Originally posted on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 5/16/12

In 2009, Menlo High School shortstop Kenny Diekroeger was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the second round and was reportedly offered just over a million dollars to join the organization. He chose Stanford and stayed close to his Northern California roots. Most players, when faced with a similar choice, follow suit.

Diekroeger has no regrets. And he thinks this season has been just fine, too. Talk to the shortstop for even a few minutes, and you’ll realize he’s got an even-keeled outlook.

“Maybe it’s too bad that I didn’t get to see a different part of the country,” he admits, but we agreed he has a lot of life left to live, and it’s nice to do laundry at home, even if “that doesn’t actually happen as often you might think.” This Burlingame, Woodside and Menlo Park raised local felt that “it’s hard to turn down Stanford,” and “this place is so nice” and that he’s really enjoyed his time on the farm.

When asked about the season, he inevitably turns to the team. “We’ve had a great team, we’re competing for a top spot in the playoffs. We’re trying to host regionals and hopefully super-regionals.”

But how about your season in particular — your season, you personally. “It’s been good to help this team win. We were the number two team in the country for a while. On Friday night, we played in front of 4,000 people on Fireworks night. Being able to give them a good experience, that’s why we play the game.”

Okay, but you must have some thoughts about the position switch. From shortstop to second base, how did that go? “It was a little different than short, but they are pretty similar. … I put in the work and I felt pretty comfortable there. It was unfortunate that Lonnie [Kauppila] went down the injury that he did, but now I’m back to short. They are pretty similar positions, it wasn’t a hard transition to make.”

Diekroeger’s power is a little up this year (.401 SLG vs .365), has he changed his swing? “You always feel different, so you have to keep making tweaks to your swing. If you look at my swing now vs a few years ago, it is a little different. But I feel like that would be the case with a lot of people. I just do what I need to do at the time to make the right adjustment. When it comes to your swing, you have to have a short-term approach. You gotta do what you gotta do.”

After talking to Dean Stotz about the advanced stats that the pitchers deal with, it made sense to wonder what the hitters saw. “We don’t really see too much of that,” Diekroeger said. He admitted that he’d seen what the pros have and that it “was really cool stuff.” The Stanford student in the shortstop came out for a second — “I’m a stats guy myself,” he said and admitted he’d enjoyed FanGraphs before. But there’s a limit to it all.

“I’ve taken a lot of advanced stat courses, and I’m completely for all the advancements in that part of the game. But at the same time, baseball is just a weird game in that you don’t want to overthink that kind of stuff. If you’re a hitter, you can only look at so much information to improve yourself. At the end of the day, you have to be able to go up there and see the ball well and hit it hard. I know that sounds really simple, but it’s easy — especially with us being Stanford people and with my background in stats — it’s easy to overthink this game.” — Kenny Diekreoger

With Cal coming up in the final series of the year, conversation drifted to the modern state of the rivalry between Stanford and Berkeley. Diekroeger, like teammate Stephen Piscotty before him, admitted that he’s played with many Cal guys over the summer. And longer than that even — “I’ve played with Tony [Renda] a lot, all the way back to Little League. We’ve worked out together too.” But there’s a limit to the friendship — “When we’re out here playing, we’ve got Stanford jerseys on and they’ve got Cal jerseys on and we have to do our best to maintain that rivalry and bring home a victory.” In the end, he said that “There’s no better team to close out the regular season with, especially at home. We always have great games with them, so it will be fun.”

What about beyond that? Has he made a decision about entering the draft at the end of the season? “We’ll see what happens, I haven’t made any decisions yet,” laughed the shortstop with a steady head on his broad shoulders.

Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Panthers QB Cam Newton shows up to camp in best shape of career

Yankees progressing on deal to acquire Sonny Gray, Yonder Alonso

Report: Derrick Rose was unwilling to accept bench role with Lakers

Stephen Strasburg expected to make next start for Nats

John Lackey makes history, hits four batters in one game


Report: Suns G Brandon Knight suffers torn ACL

The Cavaliers have one unhappy star and three options

Garrett walks out on media over Whitehead questions

D-Rose landing in Cleveland could be good for Cavs, himself

Former Penn St. K Joey Julius ‘in full recovery’ in battle with eating disorder

LeBron James slams report that he wants to fight Kyrie Irving

The 'Kyrie revolts against the King' quiz

The most memorable moments from the class of 2017 Baseball Hall of Fame inductees

BIG3 Ref Hotline Bling: James White slams the phone down

28 MLB trade deadline deal prospects since 2000 who went on to become All-Stars

Box Score 7/25: The pressure of the trade deadline is here

The 'When George Brett went completely batty' quiz

Finding the possible Achilles' heel for baseball’s best teams

Getaway Day: A pair of aces get lost in the shuffle

Sports & Politics Intersect: Trump casts shadow over U.S. Women's Open

Best of Yardbarker: General managers take the spotlight

The 'Pay that man his money' quiz

The unexpected rise of the Connecticut Sun

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 'Kyrie revolts against the King' quiz

BIG3 Ref Hotline Bling: James White slams the phone down

The 'When George Brett went completely batty' quiz

Finding the possible Achilles' heel for baseball’s best teams

Getaway Day: A pair of aces get lost in the shuffle

Sports & Politics Intersect: Trump casts shadow over U.S. Women's Open

The National League Wild Card is suddenly relevant again

The 'Pay that man his money' quiz

BIG3 Week 5: Pivotal make-or-break weekend in Chicago

The 'Let's show a little love for James Jones' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker