Tom Kotchman Strikes Again

Day One of the 2008 amateur draft is over, and it’s no surprise to see Tom Kotchman’s imprint on one high-round pick.

Last year’s first-round choice was Jon Bachanov, selected out of Orlando’s University High School, who was scouted by Kotchman. Bachanov went down with an elbow injury and underwent “Tommy John” surgery last winter, but these days that’s no big deal. (Ask Nick Adenhart.) This time next year, Jon will be on the mound at extended spring training as he prepares to report to Kotch in Orem, or maybe he’ll go to Cedar Rapids.

The Angels had no first-round choice this year, losing their pick to the Twins in compensation for Torii Hunter, but the Angels’ successful “high-risk, high-reward” philosophy means they’ll just be a little smarter when their turn comes around.

Picking #74, the Angels chose Tyler Chatwood from Redlands’ East Valley High School. (Redlands is about 25 miles east of Rancho Cucamonga.) In the third round, they called the name of Ryan Chaffee, who pitched this year at Chipola Junior College.

If you know your Tom Kotchman 101, Chipola JC is the community college almost in his backyard. Christal Kotchman, his daughter and Casey’s sister, played softball at Chipola.

As soon as I saw Chaffee listed, I checked Baseball America and found this entry:

Florida always has one of the deepest pools of junior-college talent, and this year is no different. Ryan Chaffee is the best of the bunch. The winning pitcher for Chipola in the Junior College World Series championship game last season, he broke his ankle in April and had surgery to repair it. Chaffee returned late in the season and pitched a shutout in the Florida junior college tournament, striking out 18 and sending Chipola back to the Junior College World Series. Committed to Louisiana State, Chaffee attacks hitters from multiple arm slots, creating three different breaking balls. He pitches in the low 90s and throws a plus changeup. When healthy and commanding all his pitches, Chaffee is dominant.

A Chipola press release says Chaffee suffered a broken bone in his foot, not an ankle, but whatever …

Here’s Chaffee’s page on the Chipola web site.

I’ll be with Orem for their June 27-30 games. Hopefully I’ll see Chaffee pitch for Kotch … and if Ryan is reading this, I promise to do photos and video if you’re there.

1 Comment

Well done on another great draft by Kotch. I’ve had the pleasure of watching Chaffee pitch for the last two years and I can tell you that he is one in a million when it comes to competetiveness and the fact that when he is going well good luck hitting him. Congrats to Chaffee and the Angels. It will be fun to watch.

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