- Full name Roger Keith Kieschnick
- Born 01/21/1987 in Dallas, TX
- Profile Ht.: 6'3" / Wt.: 225 / Bats: L / Throws: R
- School Texas Tech
- Debut 07/31/2013
Drafted in the 3rd round (82nd overall) by the San Francisco Giants in 2008 (signed for $525,000).
View Draft ReportComing off a summer during which he tied Pedro Alvarez for the Team USA lead with seven homers, Kieschnick had a shot to go in the first round, with his chances enhanced by a lack of quality college outfielders. But he hasn't delivered as much as hoped, chasing too many pitches out of the strike zone and batting just .300 entering the final week of the regular season--this after hitting .305 as a sophomore. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Kieschnick has above-average power to all fields, but until he shows more discipline, pitchers can exploit his aggressiveness. He's not one-dimensional, however, as he has solid-average speed and arm strength, making him a prototypical right fielder. His game and his build are reminiscent of his cousin, former Cubs first-round pick Brooks Kieschnick. Roger ranks as the top position player in Texas in a down year for the state, but he's more likely to go in the sandwich or second round now.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Kieschnick was the last to reach the majors among a celebrated 2008 Giants draft quartet of college bats that also included Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford and Conor Gillaspie. It's safe to say the Giants haven't seen the best of Kieschnick, though. He looked bewildered by major league pitchers in 2013 while hitting a soft .202 following a July 31 call-up. Worse still, he connected for only one extra-base hit, a triple--not what the Giants expected from a strapping outfielder for whom they had projected 30 home runs a season. Kieschnick also failed to make a good impression in the spring, spoiling chances of making the Opening Day roster. He's a good athlete whose arm plays in right field, but he often finds himself in-between pitches and battles a swing that gets long at times. At least he managed to stay healthy after missing chunks of development time with a recurring back issue, followed by a stress fracture in his shoulder when he collided with a wall in 2012. He'll have to be more confident and aggressive whenever he gets another recall from Triple-A Fresno.
After back problems plagued him the previous two seasons, Kieschnick was on the cusp of putting it all together in Triple-A in 2012. Then he ran into an outfield wall on May 29, sustaining a stress fracture in his left shoulder that knocked him out for three months. The Giants have loved Kieschnick's size, strength and athleticism ever since taking him in the same 2008 draft that netted Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford. Before he got hurt, Kieschnick was showing vastly improved patience and pitch recognition that enabled him to punish mistakes in the strike zone. He has worked to shorten up his stroke and take a more direct path to the ball, though he still likes to take an aggressive cut when ahead in the count. He still has trouble covering the outer half of the plate at times, but he isn't chasing as many pitches as he did earlier in his pro career. He runs well for his size and has a plus arm that plays well in right field. Kieschnick showed he was healthy while spending a month in the Dominican League. His two-month run at Fresno caught San Francisco's attention, and he's a good bet to contribute at the big league level in 2013--if he can finally stay healthy.
Kieschnick led the Giants system with 23 home runs in his 2009 pro debut, but consecutive injury-plagued seasons have knocked the shine off his prospect status. He still has some nice tools, though he'll have to re-establish himself as a durable performer if he hopes to join fellow 2008 draftees Buster Posey, Conor Gillaspie and Brandon Crawford in San Francisco. The Giants did add Kieschnick to their 40-man roster in November. He spent last offseason rehabbing a stress fracture in his lower back and was starting to turn a corner last summer before more stiffness and discomfort locked up his swing in August. With Richmond fighting to make the playoffs, San Francisco shut him down toward the end pf the season. Kieschnick has a big stroke that matches his strapping build and he attacks pitches when he's ahead in the count. He has holes in his swing and lacks patience, so he may never hit for a high average, which will be the tradeoff for his above-average raw power. When healthy, Kieschnick runs well for his size and provides quality defense in right field, where his strong arm is an asset. He's an all-out competitor who pays little heed to outfield walls and gives a consistent effort even when he's playing in pain. If he repeats Double-A again, it'll signal that he had a disappointing spring.
The Giants had high hopes for Kieschnick after his terrific 2009 season in high Class A, which included a farm system-leading 23 home runs. But he was one of several hitting prospects who got off to a slow start in the bad weather of the Double-A Eastern League last year, and it soon became a wasted year for the big kid from Texas. Back spasms sapped his power and he finally spoke up after a horrendous 0-for-34 streak in late May. His stay on the disabled list lasted three weeks, and he wasn't much better when he returned in June. He finally shut it down for good in early July. Eventually, doctors diagnosed a stress fracture in his back, and he worked all winter to rehab the injury. Not only did Kieschnick miss out on valuable development time, but he also couldn't take early batting practice or work on shortening up his swing. When healthy, Kieschnick is an exciting prospect with strength, fast hands and pull power. An above-average runner for his size, he's a plus defender with a plus arm in right field. He plays the game hard. A healthy Kieschnick should return to Double-A.
Kieschnick is a first cousin of former major leaguer Brooks Kieschnick, who became a rare two-way player to extend his big league career. Roger probably won't have to resort to such measures after ranking second in the California League in RBIs (110) and fifth in extra-base hits (68) in his pro debut at high Class A San Jose. A strapping power hitter, Kieschnick drives the ball to all fields. He employs a short stroke and actually hit better against lefthanders (.320 average/.943 OPS) than righties (.283/.842) last season. He has surprising speed and athleticism for a big man. He has plenty of arm to handle right field. He plays a throwback style, running out every ball and sliding hard into second base. The Giants knew Kieschnick would rack up his share of strikeouts, and he did. His aggressive approach, open stance and long swing make him susceptible to offspeed stuff on the outer half. Whiffs are an acceptable tradeoff for his power, but he has to be careful not to get himself out against more advanced pitching. AT&T Park isn't an inviting place for lefthanded power hitters, so Kieschnick must continue his overall development as a multidimensional threat. If all goes well at Double-A in 2010, he could push for a major league outfield job at some point the following season.
Kieschnick has major league bloodlines, as the first cousin of former two-way major leaguer Brooks Kieschnick. Roger had a chance to join Brooks as a first-round pick, but he slumped last spring, hitting just .305 and chasing enough pitches that he dropped to the third round. Signed two days before the Aug. 15 deadline for a slightly above-slot $525,000, he saw his first pro action in Hawaii Winter Baseball. He's a legitimate power threat who tied Pedro Alvarez (the No. 2 overall pick in 2008) for the team lead with seven homers on Team USA's college squad in 2007. Kiescnick drives the ball to all fields, though he gets himself out by being overly aggressive. A good athlete for his size, he has solid-average speed and arm strength, making him a prototype right fielder if he performs with the bat. He's expected to make his pro debut in high Class A.
Minor League Top Prospects
Another member of San Jose's all-prospect outfield, Kieschnick had no problem jumping to high Class A for his pro debut. He ranked second in the league with 110 RBIs and fifth with 68 extra-base hits. "The ball is very loud coming off of his bat," a scout said. "He has a great body, big and strong. His setup is a bit unorthodox, since he keeps his elbows close together, but he has a short swing. He looks the part of a big leaguer, plus he has a good arm. I see him as a right fielder and a five- or six-hole hitter in the majors." Kieschnick's biggest weakness is that he gets overly aggressive at the plate and swings and misses too often. He's a good athlete for his size, and he runs and throws well enough to be a solid right fielder.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Power Prospect in the California League in 2009
Background: After back problems plagued him the previous two seasons, Kieschnick was on the cusp of putting it all together in Triple-A in 2012. Then he ran into an outfield wall on May 29, sustaining a stress fracture in his left shoulder that knocked him out for three months. Scouting Report: The Giants have loved Kieschnick's size, strength and athleticism ever since taking him in the same 2008 draft that netted Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford. Before he got hurt, Kieschnick was showing vastly improved patience and pitch recognition that enabled him to punish mistakes in the strike zone. He has worked to shorten up his stroke and take a more direct swing path to the ball, though he still likes to take an aggressive cut when ahead in the count. He still has trouble covering the outer half of the plate at times, but he isn't chasing as many pitches as he did earlier in his pro career. He runs well for his size and has a plus arm that plays well in right field. The Future: Kieschnick showed he was healthy while spending a month this offseason in the Dominican League. His two-month run at Fresno caught San Francisco's attention, and he's a good bet to contribute at the big league level in 2013--if he can finally stay healthy.