By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It’s a special time for Haverford College product Jake Chaplin as he gets his first taste of pro baseball after signing a contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The first baseman has joined the Dodgers affiliate in the Rookie Arizona League.
“It kind of came out of the blue,” Chaplin tells KYW Newsradio. “Right at a moment where I was starting to have to face some options for my future and it is an honor to be a part of this organization.”
Listen to Matt Leon’s interview with Jake Chaplin:
Chaplin actually got the call from the Dodgers putting this all in motion after he had left for a family vacation.
“We were driving a couple hours upstate in New York, because my mom and dad wanted a little R and R and nature and I was coming along. We got to our destination, I’ll never forget this, we were at Weir’s Ice Cream Shop and I got this phone call and I hung up, walked over to mom and dad and the first thing I said to them was, ‘We’re never going to forget this day.”‘
Chaplin was a part of the Haverford College squad that won the Centennial Conference championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history. That obviously earned Chaplin some great exposure, but so did his play during his time as a Ford and he thinks the uniqueness of his game is a big reason why the Dodgers brought him on board.
“The corner positions are, statistically, power positions. But I bring more of an average and on-base profile to the position with a glove that’s a high caliber. And I think that I’ve shown that, even though they want power there, I’ve shown that my game works. I’m able to get on base, I’m able to do what I do and do it very well. And I think enough consistency in college that they were willing to take a chance on me.”
The numbers point out that “uniqueness” in Chaplin’s game, as this past season, he hit .400 with a .517 on-base percentage. He didn’t homer, but still knocked in 39 runs in 44 games and struck out just ten times in 160 at bats.
Only two players in Haverford history have been drafted by a MLB team, but one didn’t sign. So Chaplin is just the second Ford player to ink a deal.
The Rookie Arizona League seasons runs through the end of the month.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.