Dylan Chavez was not surprised to hear his name called Tuesday in the MLB draft, relatively early considering his numbers and a couple of difficult outings at the end of the year.
A left-handed reliever for Ole Miss, Chavez credits assistant coach Carl Lafferty for helping him become a better strike-thrower.
However, the strikes he threw were getting hit hard at the end of the year. For 36.2 innings he gave up only six walks and struck out 36. But he was getting hit hard late in the season and finished with nine doubles and four home runs, and opponents were hitting .290 against him.
Chavez is an interesting case. Left-handed pitchers are always popular in the draft. He had been in talks with the Red Sox and had a feeling he would be drafted yesterday.
“Yeah, I was at my phone and everything. I was expecting to go today, so I was monitoring everything. I was really excited when I found out. You never know for sure. You always hear a lot of stuff. Things change so much on the fly during the draft, so it's kinda a crapshoot. I've talked to (Boston) a good bit. They're just getting my information and everything, and figuring everything out,” he said.
Chavez doesn't talk like a guy who's made up his mind to leave, but signs kind of point that direction.
There weren't many this season, but the Chavez departure would leave Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco, with no returning left-handed options going into 2013.
A good lefty can throw things off for the opponent as witnessed Sunday when TCU's fourth starter, Brandon Finnegan, caused a lineup change for Bianco. The Rebels were less effective than they'd been in the first two days of the regional as Finnegan threw 7.1 innings.