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
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.
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