and just hanging out with my friends. My goal for college ball is to start my first year and get some playing time. I feel like that would be a very good accomplishment on my part.

 

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