Waiting On Next Week

Dylan Chavez will be a lot like thousands of other amateur baseball players next week. He'll be awaiting his name to be called in the MLB draft which begins Monday night.

The 6-foot-3, 190-pound left-handed pitcher, which some have projected to possibly go in the 15-20 round frame, said he's planned for the moment. But he's taking a wait and see approach.

"I haven't heard much about it, like what round or money and stuff," he said of what rounds he potentially might go. "I've had some workouts (with professional teams) that went pretty well. I'm just kind of waiting back to see what happens."

Several pro ballclubs have seen him. The most recent ones he had a workout with were the Twins and Marlins.

While Chavez, who turned 20 on April 16, said he is taking a low-key approach, he still is anxious as to what possibility next week might bring.

"I'm really excited about it," said the junior to be, who pitched for American River (Junior) College in Sacramento, Calif., this past spring and for St. Mary's College in Moraga, Calif., the year before that "When you talk about having an opportunity to play professional baseball, it's something that's exciting to think about."

That's because, like thousands who await the draft next week, Chavez has worked for this moment all his life.

But he also signed with Ole Miss last November, and he's also thrilled with that aspect of his baseball life. He said his excitement level for attending Ole Miss is as high as ever.

"Definitely equal if not more," Chavez said of being happy with his decision to attend Ole Miss, knowing the Rebels are sitting home this weekend instead of playing in an NCAA Regional. "Teams have down years, and that can happen in such a great conference like the SEC. I'm very excited to be there and be a part of it."

Chavez also said that even though he knows the Rebels' pitching staff might have some spots available for next season, that again wasn't necessarily part of his thought process when choosing Ole Miss. And it won't be when he weighs his options after the draft.

"Actually that didn't affect my decision as much," he said of who might or might not be back on the Ole Miss pitching staff. "I was committing to the program, not necessarily any missing spots they have. I'm not focused on what they currently have. I'm focused on how I can go in there and help."

Dylan Chavez
Chavez, from Rancho Murieta, Calif., throws a two-seam and a four-seam fast ball 88-92 miles per hour. He topped at 93 several times this spring. He also has a changeup and a slider. He's coming off a season that statistically wasn't his best, but he felt he pitched better than those stats showed.

"It was a frustrating year," he said of both his pitching and his American River team's performances. "We finished last in our league. I wasn't really at my best. I threw a lot better than it looked on paper. I still wasn't as sharp as I expected to be."

Chavez continued to work to improve everything and still does. He also knows left-handers are often more valuable to both college and professional programs. The draft may prove that as it often does for lefties.

"I've gotten stronger," he said. "I've added a little kick to my fastball. I'm continuing to work on executing my pitches and hitting my spots, things like that.

"It definitely seems like that, like we (left-handers) are some kind of rare breed," he continued. "It's nice to have that as an advantage."

Chavez has only made one trip to Ole Miss, and that was last fall before signing. Ole Miss assistant coach Carl Lafferty recently visited Chavez and his family in California.

"Coach Lafferty was at my house a few days ago. It went great, and it was good to see him again. He got to meet my parents and my brother. He hadn't met them before. It was a good time."

It was a visit for Lafferty to reiterate, among other things, the importance of having Chavez in the Rebel program starting this fall. Chavez plans to be in Oxford next school year, but he admits next week and the days that follow could be interesting.

"I'll just have to see what happens. It's out of your control really what they do. It's definitely nice to have more time (before school starts in August). I don't have to rush a decision or anything."

Chavez knows the situation at hand. He feels he will have two great options after the draft has come and gone.

"To have a chance to pitch at an SEC school, and then have professional baseball in the mix, you have to be excited about it," he said. "It's a great opportunity."

The following are members of the incoming class of baseball players for the Rebels:

Auston Bousfield: 5-11, 175, OF, Orlando, Fla. (West Orange High)

Hawtin Buchanan: 6-8, 245, RHP, Biloxi (High)

Dylan Chavez: 6-3, 190, LHP, American River College, Sacramento, Calif.

Chris Ellis: 6-5, 195, RHP, Hoover, Ala. (Spain Park High)

John Gatlin: 6-4, 200, SS, Itawamba CC (Tupelo High)

Ryan Hornback: 6-0, 185, C, San Jacinto (TX) CC

Will Jamison: 6-1, 175, OF, Memphis, Tenn. (Evangelical Christian School)

Josh Laxer: 6-0, 180, RHP, Madison, (Central High)

Casey Mulholland: 6-4, 200, RHP, Bradenton, Fla. (IMG)

Sikes Orvis: 6-2, 215, 1B/3B, Orlando, Fla., (Freedom High)

Jake Overbey: 6-2, 190, SS/2B, University School of Jackson (Tenn.)

Michael Reed: 6-0, 195, OF/RHP, Leander, Texas (High)

Chase Reeves: 6-0, 195, OF/LHP, Hamilton (High)

Tyler Roach: 6-3, 215, 1B/OF, Northwest Shoals CC (Ala.)

Sam Smith: 6-5, 205, RHP, Lake Charles, La. (Barbe High)

Football signee/baseball player: Senquez Golson 5-9, 190, OF, Pascagoula (High)

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