KSU pitcher Chafin selected by Diamondbacks in MLB Draft

Doug Brown

Kent State pitcher Andrew Chafin boarded a chartered plane with his teammates Tuesday night, wondering if he would be drafted into the big leagues. He landed as a draftee of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

“We were watching the draft on somebody’s iPad before the plane took off (from Texas) and we lost service,” Chafin said. “Once we started descending, pretty much everybody had their phones out trying to find who can get service first. Kyle Hallock just looked at me and said ‘congrats man’ and the whole plane erupted.”

The redshirt sophomore found out he was the 43rd overall selection in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft and had the opportunity to start his pro career.

Assistant athletic director Alan Ashby went online to join the Flashes’ celebration. “Cool moment tonight: Andrew Chafin finding out as our plane is landing that he had been drafted by the Diamondbacks. #GoFlashes!” he posted on Twitter Tuesday night.

“I really had no expectations,” Chafin said. “I knew there was a big possibility that I could be picked by them, but I really had no idea going into this when I would be picked or even if I would be.”

Chafin finished the season with an 8-1 record and 105 strikeouts in 89 innings. He made his last start in the Flashes’ 7-5 win against Texas Saturday night, outdueling Longhorns pitcher—and 12th overall draft pick to the Milwaukee Brewers—Taylor Jungmann.

Other Kent State players selected in the 2011 MLB First-Year Player Draft

• 141st overall (4th round)– White Sox: Kyle McMillen, RHP, Junior. 1-2 record, 1.80 ERA, 30 innings pitched in 28 appearances with 18 saves.

• 292nd overall (9th round)– Red Sox: Travis Shaw, 3B, Junior. .307 batting average in 244 at bats, 51 RBI, .401 on base percentage, .961 fielding percentage.

• 310th overall (10th round)– Astros: Kyle Hallock, LHP, Senior. 10-4 record, 1.95 ERA, 106 innings pitched in 17 appearances with 16 starts.

• 609th overall (20th round) – Cubs: Ben Klafczynski, OF, Senior. .368 batting average in 247 at bats, 57 RBI, .448 on base percentage, .960 fielding percentage.

Chafin is the 76th Kent State player selected since the draft began in 1965, and the highest drafted player since the San Francisco Giants selected shortstop Emmanuel Burriss 33rd overall in 2006.

The draft is open to Americans and Canadians and can last up to 50 rounds. If players attend a four-year college, they become eligible after their junior year. Drafted college players have until Aug. 15 to either sign a contract with the organization or return to school with the option to reenter the draft next year.

Chafin has two more years of eligibility and can return to school if he doesn’t get the contract he wants.

“I don’t really know what I’m going to do,” he said. “I would really like to sign, but if things aren’t met, if I don’t get what I want, or an agreeable amount, then I’ll be coming back to school.”

Whether he stays or goes, Chafin said he will always appreciate his Kent State coaches and teammates.

“They are a great bunch of guys and coaches,” he said. “With the team, I couldn’t be where I am without them; without them there’s no me. We’re just a big family. I love everybody on the team and I’m going to miss them. “


Andrew Chafin is a 6-foot-2-inch, 210-pound lefty who will turn 21 years old next week. He has “an above-average fastball that can touch 94 mph but sits at 91-92 with a ton of movement,” according to his MLB.com scouting report. “He throws both a curve (79-83 mph) and a slider (83-85 mph).”

After earning All-American honors as a freshman in 2009, Chafin underwent Tommy John surgery (common among professional pitchers), causing him to miss the entire 2010 season.

A tendon was removed from his left forearm and grafted onto his left elbow. The surgery has about an 85% success rate, but recovery can last over a year and a half.

“I had one of the best surgeons in the country do the operation,” Chafin said about Dr. Timothy Kremchek, the Cincinnati Reds’ medical director and chief orthopedic physician. “I knew that (if I did) all the annoying, tedious workouts that you have to do every day, that I’d be able to come back stronger than before. And that’s what I did for the last two years now, to do everything thing I can, to get in the best shape I can, to be as good as I can.”

His scouting report corroborates his story: “Chafin didn’t get the memo that says pitchers tend to be inconsistent in their first season following Tommy John surgery… Not only has he returned, but he’s been the team’s Friday starter and pitched very well.”

Whether he pitches for Kent State or in the Diamondbacks’ organization next year, Chafin said he expects to have an even better year on the mound.

“The second year (after Tommy John surgery) is when a good amount of pitchers get a lot better,” Chafin said.

Contact Summer Kent Stater reporter Doug Brown at [email protected].