Q&A with Coastal Carolina commit Connor Kurki


By Andy Sroka
Staff Writer

When the PBR Wisconsin staff updated the state’s Class of 2020 Rankings in August, it was clear that there were a handful of prospects who deserved a significant bump up the board. Connor Kurki was one of them.

Kurki had largely flown under the radar as a freshman at the small Division-3 school Iola-Scandinavia. We got our first look at the 6-foot-4 righty when he attended the Madison Preseason I.D. showcase in March of 2018 where it was clear that he belonged in the upper echelon of the state’s pitching prospects.

He debuted on the 2020 rankings at No. 17 in the update following that showcase and has since risen up to No. 11 in the state, and is the No. 3 right-handed pitcher in the Wisconsin class, behind only Tyler Chadwick and George Klassen.

He’s been honing his raw skillset, including a lively fastball that’s been up to 88 mph, in addition to adding some weight to his lanky and projectable frame. Over the summer, he pitched in the PBR Oklahoma Limited Series and was a member of Team Wisconsin at the PBR Future Games, where he first showcased his premium stuff in front of his future school.

In mid-November, Kurki announced his verbal commitment to Coastal Carolina, a strong program that won the NCAA championship in 2016. The talented righty still has a couple more seasons of maturing at the prep level, but his upside is immense. We had the chance to hear from Kurki about his commitment and how his whirlwind 2018 landed him at D-I program.

LATEST SCOUTING REPORT

Connor Kurki RHP / Iola-Scandinavia, WI / 2020

6/19/18 - Uncommitted. Kurki’s long-limbed, athletic frame looks like that of a pitcher. He effortlessly repeated a compact delivery that allowed him to freely work linear down the mound as his loose, quick arm swing gave way to a true, ¾ release point. He calmly pounded the bottom of the strike zone with control of a fastball that sat mostly 83-85 with some arm side life. He also featured a changeup at 75-78 which he showed confidence in turning over for strikes, and displayed arm side sink. He did not throw many sliders, but the ones that he did were thrown at 70-73 with some shape, but mostly it is a developing pitch. Overall, there is plenty to like about Kurki moving forward. His loose, quick arm will be greatly aided by more strength in the future, and his strong foundation of mechanics will allow him to adjust quicker to the new strength. Interesting to note: Kurki did a great job holding runners and varying his holds and looks while being quick to the plate. 

Connor Kurki (6/16/18)


OUR Q&A

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

Kurki: I expected the recruiting process to be a little easier. I didn’t think of how I needed to make good first impressions to coaches until I started setting up phone calls and realizing it was getting more serious for me

P: What were you looking for out of a college program to continue your baseball career at? Did location or distance from home play a factor in your decision?

K: I was looking for a baseball program that plays a highly competitive schedule and one where I will grow tremendously as a baseball player and as a person in society. The location did slightly play a factor in my decision. Ultimately I did chose to be far from home

P: When did the recruiting process really start to heat up for you? Where did Coastal first see you?

K: The recruiting process really heated up for me during the PBR Future Games. I had interest before the event but after that, it really started to get going. Coastal Carolina first saw me at the Future Games, too.

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

K: The first time I was on the phone with Coach Thomas I felt we connected very well. Coastal also has a very competitive schedule and I can grow there as well.

P: Who is the best player you have faced in your state?

K: Being from a small school, I haven't had the opportunity to play against some of the top competitors in the state. I would say the best player I have faced in the state has been my brother Carter. He’s always pushing me to get better and bring out that ultimate competitor for me.

P: At what point in your career did you realize you were a college-caliber player?

K: Right before the start of my sophomore baseball season, after going to the PBR Madison preseason event, that I was a college-caliber player.

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 out there is to play all the sports you can while you are young and in high school. I believe that will help them become good athletes overall, which will help them on the baseball field tremendously.

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

K: The most memorable part of my baseball career so far is when our high school team won the sectional finals in 2017 to make the Iola-Scandinavia’s first-ever state appearance.

P: How is your high school team looking ahead of the spring?

K: Our high school baseball team will be very competitive in Division 3 this year. Our goals are to win conference and ultimately win a state title.

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