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Nathan Kirby Joins ‘From Phenom To The Farm’: Episode 101 — College Baseball, MLB Draft, Prospects

Nathan Kirby Joins ‘From Phenom To The Farm’: Episode 101 — College Baseball, MLB Draft, Prospects

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Nathan Kirby (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)

Heading into the 2012 draft, Nathan Kirby was a BA Top 200 prospect, with a chance to go as high as the top two rounds.

A lefthander from James River High School in Midlothian, Va., Kirby had the velocity, ability to spin the ball and projection professional organizations look for in a high school arm, but the University of Virginia commit knew that while the physicality for professional baseball was there, the readiness to pass up college for the professional lifestyle wasn’t.

“When I’ve made decisions in my life, I’ve been fortunate that my parents have been there by my side. They’ve given me the right information to make good decisions, and that decision for me was that I wasn’t ready, I wasn’t grown up,” said Kirby. “I realized that I need to go to college, it seemed to be a better place for me to grow—I wasn’t ready for all the things that came with getting drafted.”

Less than two hours from his home, UVA was everything Kirby wanted in a school, with elite academics and a top-tier baseball program—both of which challenged him during his first year in Charlottesville. Adapting to the classroom is a challenge for any UVA freshman, and on the mound in the 2013 college season, Kirby went from Top 200 draft prospect to bullpen arm with an ERA over 6.00. However, lessons from that freshman year paved the way for his future success. 

“I couldn’t be more thankful for the failures that I did have as a freshman at UVA,” said Kirby. “Through failing 90% of the time my freshman year, doing a lot of running, I applied a lot of those things I learned.”

Kirby made good use of lessons learned as a freshman during his sophomore season. He garnered ACC Co-Pitcher of the Year and Baseball America first-team All-American honors as UVA’s Friday night starter, tossing an 18-strikeout no-hitter against Pittsburgh along the way. 

His sophomore campaign was nearly without blemish, until his start in the opening game of the College World Series finals, an early exit in a loss to eventual national champion Vanderbilt. Unfortunately for Kirby, his dream season had ended with a bitter taste. 

“The thing I felt awful about was seeing all the juniors and seniors that had to move on,” said Kirby. 

His junior year promised to be more of the same on the mound, but injuries to his lat and elbow put Kirby on the shelf for most of the…

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