Larson Kindreich just has that look. The 6-foot-4 lefty just looks like a pitcher. And pitching has always come easy for the Central Point, Ore., native.
He put together a season for the ages in high school. One time during his senior year at Crater High School, Kindreich had a streak of 37 no-hit innings. He fanned 116 hitters in 53 innings and only allowed 11 meager hits all season.
He chose Biola University in gorgeous La Mirada, Calif., but his freshman season wasn’t like high school. For the first time in a long time, Kindreich got rocked a little bit. Welcome to college baseball.
Kindreich still finished top-five in his conference with 72 strikeouts in 52 2/3 innings. But the 7.01 ERA made him cringe and the 34 free passes were just way too many.
Kindreich realized that there was a lot more to pitching than just walking up onto the bump and firing. Preparation was so key. The six other days when he wasn’t pitching were going to be absolutely vital for long-term success.
Armed with that new knowledge, Kindreich returned to Biola his sophomore year and absolutely rolled.
He didn’t allow an earned run in 30 innings of work. He only walked five of the 112 batters that stepped into the box. He was Biola’s legitimate ace and was on pace to be the PacWest Pitcher of the Year.
Then, COVID-19 canceled the rest of the season. Kindreich had multiple summer leagues get canceled on him, too. He was looking for a place to play when Deskaheh ‘Bomber’ Bomberry invited him to come to Rochester and play for the Honkers.
He couldn’t pass it up. Kindreich has been the Honkers' best starter. He’s fanned 38 in 30 1/3 innings of work. His ERA sits at a terrific 2.67 and the walks (3) are still way down.
“It’s definitely a confidence-booster,” Kindreich said. “Especially thinking about how it was looking like I might not get to throw this summer. And then the abbreviated spring season where I only threw like 30 innings. Got a small sample size but I felt so good. I felt strong, but I definitely wondered if that was going to last. I came here with the same mindset, the same preparation, and to get some more success is really cool. It’s great to see it come together.”
Kindreich’s concerns were totally valid. He was terrific in 30 innings. But lots of pitchers can put together a good 30 innings. Kindreich proved this summer that he’s a legitimate ace and that he should be on the radar at the 2021 MLB Draft.
Hitters are only managing a putrid .174 batting average this summer against Kindreich, and they’re not getting anything easy off him. He’s only allowed five extra-base hits all season.
“It’s so much fun,” Kindreich said. “Just getting to hear how guys do it at other programs, how their coaches teach and how they play the game, and seeing the competition on the other teams, too, and seeing how they go about their business. I get to see things I can bring back to my school and implement them in my own game. That’s super exciting. Love that about this summer.”
Kindreich wasn’t sure if he’d have a place to play this summer. The Honkers gave him that opportunity. In a couple weeks, he’ll head back to California brimming with confidence.
Kindreich is at the top of his game. And he’s only going to get better.
“It’s been awesome to get the opportunity to play here,” Kindreich said. “I can’t say enough about how Rochester has accepted me and how the Honkers were able to get me out here. I’m super thankful. This was a last-second thing, but I’m so happy I got here.”