Q and A with Kansas State Commit Brogan Heinen

By Sean McCann
Prep Baseball Report Kansas

This spring, class of 2015 right-handed pitcher Brogan Heinen helped lead Topeka Hayden to the 4A-I state tournament and, in the process, racked up some impressive post season awards - namely the KABC 4A-I Player of the Year Award.

Earlier this week Heinen accepted a scholarship offer from Kansas State University head coach Brad Hill and verbally committed to the Wildcats.  We had a chance to visit with Heinen about his decision.

PBR: What were the key factors in picking Kansas State?

Heinen:  To be honest, K-State has been on the top of my interest list since day one of high school.  After going to their summer camps and exploring their facilities and meeting the coaches it was a no-brainer, especially since it was already my top pick.

PBR:  When did the K-State coaches contact you and how did the relationship develop with the coaching staff?

Heinen: The first contact I had with a K-State coach, other than at their camps, was about a month ago at a tournament at K-State.  I was pitching for my summer team the Topeka Iguanas.  The K-State coaches were in attendance at the game I happened to be pitching in and they said they liked what they saw so we stayed in contact.  I talked with Coach Reynolds, their pitching coach, and, of course, Coach Hill.  Coach Reynolds has really been a huge influence on me being that I am a primary pitcher.  He has really shown me how much they care about their players and explained to me how much potential I have.  They have tremendous resources in terms of their baseball strength coach, weight room inside the stadium and indoor facility so players can develop

PBR: What role does the coaching staff expect you to play during your first year on campus?

Heinen: They explained to me that I would be an important part to their pitching staff.  As for the exact number of games, innings, etc., that I will pitch, I do not know specifically.  But I am a part of the team and I will do whatever it takes to have a successful season, which includes doing what I can to help the team win.

PBR:  What things do you need to improve on over the next year or so before you get to Manhattan?

Heinen: The number one concern for me is weight and filling out my body.  I am tall enough; I just need to put on some weight so I can pitch longer in games.  Of course, a number of pitching mechanics may need fixing but time will tell what those things are.  

PBR: Kansas State is very close to home.  How much did distance play a role in your decision? 

Heinen: The distance seemed perfect to me. I certainly did not want to go anywhere that I feel like I would not enjoy because I was too far away from my home.  So, Manhattan seems like a perfect distance to me as far as how far from home and also enjoying the city at the same time.

PBR: Who has had the biggest impact on you as a baseball player and why?

Heinen:  There have been multiple people that have been big influences in my life. But I have to give it up to my dad.  He has been there since day one, whether it was pitching, hitting, or fielding.  His advice is something I can't repay him for and I am forever in debt to him because he has helped me get to where I am now and know he will be there for me in the future too.

PBR:  Tell us about how your spring season went and your thoughts on being named KABC 4A-I Player of the Year?

Heinen:  I have always been a "team first" type of guy.  If our team went 20-0 and I had the worst individual year of my life, then yes, I am going to be mad at myself.  But, if the team is winning then whatever I was doing was hopefully helping.  The awards and other honors are just add-ons to a successful year.  My high school team was fortunate enough to have made it to the 4A-I state quarterfinals and we felt very pleased about that.  The awards handed out afterwards are just rewards for being a good teammate, that's all.

PBR:  We saw you in your start at the Mid America World Series in Wichita earlier this month when you gave up two hits to start the game before striking out 12 in a row – an incredible accomplishment.  What were you thinking when you had two runners on and no one out in the first inning?  Were there any adjustments you made after that?

Heinen:  Personally, when I get runners on I tell myself “you have to focus on the guys at the plate and if you beat the batter then the runners won't score. Don't worry about them. If you get the batter yourself then you won't have to focus on the guys behind you on the bases."  So my philosophy on that is just to focus on the next batter.  If the batter gets a hit, he earned it, move on.  So I did that and I was fortunate enough to focus up and strike out 17 guys total including the 12 in a row you referred to.  Obviously, I was very happy with my performance.

PBR: Who are the top three hitters you have faced in Kansas high school baseball?

Heinen: The top three hitters I have ever faced in high school baseball have probably been Brett Fehr (’14 Manhattan), Riley Landuyt (’13 Washburn Rural) and Trent McMaster (’14 Washburn Rural).

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