Kraus Focusing Hard On Pitching At The Next Level

Bruce Hefflinger
PBR Ohio Senior Writer

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Kraus Focusing Hard On Pitching At The Next Level

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AJ Kraus RHP / OF / Mason, OH / 2020

MASON - The decision to focus on pitching only has AJ Kraus working harder than ever on his game.

“At the next level I see me as a pitcher, I don’t see me hitting and playing the field,” explained the Mason junior, who a year ago was getting interest with his hitting thanks to an exit velo of 88. “Last year I was on varsity as a pitcher and would get my at-bats at the JV level. but I’ve decided I wanted to focus on pitching. That’s what I want to do.”

His pitching has since improved in the eyes of the 6-4 210-pound right-hander.

“Being a PO in the summer helped me focus on my mechanics and grips rather than taking swings and ground balls,” Kraus said.

Getting better has followed.

“The biggest improvement I’ve made since last year is the development of offspeed pitches,” noted the 96th-ranked 2020 player in Ohio. “I developed a curve over the winter that I can throw for strikes and I have two different changes (circle and knuckle change). Last year I only had a fastball and a knuckle change, but that was unreliable. I still throw it now if the time is right.”

Visits to Ball State, Dayton and Cincinnati have taken place for Kraus, who late last summer was listed among the Most Projectable Arms at the PBR Buckeye Elite Showcase.

“I’m still working to improve my fastball velocity as well as my ability to think through games,” the 26th-rated unsigned junior RHP in the state pointed out. “I want to be able to pick the pitches, when to throw them and the location. I need to do a better job being more accurate and keeping them low. That’s the only time I get hit when I get it up.”

The idea of playing college baseball is nothing new for Kraus.

“It’s always been in my mind,” Kraus said. “My freshman year I began to realize I might have the opportunity with how I was developing as a pitcher.”

PBR Ohio Director of Scouting Jordan Chiero sees a bright future for Kraus.

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