Chandler Newman was projected to be chosen in the first 10 rounds of the Major League Baseball draft, but his name wasn’t called through its first two days.
He didn’t have to wait long on Day 3, though, as the Cleveland Indians selected the Richmond Hill High School graduate in the 11th round Wednesday with the 334th overall pick.
“I was looking forward to top 10, but 11th round, I’m fine with it,” Newman said. “Just getting the opportunity to get drafted is a dream come true, just knowing I have the opportunity to play professional baseball.”
Newman, a 6-foot-2, 175-pound right-handed pitcher,impressed major-league scouts in his pre-draft workouts by consistently throwing around 95 mph and reaching as high as 97.
“We’re excited for him,” RHHS head baseball coach Stacy Bennett said. “He’s worked hard for the last four years. He’s earned every bit of it.”
Newman said he had begun negotiations with the Indians. If the two sides agree to a deal, he will report to the Indians’ Rookie League team in Arizona.
The hard-throwing pitcher also has college baseball as an option, having signed a letter of intent to play at Georgia Southern University.
“He is going to excel in whatever he chooses to do,” Bennett said.
Newman described the first two days of the draft as stressful, as he saw other players being taken with each passing pick. Getting the phone call from the Indians was a “big relief,” he said.
“So much weight was taken off my shoulders,” Newman said.
Along with his blazing fastball, Newman throws a changeup and slider. His high-school coach is confident Newman has not only the skill, but also the work ethic to reach the major leagues.
“I told him to understand he’s good enough to get there, or they wouldn’t have taken him,” Bennett said.
This time last year, Newman was looking ahead to his senior year of high school. After a whirlwind year of gaining increasing attention from pro scouts, he now has a shot at the majors.
“It has been an unbelievable ride,” he said. “In the end, it’s all worth it.”