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Diekroeger legacy lives on at Stanford
June 07, 2014, 05:00 AM By Terry Bernal Daily Journal

The Diekroeger brothers wreak havoc on sports media. And even MLB Network is not immune.

After it was announced Friday on the MLB Draft webcast that Danny Diekroeger had been selected in the 10th round by the St. Louis Cardinals, even the likes of juggernaut analysts Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis had to backtrack on initially reading Kenny Diekroeger’s bio of having previously been drafted out of Menlo School.

The trio of brothers from Woodside have plenty in common to confuse. All have graduated from Menlo. Come the fall, all will have attended Stanford, as youngest brother Mikey Diekroeger embarks on his collegiate baseball career. And as of Friday, two have been drafted by MLB. That number could change when the draft concludes Saturday with rounds 11-40.

It was a bittersweet draft day for middle brother Danny though. By the time his name was called as the final pick of the day by St. Louis, his Stanford Cardinal had already dropped their best-of-three Super Regional opener 11-6 at Vanderbilt.

Danny was jazzed entering into the series according to Kenny though, after his collegiate career was extended in Monday’s thrilling regional finale as the Cardinal downed Indiana 5-4 on a two-run walk-off home run by Tommy Edman.

“I talked to him [Wednesday],” Kenny said. “He’s really excited. He has that sour taste of the (2012) Florida State Super Regional defeat. So, I think he’s looking to have it be a different outcome this time.”

It was a surreal scene at the 2012 Super Regional after all the pomp and circumstance surrounding a massive Stanford draft class which saw Kenny selected in the fourth round by the Kansas City Royals. Amid a weekend of dreadful rains, Stanford was swept by Florida State, as the Seminoles outscored the Cardinal 35-8 in the final two games of Kenny’s collegiate career.

Since signing with the Royals, Kenny has battled from the get-go to keep his head above water. Currently with Kansas City High-A affiliate Wilmington, Kenny is batting .187 on the season and has posted just a .182 career batting average.

“I’ve definitely struggled. No doubt. My numbers reflect that,” Kenny said. “This year though, I’m really starting to feel like I did back when I was playing really well early in college. That’s what I’m really focused on most, is just getting better every day. The last couple weeks have been great and I’m really optimistic about the future.”

After being relegated to part-time duty this season, Kenny played seven straight days due to an injury to Blue Rocks shortstop Raul Mondesi, Jr. And the eldest Diekroeger brother made the most of his opportunity, going 9 for 27 including four multi-hit games from May 23-29.

“I’ve felt a lot better in the last couple weeks,” Kenny said. “I’ve got a chance to play more, to play every day, and with baseball it definitely helps to get in the groove at the plate when you’re playing every day.”

Getting in a groove was seldom a problem during Kenny’s freshman season at Stanford when he hit .356 en route to winning Pac-10 Freshman of the Year honors in 2010. In 2011, his production tailed off with the outset of the composite-bat era, hitting .292, before hitting .275 as a junior.

After another season and a half of decline since going pro, Kenny retooled his swing entering into the 2014 season. In adding a higher leg kick, however, he still scuffled at the plate. So, he recently went back to a short stride a la Michael Young and has seen instant results.

“The last couple weeks, I said screw it and I went back to the approach I used in college and I’ve had a lot of success with that,” Kenny said. “I had to change something. I was hitting around .100. Something needed to change. At Stanford, they preach getting your foot down before the pitch comes. Not everybody does it in pro ball. But everybody’s different. It’s just about finding what works for you.”

As for Danny, in being drafted by St. Louis, he will join an organization which touts another player from the 2012 Stanford draft class in Stephen Piscotty, who is batting .288 at Triple-A Memphis and ranks third in the Pacific Coast League with 17 doubles.

Meanwhile with the big-league club, Cardinals infielder Daniel Descalso — a San Carlos native — started a 4-6-3 triple play Friday on a line drive of the bat of the Blue Jays’s Jose Bautista.



Tags: kenny, stanford, after, season, really, draft,

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