After battling midseason elbow inflammation, Triton College pitcher Will Kincanon hoped he still could generate interest for the 2016 Major League Baseball Draft First-Year Player Draft June 9.
The 2014 Riverside-Brookfield High School graduate and Landmark Male Athlete of the Year soon had plenty.
“I remember pitching a game at Oakton and there were 27 scouts there,” Kincanon said. “Actually it was filled up, the seats behind home plate and like 25 radar guns. It’s definitely a cool feeling that people are interested in you.”
Kincanon is hopeful for even more interest in 2017.
Kincanon was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 29th round with the 881st selection, but the recent Triton graduate has opted to continue his plans to play next season for Indiana State University.
“It was definitely an honor, definitely an accomplishment, a cool feeling,” Kincanon said.
“If I were drafted top five (rounds) and got a really good (bonus) number, I was ready to sign. If not, I’d try to go to school and improve my stock and be ready when pro ball comes around again, barring any injuries. I believe I’ll be a better pro ball player by next year so I think it’s a blessing in disguise it didn’t work out anyway.”
The 6-foot-3, 210-pound Kincanon was a 2016 All-Region IV selection for Triton. He was 5-2 with a 2.77 earned-run average and helped the Trojans win the Region IV Division I championship.
Kincanon attended workouts for draft prospects with the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field, the 2015 World Series champion Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium and the San Diego Padres in Ohio.
Kincanon met Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer, president of baseball operation Theo Epstein, special assistant Ted Lilly and injured player Kyle Schwarber. He also met the general managers of the Royals and Padres and scouts.
“It was definitely cool meeting people who had been in the game a lot time and know what they’re doing,” Kincanon said.
Kincanon said some mock drafts had him projected for the fifth or sixth round, even as high as the fourth, but signing and bonus money became an issue. Kincanon informed clubs of his intent to otherwise continue college baseball.
As the opening rounds passed, Kincanon figured that he wouldn’t be drafted at all. He was working out at XSport Fitness when the Dodgers selected him.
“I got 10 text messages saying congrats and I didn’t know what they were talking about. Then the Dodgers called me and told me I was drafted,” Kincanon said. “I knew I was going to school, but the Dodgers drafted me anyway.”
At RBHS, Kincanon was a two-time all-stater who set numerous school records for pitching and career doubles and helped the Bulldogs capture two regional and conference titles. One of his favorite moments was pitching a no-hitter and near perfect game for a 1-0 victory over Montini in the 2013 Class 3A regional finals.
According to BaseballReference.com, one of the last RBHS players drafted was Jeff Cermak in 1996 by the Houston Astros in the 12th round. Cermak previously was drafted in 1992 and 1995 but continued to play collegiately for Mesa Community College and Arizona State.
In his family, Kincanon follows in the pitching footsteps of his father, Bill, who starred at Oak Park and River Forest High School and was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the seventh round in 1981. His late grandfather, Louis, also was drafted and pitched six minor league seasons in the 1940s.
“It’s really great having someone who knows the game being your dad,” Kincanon said. “Dad was definitely a help along the way. He really taught me everything, the basics of the game. As I got better, he was beside me the whole time and helped me with my decisions.”
Bill Kincanon also played baseball at Triton for one season and was a basketball standout at OPRF who played against a younger Glenn “Doc” Rivers from Proviso East.
In the minor leagues, Kincanon played for four teams over four seasons, finishing with the Tampa Tarpons in the Class A Florida State League.
“He’s better than me,” Bill Kincanon said of Will. “He throws harder and has better stuff. He understands the game, works harder than I ever did. When I played, we didn’t lift weights, any of that stuff. It’s totally different now.”
Kincanon has continued to improve his fastball, clocking as high as 97 miles per hour. He also has begun working on a slider, which he hopes can complement his already stifling change-up.
“I want to be a four-pitch guy and command my pitches with a stronger velocity and game overall,” Kincanon said.
“I hope to be consistently 93 to 96 (with my fastball). That’s my goal. I want to work on command off all of my pitches. My change-up is my best pitch. I want to get it better. I’ve kind of stopped throwing my curve ball (because of the slider) and I’d like to get that back.”
Bossard drafted by White Sox
Recent Nazareth Academy graduate and shortstop Brandon Bossard was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 31st round as the 926th selection.
Bossard’s senior season was ended after he was hit by a pitch and fractured his wrist April 22. He hit .353 in 19 games. The Roadrunners were 11-2 win Bossard in the lineup and finished 22-14.
“Defensively, (Bossard) was one of the best shortstops in the state,” Nazareth coach Lee Milano said. “Brandon was clocked as high as 90 mph across the infield. I am not surprised he was drafted. He probably would have been drafted earlier if he played the entire season and scouts were able to see him more.”
The 6-foot, 185-pound Bossard is slated to attend Heartland Community College, a Division II junior college program in Normal, along with recently graduated teammate Carson Bartels.
Bossard, the son of renown White Sox groundskeeper Roger Bossard, is only the second player to be drafted straight out of Nazareth. Michael Spidale was drafted by the White Sox in 2000 and played 13 professional seasons.
Bossard, who lives in Lemont, was out with his buddy Nathan Broskovetz when a phone call came from one of the White Sox scouts.
“He said, ‘Just watch the MLB Draft live right now.’ Ten minutes later I heard my name called. (We) went crazy,” Bossard said.
“By the time I went home, my whole family knew about it. It was a great time. It was a dream come true. I knew there was a chance because I had been in touch with a few scouts. I wasn’t expecting to (get drafted), but I always knew there was that little chance.”
After consulting with his family, Bossard decided to attend Heartland two seasons and perhaps attend college one more year before seriously considering the minor leagues. Fellow recent Nazareth graduate and middle infielder Carson Bartels will be his teammate and roommate at Heartland.
Two weeks ago, Bossard had the cast removed for his broken right wrist that he wore for six weeks.
“When the cast was on, I really couldn’t do much. All I did was run, a lot of leg workouts, keeping my legs in shape,” Bossard said. “I check swung and the ball hit my right wrist straight on the bone. If it had hit anywhere else, my hand would have been fine.”