- Full name Michael Thomas Kohn
- Born 06/26/1986 in Camden, SC
- Profile Ht.: 6'2" / Wt.: 200 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School College Of Charleston
- Debut 07/26/2010
Drafted in the 13th round (409th overall) by the Los Angeles Angels in 2008.
View Draft ReportCharleston also boasts a quartet of pitchers, with the leader of the group being righthander Michael Kohn. Originally recruited as a hitter, Kohn was clocked off the mound at 95 mph last fall and showed signs of a plus breaking ball. He didn't make his first pitching appearance for the Cougars until April, however, due to a bruise in his shoulder. Kohn pitched 13 innings in the regular season, tallying 16 strikeouts and four saves. He is a bit of a wild card as he has the raw stuff to entice teams.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Kohn (pronounced Kahn) advanced so quickly through the minors that one would be forgiven for mistaking him for a premium draft pick. In reality, he's a 13th-round senior sign for $5,000 who converted from powerhitting first baseman to the mound during his draft year at the College of Charleston. What's more, the Angels stumbled on him only because scout Tom Kotchman's daughter played softball at the same school. Kohn averaged 13.6 strikeouts per nine innings and allowed just five homers in 135 minor league innings. He made his big league debut on July 26, becoming the first player from the club's 2008 draft to make it to Anaheim. While he finished his big league debut with a shiny 2.11 ERA in 24 appearances, his 16 walks suggest that trouble was often just a batter away. Kohn has plus velocity--his fastball sits at 90-93 mph and touches 96--but it's his delivery that makes him so effective. His severely short arm swing in back adds maximum deception. By the time the batter picks up the ball, it's often already past him. Whenever he suspects batters have timed his fastball, Kohn uses a slurvy breaking ball in the low 80s to keep them honest. Unless he dramatically improves his control or the shape of his slider, Kohn's best role would seem to be low-leverage relief. He's positioned to begin 2011 in the big league bullpen.
Kohn's trajectory could best be described as atypical. He transferred from South Carolina-Upstate to the College of Charleston for the 2007 season, but he did so as a heavy-hitting first baseman. He took up pitching the following year, saving four games while a bruised shoulder limited him to 13 innings. Because he showed 95-mph velocity and the makings of a slider, the Angels took a 13th-round flier on the senior. Featuring an extremely short arm stroke in back, Kohn combines deception with above-average velocity, making him a strikeout machine. Last year, he ranked fourth among minor league relievers with 14.1 whiffs per nine innings and sixth with a .153 opponent average. The ball seems to jump out of Kohn's hand at 90-96 mph, sitting at 93. Though his fastball is straight and usually elevated, it explodes up in the zone and generates a plethora of awkward swings. He allowed just eight extra-base hits and one homer all year. He throws a fringe-average slider for strikes to keep batters honest. The Angels teach the splitter to their relievers who lack feel for a changeup, and Kohn is no exception. He has a good chance to open 2010 in Double-A.
Minor League Top Prospects
Your typical 22-year-old college senior drafted in the 13th round normally wouldn't sniff a Top 20 Prospects list, but Kohn is far from typical. Originally a first baseman at College of Charleston, he pitched just 13 innings this spring because he had a bruised shoulder. The early returns in pro ball were promising. He struck out 44 batters in 23 innings, using a 90-95 mph fastball that jumps out of his hand and an average to plus slider. He also has an 80-84 mph changeup, though he rarely needed it. Kohn has an extremely short arm stroke in the back, which should limit him to a bullpen role but also adds deception. He reminds Orem manager Tom Kotchman of Troy Percival for his body at the same age and his demeanor on the mound. "He's not your classic full-arm-action guy, but it's a sneaky 94," Kotchman said. "There's a lot of bad swings off that."