Photo: Mark LoMoglio / Tampa Tarpons

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Zach Kohn just wants to be himself. 

The 25-year-old right-hander, who signed with the Monarchs this week, has persevered throughout his career. Now he’s ready to make some noise with the American Association club. 

“I really just want to get back to me on the field. That’s the biggest part I’m looking forward to,” Kohn said. 

The former Yankees prospect heard of the Monarchs from Justin Shafer, a former major leaguer who pitched with the organization in 2021. Kohn said Shafer brought up the team while the two were working out together earlier this winter. 

Kohn said Shafer called the Monarchs “a top-of-the-line organization.”

“He said they take care of their players; they’ve got a good group of guys,” Kohn said. “I looked into it more and more, and it seemed like the right fit for me.”

A standout in college, Kohn helped Central Michigan to a MAC tournament title that clinched the program’s first NCAA tournament bid since 1995.

The Michigan native earned the win in CMU’s NCAA tournament opener that year, throwing the final 2.1 innings and striking out five in a 6-5 triumph over Miami.  

Kohn says his competitive fire helps him excel on the mound.

“I’m pretty aggressive out there,” Kohn said. “I show a lot of emotion.”

The Yankees drafted Kohn in the 21st round in 2019. He last pitched for the Class A Tampa Tarpons in 2022. He owns a 11.2 K/9 and 4.35 ERA in 29 appearances of affiliated baseball. 

The Monarchs have won three straight division titles in the American Association (not counting the 2020 season when the club did not participate due to the pandemic.) They’ve finished with the MLB Partner League’s best regular-season record in each of the last two seasons, winning the league title in 2021. 

Kohn is the third pitcher the Monarchs have signed for the 2023 season. Right-hander Alex Valdez officially joined the club on January 18. Former major leaguer Ryan Castellani signed with the Monarchs on February 13. 

The Monarchs open the upcoming season on Friday, May 12, on the road against the Sioux City Explorers. Their 2023 home opener is set for Friday, May 19 against the Sioux Falls Canaries. Fans can buy tickets, check out upcoming promotions and learn more about the team at MonarchsBaseball.com.

Follow the Monarchs on Twitter @KSCityMonarchs, on Instagram @KC_Monarchs, and at Facebook.com/KCMonarchsBaseball.