A four year letter man in baseball at Menlo High School, Kenny's team won the league title when he was a junior and senior. As a senior, he made prep first-team All American by Baseball America and earned all-state, all county, and league MVP honors. As a senior, he posted a 0.68 earned run average and hit .586 with 17 XBH, 20 RBI, 15 SB, and 21 walks in 18 games before being sidelined by a knee injury. In addition to a stellar baseball career, Kenny earned a varsity letter in basketball and was a national merit finalist and national AP scholar. He was drafted in the second round of the 2009 draft by the Tampa Bay Rays but chose to attend Stanford instead.
1. How would you describe Kenny Diekroeger the person? What about as a baseball player?
Talk to anyone who knows me and I'm pretty sure they'll say I'm someone who likes to put time and effort into whatever it is I'm doing. You'll see the same with me and baseball. I take pride in working hard to get the most out of my talents.
2. What’s it like growing up with a younger brother who loves baseball as much as you, and what would it be like if both of Stanford’s middle infields were Diekroegers next season?
Being able to grow up with someone only one year apart helped both of us become the players we are today. Considering we've played on the same teams since t-ball, I think it'd be really special if we were able to continue playing together at the collegiate level.
3. How did you handle the whole draft process? What contributed to your decision to turn down a pro contract with a bonus of nearly $2 million to play at Stanford?
The whole draft process last year was a surreal experience. I think anyone would agree the magnitude of the decision I was about to make can be extremely overwhelming for an 18 year old. Ultimately I made my decision based on what I thought was best for me as a person, not how much money the Rays were offering me.
4. You have talent in every aspect of the game, but what skills do you want to improve the most by the time you’re done playing for Stanford?
I have work to do in every facet of my game, but I believe I can improve the most at the plate. I worked really hard over the last year on my mental approach and making sure I was satisfied with every at-bat.
5. Not only are you and Danny succeeding, but there’s another Diekroeger – Mikey – who, in 8th grade, is better than you two were in every sport at that age. What do you have to say about him?
You're right, I think it's safe to say he's better than both of us at the same age. What's scary is that he's almost as big as both of us. That being said, I make sure to remind him he still needs to be the hardest worker on his team. It's good that he's already starting to adopt my off-field work habits: sleep, nutrition, and working out. Those were the things that took my game to the next level, and for him to start at such a young age, I can't wait to see how far he gets in a few years.
6. How were you able to excel in athletics while maintaing excellent grades?
Growing up in the Diekroeger household, academics were always the number one priority. I played almost every sport back then, so I learned how to balance the two at a young age. Being able to continue my education at a world class university while also playing in one of the best collegiate baseball conferences is a privilege, to say the least.