Clarion Grad Taken by Astros in MLB Draft

| June 9, 2013

Jon Kemmer. Photo courtesy of Clarion University Sports Information Department.

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Jon Kemmer, a 2009 graduate of Clarion High School from Shippenville, was selected by the Houston Astros with the first pick in the 21st round of the annual Major League Baseball amateur draft Saturday.

“It’s hard to put into words,” Kemmer said. “I have been working for this my whole life to make this a dream come true.”

Kemmer, a 6-foot-2, 215-pound, left-handed hitting and throwing outfielder, played center field in college but projects as a corner outfielder in professional baseball.

“The Astros have told me I will be playing a corner outfield spot, most likely left field,” Kemmer said. “I now just have to wait for them to send someone up to sign the contract.”

As a 22-year old college draft pick, Kemmer will most likely be sent to one of two lower-level Astros’ farm teams. Houston has a team in Greeneville, Tenn., in the rookie league Appalachian League and another in Troy, N.Y. (Tri-Valley), in the short-season New York-Penn League. The Astros also have a minor league team in the rookie Gulf Coast League in Kissimmee, Fla., although that league is usually reserved for drafted high school players.

“They have not said where I will go yet, so I guess we will wait and see,” Kemmer said.

Kemmer’s voyage to being drafted after graduating Clarion High School has been a long one that has seen him play for three different colleges.

This past spring, he suited up for NAIA Brewton Parker College in Mount Vernon, Ga., after spending the 2012 season at Clarion University and the 2010 and 2011 seasons at Allegheny College of Maryland, a junior college in Cumberland, Md.

At Brewton Parker Kemmer hit a team-leading .366 (53 of 145) in 45 games with 12 home runs, 13 doubles and one triple while driving in 41. He slugged .717 with an OPS (on-base plus slugging) of 1.183 (anything over 1.000 is considered exceptional). He also stole six bases in seven tries walked 23 times and was hit by a pitch seven times. Kemmer was a first-team NAIA All-American, the Southern States Athletic Conference Player of the Year and a first-team All-Conference performer.

Jon Kemmer. Photo courtesy of Clarion University Sports Information Department.

Playing for Clarion University in 2012, Kemmer was a first-team American Baseball Coaches Association NCAA Division II All-Atlantic Region selection, a second-team National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association player and a first-team All-PSAC West choice. He hit .387 with a 1.207 OPS including a .526 on-base percentage, the fourth best at Clarion since 1979, and a .681 slugging percentage, the sixth-best at Clarion since 1979. He led the team in runs scored (37), doubles (14) and triples (3) while ranking second in home runs with five and tying for second in RBIs with 25.

As a sophomore at Allegheny College of Maryland, he hit .440 (66 of 150) with 12 home runs and 67 RBIs after hitting .445 with seven homers and 74 RBIs as a freshman at Allegheny.

In 2009, his senior season at Clarion High School, Kemmer led the Bobcats to a District 9 runner-up spot and the PIAA playoffs, where the Bobcats went 1-1 with a win over Villa Maria Academy and a loss to Serra Catholic to finish the season 16-3. Kemmer hit an eye-popping .727 (48 of 66) that season with 11 home runs, 13 doubles and a triple in 19 games with 46 RBIs and 42 runs scored. He also went 4-0 on the mound with four saves and a 1.34 ERA. He hit .544 with six home runs and 27 RBIs as a junior in 2008.

A multi-sport star for Clarion High, Kemmer helped the Bobcats to a District 9 runner-up spot in football in 2008 by rushing for 702 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior and recording 128 tackles (9.8 per game) on defense.

While in college, Kemmer also played in the New York Collegiate Baseball League and was the 2012 NYCBL Player of the Year after hitting .441 with a league-leading nine home runs and 53 RBIs.

NOTES – Kemmer is the second player to play for Clarion High School’s baseball team to be drafted, joining Matt Righter, who was a 21st round pick in 2004 by the Detroit Tigers out of Johns Hopkins University. Righter, a right-handed pitcher and the son of the Clarion University men’s basketball coach Ron Righter, played five years in the Tigers organization making it as far as Class AAA Toledo. Now the pitching coach at Johns Hopkins, he also played for a pair of independent-league teams finishing his professional career in 2009 with the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs in the Atlantic League. In six years of pro ball, Righter was 18-15 with a 4.26 ERA … Kemmer is at least the third draft pick out of Clarion High School, as Clarion High graduate Brad Frazier was taken in the 40th round out of Clarion University by the Florida Marlins. Frazier, the only baseball coach in Clarion-Limestone history, played two seasons in the Marlins organization and a year of independent-league ball. A left-handed pitcher, he went 14-4 with a 4.56 ERA in those three seasons. Clarion High didn’t have a baseball team when Frazier was there in the late 1980s.

Photos courtesy Clarion University Sports Information Department


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