Kodi Medeiros was a relatively unknown draft prospect prior to opening up scouts’ eyes with at the 2013 Perfect Game All-American Classic. During his senior year in Hilo, Hawaii, the six foot lefty posted a 0.97 ERA with 83 strikeouts in 43.1 innings pitched, solidifying his status as a first round talent. Despite his committment to Pepperdine, the Brewers drafted Medeiros with the 12th overall pick in the 2014 MLB Draft, making him the first Hawaiian drafted in the first round since Kolten Wong in 2011. The 18 year old Medeiros signed shortly after and made his pro debut in rookie ball last season, striking out 26 in a short 17.1 inning sample size. Through the power of the internet, I had an opportunity to interview the Brewers farmhand via Twitter:
Kyle: What was it like playing in Hawaii? Was baseball a popular sport?
Kodi Medeiros: Playing baseball in Hawaii is different than playing on the mainland. The competition (on the mainland) is so much better. One thing I really liked about pitching in Hawaii was that I’d pitch in front of my hometown crowd. Since Hawaii is such a small place, I’d pretty much know everyone in the stands somehow. Baseball is becoming more popular in Hawaii. A lot of kids nowadays are working harder because they have seen the success that Hawaiians have had with baseball.
Kyle: How’d you get into baseball?
Kodi: I got into the game because of my older brother, Korin. He had a deal with his friend, that if he played baseball then his friend would have to do Judo. So my brother played baseball that one year, and I just watched. The following year, when I was 10 years old, I played baseball for the first time.
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Kyle: Did you have a favorite team or player?
Kodi: I didn’t really have a favorite team (growing up), I would just watch my favorite pitchers throw and root for those teams. My favorite player is Madison Bumgarner, and now my favorite team is the Brewers.
Kyle: When did you realize you might be able to make a career out of baseball?
Kodi: I realized in the summer of 2013. I wasn’t a big name or anything at all, until I went to Perfect Game Nationals. After that I thought I might have a possibility of a future in baseball.
Kyle: What was it like getting drafted by the Brewers last year (in the first round)? Had they talked to you before the draft?
Kodi: It was an amazing feeling getting drafted by the Brewers. I felt so accomplished because of all the hard work and sacrifices my family and I put in. The Brewers did talk to me before the draft, I knew they were one of the most interested teams.
Kyle: What was your first experience in pro ball like? What was your biggest takeaway from your abbreviated debut last season?
Kodi: I was a little nervous because I was going to be pitching professionally for the first time. But once I got on the mound, the butterflies went away. During my debut was the first time that someone hit a home run off of me. After that I sort of struggled to throw strikes during that outing. I learned that I needed to focus on throwing strikes early in the count to set up my off speeds.
Kyle: Can you describe your approach to pitching a little bit? How do you go after hitters?
Kodi: I like to get ahead and get the first strike with a fastball most of the time. Depending on the batter or the situation will decide what I throw next. My strikeout pitch would be my slider. I like to throw it to the back foot of a right handed hitter. I also use my two-seam fastball as a strikeout pitch, as well. Throw it away or keep it low in the zone.
Kyle: What’s the biggest aspect of your game that you would like to improve?
Kodi: I would like command all of my pitches better than last year. I would also like to improve on throwing my changeup, because I didn’t throw it that much in high school.
Kyle: Where do you see your future for the Brewers, starting or in relief? Would you prefer to remain a starter, or does the allure of being a big time closer appeal to you?
Kodi: I’d prefer to remain a starter, because I can do my whole routine before I pitch. Being a big time closer does excite me, though. It depends, if I am able to show that I am successful as a starter then I feel I will continue to be a starter in the future. It all comes down to what the Brewers want to do with me.
Kyle: What are your goals for this season?
Kodi: My goals for this year are to pound the zone with strikes and minimize my walks. Also to have good command with all my pitches.
Kyle: I appreciate you taking the time to catch up with me, I’m sure Brewers’ fans will want to learn a lot more about you in the coming years. Good luck this season!
Kodi: Thank you.
You can follow Kodi Medeiros on Twitter at @kodi_medeiros, you can follow RtB at @ReviewngTheBrew, and follow me at @brewerfan28!