Kaipo Ronnie Jay Spenser
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 3", Weight 220 lb.
- School Arizona State University
- High School St. Anthony Jr Sr High School
In 1994, Kaipo Spenser won 10 games and lost none for the Arizona State University Sun Devils with a 3.80 ERA, and 64 strikeouts in 92 1/3 IP as a walk-on freshman. For his accomplishments, he was awarded the school's Freshman of the Year Award.
In 1995, Spenser won ASU's Pitcher of the Year Award. He was 8-5 with 3 saves and a 3.05 ERA, ranking fifth in the Pacific-10 Conference in ERA. His 112 strikeouts tied for third. He made the All-Conference team. He was also named a first-team pre-season All American by Baseball America.
In 1996, Spenser named co-team captain. He was suspended for three games along with pitching coach Bob Welch, another coach and four other players for a bench clearing brawl between the Sun Devils and the Trojans of USC in March. The penalties were the strongest ever handed down by the Pacific-10 Conference for an altercation in any sport. One of the Trojans suspended for the same brawl was Jeff DePippo who would become Kaipo's teammate at Kinston in 1999. On April 10 of that year, he combined with three other ASU pitchers in one-hitting Southern Utah University.
In 2005, Kaipo came back to ASU to participate in a Sun Devils baseball alumni golf tournament.
While at Arizona State University in 1995, Spenser was also a member of Team USA. He went 3-1 with a 3.27 ERA. Only Eric DuBose had a worse ERA on the team. Spenser led the team in strikeouts (43 in 44 IP) and walks (20). The USA did not play in either the 1995 Pan American Games or 1995 Intercontinental Cup but they did sweep Cuba in four games, the first time that ever happened, and also won the National Baseball Congress World Series.
Spenser was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 1996 amateur draft (16th round; 483rd overall), but did not play until 1998 due to surgery on his ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow (i.e. Tommy John surgery).
In 1998, Kaipo started the season with the Kinston Indians but was eventually sent down to the Columbus RedStixx to get more work in. His velocity had returned following his surgery, but it was felt that he had to work on building arm strength and working on pitch development. He had a combined record of 3-13 in 24 games with a 4.87 ERA. There was no return of his arm problems during the season.
Unlike his previous season where he started all 24 of the games he pitched in, in 1999, he only started 5 of the 35 games he appeared in. He went 3-4 with 1 save and a 3.25 ERA back up in Kinston.