LAKELAND, Fla. – Ross Kivett postponed his major-league dreams in order to get his college degree and have a shot at winning the College World Series.
He turned down his hometown Cleveland Indians, who drafted him in the 10th round in 2013, and instead returned to Kansas State University to finish out his senior year.
Unfortunately, Kivett’s senior season did not go as planned, as they finished 25-30 overall and finished last in the Big 12 conference, going 5-19.
He did, however, graduate with a degree in communications in 2014, and after his senior season, Kivett was selected in the sixth round (190th overall) by the Detroit Tigers.
“The fact that I could get a college degree is a big thing,” he said prior to practice Friday morning at Joker Marchant Stadium, home of the Tigers’ spring training workouts. “No one in my family had one, and I knew if I went back I’d be able to finish that.
Kivett also said that, despite his teams’ down season, returning for his senior year significantly improved his draft stock.
Now a member of the West Michigan Whitecaps, a minor-league affiliate of the Tigers, he also wanted to build on a great junior season, where his team won the Big 12 championship. He made the All-Big 12 First Team and won
Big 12 Player of the Year honours.
The 23-year-old Broadview Heights, Ohio native finished his senior season hitting .333, and added four home runs, 33 RBIs, and 21 stolen bases in 55 games.
“You only do college once,” he said. “I kind of wanted to prove myself, that I wasn’t a one-year thing and that I’ve been consistent throughout my career, and that I’m not afraid to go back and do it again.”
Kivett’s consistent attitude to improve has transitioned over to the pro side, where he recently moved into the outfield after mainly playing second base during his collegiate career. While the switch is tough, Kivett has embraced his new role with help along the way.
“My outfield co-ordinator Gene Roof, who’s one of the better guys in the business, he really pays attention to detail,” said Kivett.
“Working with him, since I had never played in the outfield, just getting comfortable to all three positions out there and reads, footwork, glove position, and throws.”
Though his plate is full with new concepts, one thought process remains constant in his mind.
“The less you think in this game, the better you are.”
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