Houston Astros: Talking Stros with Jon Kemmer (Interview)


Houston Astros prospect Jon Kemmer has the luck of the ghost Irish on his side

Jon Kemmer is not someone who pops out in the Houston Astros farm system, but he is producing numbers that won him the Hooks MVP in 2015. Chris Devenski and Kemmer to be honored at a banquet to award them with the Hooks’ pitcher of the year and MVP soon. Both these guys are players to keep your eye on in 2016, luckily Chris Devenski was not lost in the Rule V draft.

Kemmer led all Hooks this year with 18 homers, trailed by only one homer is Teoscar Hernandez with 17 bombs. Conrad Gregor led the team in runs-batted-in with 76, but Kemmer finished third with Colin Moran (67) with 65 of them. He finished way down the list in stolen bases but did get nine steals on the season.

Slash Line:

.327 Avg/ .414 OBP/ .574 SLG/ .988 OPS.

As part of a new Astros talk show on KTXF-db called @TalkingStros, we take the time to have on Astros media, major league players, and many prospects on the show. Recently we interview Joseph Musgrove and Kemmer or the December 28th show. You can read or listen to Musgrove interview here: Houston Astros: Talking Stros with Joe Musgrove (Interview). This post will focus on the Hooks’ MVP slugger Kemmer, and you can read or listen below.

Jon Kemmer Interview

CTH/TSR: How was your Christmas Jon?

Kemmer: It was fantastic, it never seems like it lasts long enough. We started off here, and then we went to southern Pennsylvania and finished up with my girlfriend’s (Lauren) family on Christmas day.

CTH/TSR: How far a drive was it?

Kemmer: 3-4 hours depending on traffic.

CTH/TSR: Is that where you are originally both from?

Kemmer: No, I’m from Clarion, and she went to Clarion University, and we met during my junior year of college.

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CTH/TSR: What have you been up to get ready for the 2016 baseball season?

Kemmer: Been spending a lot of time in the gym and spending a lot of time in the cage, I say I work out altogether five hours a day, between hitting and working out.

CTH/TSR: Which baseball player are you missing the most this offseason?

Kemmer: I would say pretty much the whole team, my real true good friend who I have played my first three years with is James Ramsey. He was my roommate the first day I showed up for pro ball, we were together for the first three years, I stay in touch with him pretty good, but I sure do miss that guy.

CTH/TSR: You played on the same team for an entire season with the Hooks in 2015, how did that feel?

Kemmer: It’s good, you get really adapted to the area and get really close to all the fans and the neighboring community. I was with a host family all year, so I got really close to them, I consider them family now. It was a nice experience; I really enjoyed it.

CTH/TSR: You played multiple positions this past season, which of them do you feel most comfortable playing?

Kemmer: As long as I am on the field, I could really care less where they play me. They can put me at shortstop, and I will do my best to play there, even though I’m left-handed. I’ve adapted very well to right and left field; I can play those pretty easily. First base would be a challenge for me; I can play there as well.

CTH/TSR: Is it the case that you have a first base glove, and you are carrying it around to all the games?

Kemmer: Absolutely, I carry a first base glove to every game, in 2014, I got a chance to use it a good bit, but this past season we had players like A.J. Reed and Conrad Gregor. I wasn’t needed that much at first this year, but I have the glove ready in case I need it.

CTH/TSR: It appears that you are becoming a more disciplined hitter, is there anything specific that you changed or is it just something you are really focused on?

Kemmer: I was more or less to see more pitches, last year at Lancaster I think I walked four times in 30 games. My walk to strikeout ratio was pathetic by my words. I really wanted to get my on-base percentage up this year, so I worked myself some counts and looked for better pitches to get on-base more.

CTH/TSR: You were named the Corpus Christi Hook MVP this past season, how did that feel?

Kemmer: It was a very rewarding and humbling experience, to be named the MVP with the amazing talent on this team with such a great group of guys very humbling and honoring.

CTH/TSR: What are you more proud of, your .326 batting average, 18 home runs, or your nine stolen bases from the past season?

Kemmer: I’m pleased with it all, I am glad that I got some stolen bases, I got the green light a little more towards the end of the year, I pride myself on trying not to be that slow guy who clogs up the basis, I’m pretty proud with that.

CTH/TSR: Are you a Jeff Bagwell type of guy who is not the fastest runner but knows when to run?

Kemmer: I’m a little sneakier than people think I am, I am this big guy that people don’t pay attention to on the base paths. I just sneak around the basepaths to be honest with you.

CTH/TSR: Have you had a chance to visit Houston or Minute Maid Park?

Kemmer: I have not, the only time that I have been to Houston is when I, unfortunately, had surgery down there last year.

CTH/TSR: Colby Rasmus and Carlos Gomez are both set to be free agents following the 2016 season, do you look at this as a possible opening for you in 2017 following the year at Triple-A?

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Kemmer: I consider every year to be the opportunity, you never know with a 100 plus game schedule who is going up or down and who could potentially get injured. You have always got to be ready for the call regardless. If those guys don’t re-sign with the Astros, I will be extremely ready to fill the void if the Astros ask me too, I will do whatever they ask of me.

CTH/TSR: I was told that your walkup music is Kick it in the Sticks, is that right? (Yes sir) There have to be a few stories for you with a song like that, was it something particular that you experienced when you were growing up?

Kemmer: That song just always hit with me, even just watching the music video, a big group of guys around a bonfire, anything out in the woods is completely in my nature. Like right now, I was in the woods from late to late today, anytime I’m in the woods I have a good time. That song reminds me of being in the woods and having a lot of fun with my friends.

CTH/TSR: How much hunting did you get to do this offseason?

Kemmer: I was very fortunate this year, I shoot a nice ten-footer, and I was able to hunt a little bit each day this year. That’s one of the perks of playing baseball, and you get the whole hunting season off. I was in the woods from late to late and in archery season, it was a little after late to late during rifle season.

CTH/TSR: Do you mostly hunt deer?

Kemmer: Yes, we don’t get to do the turkey hunting because we are playing baseball, I do some small game here or there, but mostly deer.

CTH/TSR: You have an amazing Ghost Story that I have to ask you about.

Kemmer: I must have been five or six, it was around St. Patricks day. I was in my room, and my door in my room was always closed when I was sleeping. I happened to wake up in the middle of the night and my door was wide open, I was kind of startled. I sat up in my bed, and there was a ghost Leprechaun in the doorway of my room. He tipped his hat at me and walked around the corner, I raised my covers over my head and hid until it was time to wake up.

CTH/TSR: One day when you are famous, you could be on Celebrity Ghost Stories?

Kemmer: Absolutely, I will continue to tell my story, and I don’t care if people believe me or not because I believe that it happened.

CTH/TSR: When you heard about the trade where a few of your buddies were traded, Brett Phillips, Josh Hader, and Adrian Houser, what were your thoughts?

Kemmer: It was a little shock, we had a feeling that the Astros were going to make a big trade at the deadline being in the Playoff hunt. It was more shocking to lose those three core guys that were with us at the time. It was shocking, but I was happy for them at the same time for the opportunities they would have. I’m happy for the doors that will open for them but don’t like the fact that we will have to face them someday in the big leagues.

CTH/TSR: You are not on the top prospect list, people outside of the hardcore Astros fans don’t know who you are, do you use this as motivation to outperform expectations?

Kemmer: It goes back to your work habits, I had to work harder than maybe some players did to get onto the playing field. Once I got onto the playing field, I was making sure that I wouldn’t get off of it. If I played to get onto a top prospect list or to get noticed, I probably wouldn’t have played so well. If people notice my play, that’s fine, I will keep doing what I need to do to reach my goals of playing in the big leagues some day.

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CTH/TSR: When you get the call, who will be the first person you tell?

Kemmer: I would 100% call my dad first, my dad and my mom, they have been with me up and down since I played college ball. I went to three different colleges, and when I got called up and down through pro-ball, they were always there for me. (No Quick text to Lauren?) I would text her first and then text my parents, but those would be the people I would contact first.

CTH/TSR: I had the opportunity to meet you, and I think Lauren at the Hooks game I went to (Yes), I wanted to thank you for taking the time to take that picture with my son and thank me for doing that first interview with me.

Kemmer: I would do it again in a heartbeat, you and your family were fantastic, and that interview you did was fantastic. I think my parents have it pinned up on their wall on the wall right now, you have been fantastic to me, and I try to be fantastic to them.

CTH/TSR: Is there one part of the game you think you still need to work on?

Kemmer: If I only picked one I would be lying it would be every aspect of the game. If I had one, I would be in the big leagues already, whether it’s hitting better with two strikes, play a little more solid in the outfield, or run the bases a little better. There is no such thing as a perfect ballplayer, and I’m going to continue to work on every aspect of my game.

CTH/TSR: Has anyone from the Astros told you specifically something that you need to work on?

Kemmer: Not specific, but more towards my defensive play by getting a little better routes to the ball and get a little more behind the ball so that I can use my arms a little bit better.

CTH/TSR: Have you had a chance to put your gun down long enough to see Star Wars yet?

Kemmer: I haven’t, I have been trying to talk Lauren into going to Star Wars, but she is not a big Star Wars fan. I am a giant Star Wars fan, so I am doing my best to see it. I have been a big Star Wars fan forever.

Thanks to Jon Kemmer for coming on the show? When my daughter was listening to the interview the next day, she wanted to ask a question as well. Jon has answered, but I still thought it was cute.

Jon has played baseball for 20 years. Continue to look for Kemmer to rake at Triple-A and reach his dream of helping the Astros win the World Series. After all, he has a Leprechaun spirit guide with him always. It was a nice ghost story, if you would like to follow Jon Kemmer, you can do so at @kemkem24.

Next: Houston Astros: A Look at The Next 13 Years Modeled After the 90’s Braves

Check out the latest edition of  @TalkingStros this Tuesday as we broadcast from 2-A-Days Sports Bar at Beltway 8 and Pearland Parkway from 7-9pm CST. You can listen live here or get more information on attending here.

**Stats from Baseball-Reference**