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Saturday, June 23, 2012

Cape Cod League Interview: Jared King, CF

The Cape Cod League is now well under way, so it seemed like a good idea to get to know one of the league’s early standout players. Jared King is, as of this writing, second in the CCBL in batting average, as well as first in the Western Division at .464. In addition, The Falmouth Commodores’ center fielder is second in the league in OPS and first in the Western Division with a 1.224 mark. And all the while, he’s been raising his stock in the 2013 draft.

King just completed his sophomore year at Kansas State, where he finished the year with a .377/.453/.577 slash line (batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage), 7 home runs, and 47 RBI through 56 games. That, along with his tools, made him one of ESPN writer Keith Law’s names to know for the 2013 draft.

The switch-hitting outfielder is originally from Columbus, Ohio; he graduated from Dublin Jerome High School in 2010 and attended Kansas State in part with the hope of playing again with his older brother, Jason.* He went on to have a strong freshman year that saw him hit .307/.365/.534 with 8 home runs and 40 RBI in 50 games. After his strong first year, his coach informed him that he had been invited to play for the Commodores in the Cape League.

*As a side note, Jason is playing with the Detroit Tigers’ A affiliate after being taken in the fourth round in the 2011 draft. 

King says he had a great time in his first year in Falmouth, and calls the Commodores’ run to the finals last year one of his favorite memories. He admitted that switching to wood bats for the league can be an issue at first. However, he said he has learned to adjust and accept that they can lead to more failures. Not that that has been the issue this year; the Commodores’ leadoff hitter is reaching base in more than half of his at-bats, with a .545 on-base percentage. And after Thursday’s 2-4 performance that saw him hit his third double and first home run of the season in a 10-4 over the Hyannis Harbor Hawks, King raised his slugging percentage to .679 on the year.

Despite being talked about as a first round pick for the 2013 draft, King wasn’t drafted out of high school. He says that he doesn’t listen to the draft buzz, though, saying he prefers to focus on the game each night. As an Ohio native, King is a fan of the Indians and Reds, and says he is unable to choose between the two. His favorite player, however, has been fellow center fielder Josh Hamilton, particularly after he read Hamilton’s autobiography Beyond Belief. King also said he has loved his time in Falmouth, and spends much of his down time at his host family’s beach.

If King can keep it up, he stands a strong chance at helping the Falmouth Commodores to their second consecutive championship appearance and their first league title since 1980, the longest active drought in the league, all while making his case to be the 2013 first overall pick in a draft class still without a consensus top choice. Look for big things out of the center fielder over the next few weeks.

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