Q&A with Purdue commit George Klassen

By Andy Sroka
Staff Writer

In July of 2017, RHP George Klassen (Port Washington, 2020) was the perfect candidate for a serious spike in velocity. He was tall, lean and used his long levers to create electric arm speed producing fastballs in the mid 80s as a sophomore. In our looks last November and February, Klassen has taken that leap, touching 91 mph and has even been a tick better since. His premium talent granted him a roster spot on Team Wisconsin at this summer’s PBR Future Games tournament where he was up to 92 mph and struck out the side in his second appearance. As his offspeed comes together – namely a tight 11/5 curveball he’s shown trust in that has swing-and-miss potential – Klassen’s ceiling is sky-high. He’s currently ranked within the top-275 prospects nationwide.

His busy summer resulted in a commitment to Purdue soon after the Future Games. We recently had the opportunity to discuss the recruiting process with Klassen, what he was looking for out of his college experience, and his favorite memories in baseball to this point.


George Klassen RHP / Port Washington, WI / 2020

Klassen stands 6-foot-1, 150-pounds with a developing frame and a very long wingspan. The right-handed pitcher was up to 90 mph before settling in at 86-88 for much of his outing. Stepping across his body to deliver the firm fastballs, Klassen has quick arm that delivers out of high ¾ window, and when everything synced up, he was very good. At times, he struggled with the ability to repeat his slot, especially out of the stretch. However, when he got rolling, everything worked well. The separator for Klassen will be his tight breaking ball. While the fastball command was sporadic, he seemed to have more confidence in the the 11/5, multi-tier curveball that he threw firmly at 75-77, and was a swing and miss offering multiple times. It is very intriguing to imagine the possibilities of what Klassen may blossom into as he matures and gains comfort with the movement patterns of his long limbs.


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

Klassen: When being brought into the recruiting process it started with a few calls here and there. After about a week after the initial call, the pace of other college contacts for me started to increase by a lot. The whole recruitment process was much more difficult than I imagined.

P: What were you looking for out of a college program to continue your baseball career at? Did location play a role?

K: I am looking for a place that takes care of each and every player and doesn’t just use them. I was also looking for a place that I thought would develop me the most and help me continue my career. The distance from the college played a major role in my decision making. My desire was to hopefully be able to keep it in an easy driving distance.

P: When did the recruiting process really start to heat up for you? Was there a particular game or event that you feel accelerated the buzz around you?

K: The recruiting process really started to ramp up after I attended a PBR showcase in February of 2018 (Milwaukee Preseason I.D.). Also, Chicago Scouts Association really helped me get a handful of contacts after my starts down in Florida.

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

K: The factors that made me choose Purdue were the head coach (Mark Wasikowski) because I really liked how he presented himself. He had a really high energy level and I liked that. Also, they acquired a new pitching coach (Elliott Cribby) who, even over the phone, was very similar to Coach Waz.

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

K: The best player I have faced in my state would be Michael Seegers (Home School, 2020; Iowa commit). I was on the same team as Seegers but sometimes we would scrimmage each other in the spring. I would throw to all the other top players in Wisconsin that were a few years older than me but every time I threw to him, it was a harder battle than anyone else on his team.  He would not go down without a tough fight.

P: 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?

K: I realized I had something going for me to be able to play at the college level when more and more people came to watch me throw a game. I never realized this until other people would tell me that this [scout/school] was here or “there were a ton of scouts looking at you today.”

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

K: My advice to a younger player who was trying to get to my position is to keep striving to get to that next goal. Make your goals small and easy to achieve and then slowly make them more challenging to achieve. Because small victory after small victory starts to add up and will help build your confidence. When things start falling apart it is easy to remember to think about your small victories and then build new ones off your fails. Failing is a part of the game and will happen, what separates good players and great players are how they overcome those failures.

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

K: The most memorable moment in my career so far happened very recently. I started a game and I struggled a lot. It was so much of a struggled that I barely made it out of the first inning. This was truly the worst event of my career so far. This past week I had another chance at it and I pitched completely opposite of my last outing. It was only one inning (because that's what everybody else threw that day) and I threw a 10-pitch inning. I ended up throwing one ball that entire inning. Now it was only one inning, not six or seven, but that small, easy victory helped overcome the last outing.

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

K: This will be my first year playing for Port Washington. I believe that we have a good shot at it this year because of new players playing on the team because our high school moved to spring ball instead of summer. I feel like we are going to be a complete team with a bunch of really good players to help us win a lot of our games. My goal for high school season is to have a really good team and bring them together to have an enjoyable season with them.