Q&A with Missouri Western Commit: OF Brady Kaplan (Liberty North, 2015)

Shon Plack
Missouri Scouting Director

Brady Kaplan (Liberty North, 2015) a 6-foot-2, 200-pound OF has verbally committed to Missouri Western. Kaplan hit in the middle of the potent Liberty North line-up last spring, and led the Eagles to a #1 ranking in the state before falling in the state playoffs to cross-town rival Liberty by one run.  Kaplan batted .426, cranked 4 home runs and drove in 34 runs as a junior.  During the summer, Kaplan played with the Kansas City Cougars and played in several high exposure tournaments.   

Kaplan has the ability to help the Griffons early in the college career.  Defensively, he has an over-the-top arm slot with clean, quick transfer to release.  He has a been clocked from out he outfield at 80 mp.  At the plate, Kaplan shows the ability to hit in both gaps with good backspin carry.  He has a simple load with good bat speed to extension.  He registered an 88 MPH exit velo and advanced approach at the plate.

Kaplan looks to lead the Eagles to State Championship in 2015 as he prepares for college baseball.  Here is a look in that process and how he chose Missouri Western.

PBR: What were your expectations about the recruiting process? Was it as expected? Easy/Difficult?

Kaplan: I  really just tried to focus on my game and do the little things I know coaches look for. I always hustle in and out, try to talk up my teammates and just pretend every game no matter the score or opponent  is a big game. I didn’t expect to see as many scouts as I did but when the game started I just played the best I know how. The hardest part really was handling all of the emails and texts. I just tried to answer every one of them. My dad helped take some of the pressure off so I could concentrate on my game but he made me handle a lot of it too.

PBR: Did location or distance from home play a factor in your decision?

Kaplan: Yes most of my D1 interest was just farther away from  home then I wanted to be. Also I wanted to compete right away for a spot so staying close to home and playing high level D2 was perfect for me.

PBR: Where did Missouri Western first see you? How did your relationship develop with them?

Kaplan: I played a couple tourneys at their place and I always seemed to play really well there. After this past summer we exchange a lot of emails and texts which eventually lead to me taking a visit where I got to meet the coaches in person.

PBR: Who is the best player you have faced in Missouri, and why?

Kaplan: Facing Alex Lange gave me a real idea of what college pitching would be like. Aside from being able to throw a 90 + mph  fastball, his other pitches were just as good making it more of a challenge to hit against and as a hitter

PBR: What were you looking for out of a college program to continue your baseball career at?

Kaplan: A team with good coaches and trainers that can get the most out of me from a teaching and playing standpoint. Facilities were also a big factor in the process and Missouri Western has some of the nicest facilities around at any college level.

PBR: What advice would you give to young baseball players striving to get where you are?

Kaplan: Put in the work when no one else is watching and play the game giving full effort. College coaches really look for that and they will notice if you’re doing those things.

PBR: What do you do in the offseason to keep yourself in baseball shape and prepare for the upcoming season

Kaplan: I have been on the same routine for the past 3 years I just have made it tougher every year. I work core, agility and legs 3 days and weight training 3 days. I throw and hit as much as possible.

PBR: What is the most memorable moment in your baseball career to this point?

Kaplan: I had a really good day at the plate in a championship game at Missouri Western this past summer going 4-4 with a homerun. After that game Missouri Western became really interested in me.

PBR: What do you like most about the college you committed to and what were the key factors in making your decision?

Kaplan: The presentation they did was incredible. I liked being able to meet every person I would be interacting or working with and it was like they already knew me. They made me feel right at home. The AD got tied up and could not meet with us but at the end of the day he went out of his way to come find us. The trainer was so excited he made me want to get to work right there and then. They stayed in contact through the process without pressuring me. A lot of times they would just ask how was it going. The last thing was the offer itself. It really said something about how much they wanted me in the program.   

PBR: What other schools were on your short list before you made your final decision?

Kaplan: Indiana State, Illinois State and Pitt State were always up there with interest from Central MO but it came down to Washburn and Missouri Western as to where it felt the most right for me.    

PBR: When did the recruiting process really start to heat up for you? Was there a particular game or event that you feel turned the corner for you?

Kaplan: It really was everything combined that worked. The game performance was very important for sure but the showcase events put me over the top. I started my sophomore year and we started to get some contact that early. The events where many colleges attend are huge and I would do at least 1 PBR event a year. I think some of the exposure had to come from there. Then we played in some big tourneys around the country and I made the most of them.

PBR: Preview your high school season for us. How do you feel your team will be? What are your expectations and goals? Name some players that will play a key role for Liberty North in 2015.

Kaplan: We will be very solid with Brian Sharp, Ryan Hinkley, Cale Hanson, Doug Martin and Blake Moore who all have varsity experience.  We also have some really good players coming up that I know will contribute right away. It really is a great group and nobody wants to let the team or coaches down. I expect us to defend our conference title, battle for districts and make a solid run at state.  

PBR: Where do you play in the summer? And what has been your most memorable experience with them?

Kaplan: I joined the KC Cougars program this year. Rick Fortuna has run this program with some of these guys since they were kids. It’s mostly Kansas City Northland players. They put us in a great position to make our own success. The entire summer really was great.  The chemistry was as good as it gets. Competing against these stacked teams from all over the country and we would battle every one of them with a group of players from such a small area. Coach Billy Sharp wanted to teach us how to win and close out games. We took a lot of pride in that.  The coaches take getting kids placed very seriously and right now we have 6 early commits and more to come.

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