Mitch Kranson: article

Another great article on Mitch. Nice mention on Gamespeed too. Nice lookin out Mitch! Four years and counting. With Krnason and a whole host of other GS athletes on the bears campus in baseball, track, football  and softball I hope they get the Caldecott finished soon for my commute.

Bears net third commitment of 2012 class

BERKELEY — The California baseball team netted its third commitment of the 2012 class early Monday evening, when one of the best hitters in northern California walked into head coach David Esquer’s office and exclaimed proudly: “I want to be a Golden Bear.” Following a tour led by hitting coach Tony Arnerich, Mitchell Kranson

joined his summer teammate and longtime friend Max Dutto as two of the first three members of the 2012 recruiting class for the Bears, with the third being Lafayette (Calif.) Acalanes outfielder Grant Diede, who pulled the trigger on August 4.

“I kind of had an idea the whole day that I was going to make this decision, and it was just, I felt like I really connected with coach Arnerich today,” Kranson said. “Today was actually the first day where I actually got to talk to him in person, because of all the

[NCAA] rules. It was actually really cool seeing the baseball field with the football team on it, and I just wanted to be a part of something that’s bigger than me with Cal.”

Though he attends Concord (Calif.) De La Salle, the 5-foot-10, 190- pound Kranson hails from Danville, Calif., and lives very near to Dutto, who attends San Ramon Valley High School, along with 2012 quarterback commit Zach Kline. Kranson and Dutto have known one another for practically their entire lives. “Max and I play in the same league in EBAL, and Max and I have always known each other, way back,” Kranson said. “We used to play

soccer against each other when we were younger, and then, this summer, we re-connected in Florida at the Perfect Game Nationals, and he was just telling me that he’s going to Cal and that he really wants me to go there, too. He made the Area Code team, and so did I, so we hung out down there, and we even hang out outside of baseball. Wherever we go, if he’s at the same thing, we go out to dinner with our dads. Everywhere we go, we’re together.” Kranson is described by scouts as a very good hitter with plus gap power, and chose the Bears over scholarship offers from USC, Cal State Fullerton, Santa Clara, San Diego and Saint Mary’s. “I always wanted to play in the Pac-10, and I felt like with Cal, I’d have a great opportunity to play in the Pac-10, have a chance to play and I felt like Cal’s a place where I’m going to be able to become the best baseball player possible, because of all the resources I have, all the coaches and them always wanting to help me,” Kranson said. “If I ever need to go hit extra, I know I have a coach or a player there to help me with that, who would be there with me doing that.”

Despite a coaching change for the Spartans this season, De La Salle still reached the Division I North Coast Section CIF title game, falling to Union City (Calif.) James Logan, 1-0, to finish off a 20-8 season during which Kranson drove in over 30 runs, earning first-team All-EBAL recognition as a third baseman.

After the season, Kranson made the local Area Code Games team, playing for the northern California Oakland Athletics squad, along with Dutto, where the two made their fateful re-connection. “It seems like we’ve been at a lot of the same things this summer, and I can’t wait to play with him,” Kranson said. “He’s probably one of the first guys I called to let him know, because he’s the one who really persuaded me and made me feel that Cal was 100-percent the place for me.”

Kranson actually received his scholarship offer right after the Area Code tryouts. “That was July 8th or something like that, and I got offered the next week,” Kranson said. “I made the Area Code team, and I don’t know my exact stats, but I hit like .380 over the summer against some really good pitching. I got to go back to the Perfect Game National in Ft. Meyers, Fla., which was a really good experience. We went to Arizona and came in third, and I hit the ball really well this summer.”

Kranson’s work ethic is well-known in baseball circles, and that was one of the primary reasons Cal to the budget for extra batting gloves, because he takes enough off-hours swings to burn through a hefty number of pairs per season. During the off season, Kranson also works with Aaron Thigpen, a 2007 silver medalist in the 100 meters at the World Championships and a semi-pro baseball player.

“I work out of this place called Gamespeed in Dublin with Aaron Thigpen, and it’s a place that works on quickness, side-to-side movements, and he’s made me the athlete I am today,” Kranson said. “I’ve been going to him for a while. But, the thing that motivates me is that, if there’s something that I’m trying to grasp — in this case, I’ve wanted to be a college baseball player my whole life, and hopefully a pro ball player — I just try and motivate myself, and I don’t stop until I reach what I want to achieve. That’s what pushes me, and everyone that tells me that I’m too short or I don’t have any defense — all I can do is hit — and I just try to prove everyone wrong each and every day.”

Once Kranson arrives on campus, he will likely be slotted into the middle of the order as a strong left handed bat. “I have plenty of power, but I also hit for average,” Kranson said. “Most of my hits are doubles. I’m a gap guy. I stay in the gaps and I don’t strike out too often. I always put the ball in play, and if I do get out, I make productive outs, moving people over, getting people in, hitting sac-flies.”

While primarily a corner infielder, Kranson is versatile, having played plenty behind the dish. “I catch a little bit, but I play third base the most,” Kranson said. “I guess the way they look at me, I’m going to come in wherever there’s a spot open, because they’ve always said that my bat plays. I’m open to playing whatever position, as long as I get to hit. That’s the way I look at it.” Kranson and Dutto will now turn their attention to adding a few arms to their budding recruiting class. “My next task is to get any arm, any pitcher who’s good to go there,”

Kranson said. “There are a couple guys out there.” Just as Kranson made his pledge, Cal’s 2011 recruiting class is making its way to campus within a week.