Niko Kavadas was the 11 round pick 316 overall of the Boston Red Sox in the 2021 draft.out of Notre Dame.
JO: Take me through the draft process, because we know you had a pretty high rank according to some outlets falling to the 11th round. Take me through that process.
NK: Yeah, it was a really cool process for me. It was tough because, you know, our season ended at Notre Dame in brutal fashion down in Starkville, Mississippi. And then immediately, you know, my focus had to shift towards pro ball and what’s best for me and my career moving forward. It was a difficult decision to walk away from Notre Dame, but I’m really happy with the decision I’ve come to and I’m really happy to be a part of the Boston Red Sox organization. It’s such a fabled franchise, and it’s so cool to be able to put those colors on every day. And that process was really cool. I had absolutely no idea what to expect. And you know, we were going into the 11th round on, you know, Monday or Tuesday or whatever it was, and you know, Jim Callis had referenced me on MLB Network. And with the fourth pick, the Red Sox selected me and its history ever since it’s been awesome.
JO: Growing up being from South Bend, Indiana, were you a big Sox fan? Who was your go to team growing up?
NK: Yeah, it was funny. I was a huge Cubs fan growing up. My dad went to I.U (Indiana). Kyle Schwarber went to IU, and I went to see him play a couple times in high school. And, you know, the left-handed stock back from the Midwest is always something you know, I’ve looked up to a little bit. And, you know, when he was with the Cubs, it was really, really cool. It was really fun. It was exciting to have him in my backyard. Out there in Chicago. It’s just an hour and a half from here. and, you know, when I was drafted by the Red Sox, and then I saw Schwarber had been traded to the Red Sox. I thought that that was a really, really cool coincidence as well.
JO: So obviously, Draft Day is a big moment for anybody regardless. But besides that, what is one moment in your baseball career that’s your favorite?
NK: I think clinching a regional, I think my senior year at Notre Dame there when we had collected that final out and, you know, I looked in coach Jarrett’s eyes, and I could see how much it meant to him. I think that that was one of the most special moments that I’ve ever experienced.
JO: You mentioned Schwarber. Was he the one you emulated your game after or is there another guy who may be even before?
NK: Yeah, so my dad grew up and he played golf, and he never really played baseball. To teach me the swing, he had to learn everything from scratch. We always like to watch Adrian Gonzalez videos. And you know, he’d circle certain things being a left-handed power bat and you know, his swing looks the same here. It looks different here like this. These are some minor adjustments you can make. And I think that before Schwarber that who would have been for me is Adrian Gonzalez, and maybe a little bit of Robinson Cano
JO: Is there anybody whether it’s in the minors right now or in Boston, that you are really excited to potentially play with.
NK: Um, everyone, you know, everywhere I’ve been, I’ve been in Kalamazoo. I’ve been to Notre Dame. I’ve been in Cape Cod out in Harwich, Massachusetts. And it seems like wherever I play, you can pick things up from your teammates and your opponents. you know, talking baseball with people who have the baseball knowledge that everyone in the organization of the Boston Red Sox has, it just helps you get better. And I’m really excited to continue to be able to talk baseball with some really intelligent baseball minds.
JO: So that homerun ball, your hit against Mississippi State and the Super Regional. Have you got confirmation that that thing’s landed yet?
NK: Not quite yet. No, that’s one of my better swings. That’s one of the things I’m most proud of.