Kasson-Mantorville grad Brendan Knoll will get another shot to pitch in pro ball

Right-handed pitcher Brendan Knoll will play minor-league baseball with the independent Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks during the 2023 season.

Brendan Knoll, a Kasson-Mantorville grad, has signed a contract to play independent minor-league baseball with the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks for the 2023 season.
Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin file photo

ROCHESTER — Brendan Knoll is getting another shot at playing professional baseball in 2023.

The right-handed starting pitcher, a Kasson-Mantorville graduate, got a chance to play professionally in 2022 after completing his collegiate career at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Knoll pitched for the State College (Pa.) Spikers, a summer-league team.

Knoll is signing to play with the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks, an independent minor-league team in the American Association of Professional Baseball.

“I was very excited,” Knoll said. “One of my teammates (catcher Ben Livorsi) from Mankato plays there, too. It was a place I really wanted to go to, and I’ve heard good things about the coaching staff.”

The RedHawks have won a division title each of the past two seasons and claimed the league championship in 2022 as well.


“I’m pretty pumped about that,” Knoll said.

Knoll was also excited that Fargo is only about 5 1/2 hours from Kasson, which makes it possible for his parents to drive to games.

“That was part of the reason why I wanted to go there, too,” he said.

Knoll, who is 6-foot-1 and 220 pounds, was told that he would be given a chance to earn a spot on the back end of the starting rotation. The regular season begins the first week of May. Knoll said he is likely to have to report in early April.

Knoll and Thomas Bruss of Rochester, who also played for an independent minor-league team last summer, have both been working out daily at Rochester Batting Cages in an attempt to improve their velocity and pitching skills.

Brendan Knoll Mug.jpg
Brendan Knoll

“Their goal is to hop on with an affiliated team and both of them have a legit chance,” said Jeff Milene, the owner of Rochester Batting Cages.

Both pitchers have been working with former minor-league pitcher Mitch Brown. Knoll has been trying to increase his throwing velocity and is also doing specific weight training for his body.

“It’s still January so we’re not fully ramped up yet,” Knoll said. “The numbers have been increasing week by week so that’s a positive sign. Still have a couple more months of work to do, so hopefully it keeps going in that direction.”


Knoll’s fastball has been timed in the low 90s. He is trying to add several miles an hour to the pitch.

“The sad thing is the kid can really pitch, but when you throw 90, 91 (miles per hour) no one even gives you a second look,” Milene said. “Now he has to get it up to 92 to 94 and he has to prove he can get guys out.”

Knoll showed he could get hitters out during pro ball last summer. He pitched in 15 games, made 13 starts and posted a 2-4 record with a solid 3.45 ERA. He had a WHIP of 1.37 and allowed hitters to post a .266 batting average while striking out 53 and walking 18 in n 62⅔ innings.

When Knoll and Bruss are done training each day at Rochester Batting Cages, they also lend a hand to help youth players at the facility.

“They’re awesome; we’re really lucky to have them,” Milene said.

Guy N. Limbeck is a sports writer for the Post Bulletin. His Local Notebook appears each Tuesday. He can be reached at .

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Guy N. Limbeck is a Rochester native who has been working at a daily newspaper since 1981. He has worked at the Post Bulletin since 1999. Readers can reach Guy at 507-285-7724 or
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