The Diamondbacks selected two players from South Alabama in this year's draft: Outfielder Tyler Jones in the 19th round, and Chase Christianson in the 8th round. And guess what? The two were roommates in College. Chase spoke with FutureBacks about his draft day, a closer's mindset, and another alum from Alabama that you might have heard of...
"It's kind of hard having expectations going into the draft, because it's pretty unpredictable," Christianson explained. I was just hoping that a team would give me a shot, and fortunately, the Diamondbacks gave me the opportunity."
Despite the excitement after so much uncertainty, and despite five of his teammates also getting selected in the draft, Chase didn't go out and party after hearing the good news. "There wasn't really a whole lot of celebrating," he said. "You're trying to get ready to go and get out here and start playing."
Obviously, with six players selected in this year's draft, South Alabama continues its reputation of having a solid baseball program. In fact, the Diamondbacks' own Luis Gonzalez is a major part of the history there. Gonzo got drafted out of South Alabama in the 4th round of the 1988 draft.
"He represented well," Christianson said of Luis. "He'd done a great job at South and he's done a great job in his pro career. Everyone back in Mobile is real proud of him."
Certainly, Christianson has a similar opportunity to make Mobile cheer. He overcame a bout of wildness in his Freshman season and drastically improved his game the two seasons since. This year at South Alabama, he struck out 59 batters and walked only12 in just over 60 innings of work. He boasts a four-pitch repertoire, which is unusual for a closer, and has the right makeup and durability to succeed in that high pressure role.
"It's different," admitted Chase. "Being a starter all my life, then getting thrown into the pen my second and third year at South... it takes a different kind of mindset. You know when you come in the game there's not a lot of room for error."
"But everybody that closes, I think, likes the pressure."
Chase is currently seeing the bulk of the save opportunities for Yakima.Premium subscibers can listen to the Chase Christianson Full Audio Interview
Read more from Keith Glab at www.baseballevolution.com