Three NSBA students make it to the Big Leagues:
Jason Kipnis(Cleveland Indians), Christian Friedrich(Colorado Rockies), and George Kontos(San Francisco Giants) were all playing at the highest level baseball has to offer this year. All three came through the North Shore Baseball Academy on their path to Major League Baseball.
The highlights for Kontos came after an inauspicious start to the year. In April he was traded away from the team that drafted him, the New York Yankees. Usually, getting sent packing is not considered a pat on the back, but more of a “we don’t have room for you anymore or we made a mistake with you”. However, Kontos saw it as an oppurtunity to show his new ball club what he could do. As a bullpen specialist, Kontos played a key role to help the Giants win ball games throughout the season. The culmination of the season was a sweep of the Detroit Tigers to win the World Series!
In spring training, Jason Kipnis anticipated his first full season with the Indians as a chance to establish himself as their second baseman of the future. Converting from center field at Arizona State, this was not a sure thing. Kipnis put in the endless hours of work to prove he was their man and became the defensive player of the year for the Indians in 2012. He also led the team in stolen bases and was near the top in many other offensive categories including home runs and rbi.
Christian Friedrich was not high on most college coaches radar coming out of high school at Loyola Acadmy. He ended up settling on Eastern Kentucky University, and from there, blossomed into a 1st round draft pick for the Colorado Rockies. He made his Major League debut in May, and with his pin point fastball accuracy and nasty curve ball, he quickly became a imposing strike out threat to many National League hitters. Starting 16 games with the Rockies this year, he struck out 74 in 84 innings pitched.