baseball-d1 flag

Andrew Cyr | NCAA.com | March 30, 2018

Meet NC State's Mantle-esque slugger Brett Kinneman

  Through 25 games this season, Kinneman has hit 12 home runs, which is tied for second most in the nation.

Although his coach merely jokes that his looks resemble those of Yankees legend Mickey Mantle, NC State outfielder Brett Kinneman’s swing isn’t too bad, either.

Kinneman, a junior outfielder for the No. 10 Wolfpack off to a 21-4 start, has emerged as one of the nation’s breakout stars in 2018. He's currently tied for second in the nation with 12 home runs to go along with his .340/.413/.774 splits, 36 hits and 34 RBIs, all despite not appearing on the preseason Golden Spikes award watch list, 

“He's just a throwback to everything the game used to be when we all fell in love with it," NC State coach Elliott Avent said in an interview with D1baseball.com. "I grew up loving Mickey Mantle, and I call him Mickey Mantle because he reminds me of Mickey Mantle.”

But Avert didn’t stop there with the comparisons with Mantle.

NCAA Baseball


JOIN THE TEAM.


“He plays the game like Pete Rose played it. He plays the game like you'd picture maybe Ty Cobb, Stan Musial, Joe DiMaggio, who had great respect for the game, Willie Mays — he'd always make great turns,” Avert said in the same interview. “They didn't play the game according to the score, they played the game the way it's supposed to be played. He reminds me of that since his freshman year."

A life-long Yankees fan, Kinneman welcomed the comparison to the Hall of Famer with open arms.

“He messes with me sometimes,” Kinneman said in a phone interview with NCAA.com. “Referring to that article, it’s more about that we kind of look alike and sometimes I wear my hat up like he would and stuff like that. He always says, 'You’re not as good as Mickey but you kind of look like him' and stuff like that.”

MORE: Wolfpack jump up to No. 10 in latest D1baseball.com poll after 21-4 start

NC State currently has the best record in the ACC, sitting atop the Atlantic standings with a 7-2 mark, and is off to its best start since 2003. Kinneman has started all 25 games for the Wolfpack as their No. 2 hitter and a regular in left field.

Kinneman started 57 games for NC State last season as sophomore, finishing with a .282 average, 59 hits, 10 home runs and 41 RBIs. As a freshman in 2016, he worked his way into 42 games (32 starts) but his numbers didn't come close to what he's done so far in 2018. After spending the summer playing in the Cape Cod Baseball League, Kinneman returned to Raleigh this year looking to improve on “the little things.”

Kinneman's year-by-year stats:
Year Class GP-GS AVG AB Runs Hits 2B 3B HR RBI OBP SLG
2016 Freshman 42-34 .296 135 33 40 13 0 6 32 .405 .526
2017 Sophomore 60-57 .282 209 36 59 14 1 10 41 .372 .502
2018* Junior 25-25 .340 106 22 36 4 3 12 34 .413 .774

*Stats through April 28

“We talk a lot here about plate discipline and not swinging out of the zone too much,” he said. “You want to get yourself into good hitters counts, and obviously the more hitters counts you get yourself into hopefully the more fastballs you will get. And it all just comes down to putting a good swing on those fastballs.”

So what exactly happens when Kinneman gets a pitch in the zone he can drive? Well, this:

Growing up in York, Pa, Kinneman isn’t from one of the traditional baseball hotbeds as seen in places like California, Florida and Texas. But he has put himself and NC State on the national radar. NC State entered the season picked to finish fourth in the Atlantic division behind Florida State, Louisville and Clemson. But now one of the top players in the nation, Kinneman and the rest of the Wolfpack are playing with confidence and have garnered plenty of attention around college baseball. 

Here are some more personal things to know about Kinneman:

Favorite baseball player growing up: Derek Jeter

Favorite non-baseball athlete or team: LeBron James

Pregame rituals? [I'm] not a crazy superstitious guy so I don’t have any pregame rituals.

What are you listening to before the game: Country music. I’m kind of all over the place, I don’t really have a favorite singer.

Favorite movie: Remember the Titans

TV show: Breaking Bad

Swept up in the nation’s Fortnite trend?: I do play a decent amount. I’m obviously doing a lot of school work but when I get some free time I’ll definitely play a little bit here and there. I’ll tell you what though, it’s crazy. We got a ton of guys that play and it’s just sweeping the freaking nation, man. 

Favorite baseball moment: We hosted a [NCAA tournament] regional my freshman year. I thought that was pretty cool. Obviously, we have good fans, but that was the best atmosphere we’ve had here, I’d say, since I’ve been here.

What he wants to do after baseball: I’m a business administration major. I’m not 100-percent sure what I would want to do with that, but I can really envision myself being a baseball coach someday. I really enjoy being around the field all the time. I can even see myself getting involved with some college coaching or doing something along those lines as well. 

2020 ACC football schedule: Games, dates, matchups

Here is what you need to know for the 2020 ACC football season schedule, including the matchups as part of the 10-game conference schedule. Notre Dame is eligible for the ACC title game.
READ MORE

The 50 states, ranked by the total number of men's basketball championships

Here's every state, ranked by how many men's basketball national championships each school has won.
READ MORE

Jim Valvano and Lorenzo Charles will forever be connected by a dunk at the 1983 NCAA tournament

Jim Valvano and Lorenzo Charles share nearly the same burial site, but they will also forever be connected by a dunk — and a moment that is part of the beating heart of NCAA tournament history.
READ MORE
Division I
Baseball Championship
June 18-30, 2021
TD Ameritrade Park | Omaha, NE

Subscribe To Email Updates

Enter your information to receive emails about offers, promotions from NCAA.com and our partners