FAYETTEVILLE – With 40 rounds, the MLB Draft tends to be the most unpredictable of the major sports.
Terms like “signability” and “bargaining power” come into play and players shoot up or – in Blaine Knight’s case – fall completely off draft boards.
One player who benefitted from that this year was Arkansas right-handed pitcher Cannon Chadwick, who got drafted by the New York Mets in the ninth round despite not appearing on any major publication’s list of top prospects.
While the pick caught most fans and media by surprise, Chadwick said he had been in touch with a scout Tuesday morning and Arkansas pitching coach Wes Johnson had also heard that the senior from Texas could get drafted that day.
“I’ve watched the draft a couple times and it’s very interesting how things go down sometimes,” Chadwick said. “So I knew there was a chance. When (the scout) started texting me later on in the afternoon, I could tell that I was definitely on their board.”
Still, he didn’t let himself get too excited.
Chadwick watched as teammates Trevor Stephan and Chad Spanberger got picked in the third and sixth rounds, respectively.
Finally, just before 5 p.m. and with the draft in the ninth round, he refreshed his Twitter feed and saw it:
“He wasn’t really getting his hopes up too high,” said Payton Stumbaugh, Chadwick’s fiancée. “Then all of a sudden we were watching the MLB tracker and we saw his name pop up and we immediately got emotional.”
It was a great moment for Chadwick, who struggled at times during his senior year but finished with a 3.66 ERA in 32 innings.
“All the hard work that I’ve put in over the years since I was little, it puts everything in perspective and makes it feel like it was all worth it,” Chadwick said. “There’s a lot of work to be done, but it is good to get recognized and get the opportunity to continue to play.”
June 13 probably ranks among the best days of Chadwick’s life because of the Mets’ decision to draft him, but Nov. 10 will join that discussion in a few months.
That is when he and Stumbaugh, an All-American track athlete at Arkansas, will get married.
Although Chadwick is unsure when he’ll leave Fayetteville to begin his professional career – likely with the Mets’ rookie ball team in Kingsport, Tenn. – he knows it’ll help him pass the time until his wedding.
“It’ll keep me from getting too restless,” Chadwick said. “Playing ball, hopefully that’ll keep my mind off it for a little while because I know I’m going to start getting anxious.”
Even though he won’t be a part of it, Chadwick’s excitement for the 2018 Razorbacks was also evident.
With Knight slipping out of the top 10 rounds, it appears highly probable that he returns for his junior season, giving Arkansas an ace. Chadwick was impressed by Jake Reindl – who he thought should have been an All-American – and several of the other younger pitchers, as well.
That rotation already has Chadwick looking forward to smack talking with his future minor-league teammates next season.
“I’m really excited to watch the Hogs next year,” Chadwick said. “Hopefully whenever the Hogs are playing their teams, I’ll be able to talk a little noise because the Hogs are beating up on them.”