By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – After getting a very brief taste of pro baseball last summer, Division III Haverford College product Jake Chaplin is looking to get a more extended look this year as he suits up for the Ogden (Utah) Raptors, the Rookie Pioneer League affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“It’s a great place to play,” Chaplin tells KYW Newsradio. “It’s always an honor to represent the Dodgers’ organization. It’s especially an honor to do so in Ogden where the fans are so passionate for us. It’s really a blast.”
A left-handed hitting first-baseman, Chaplin signed on as a rookie free agent with the Los Angeles organization in late August of last year. He was assigned to the Dodgers’ Rookie Arizona League affiliate where he only got in one game before the campaign ended.
“I didn’t get much (playing time), so I figured they’d bring me back and give me a shot to prove myself (in 2013),” Chaplin says. “With that being the goal, the off-season was tough, I pushed myself hard, had a lot of fun doing it, and got myself ready to give this a run and I have been.”
Now the Raptors are a “short-season” minor league team, they just got underway last week and the 23-year-old Chaplin has played in two of their six games, going 1 for 5 with three walks and a couple of runs scored.
“I think the most important thing I’ve learned is just to slow the game down really,” Chaplin says. “It’s the same game we’ve been playing, but things happen a little quicker at the pro level, and every level you move up it gets a little bit better. So you just have to be able to slow it down and play the game the way you know how.”
Chaplin still holds the Haverford College career records for games played (158), hits (171) and runs (143).
His Ogden squad opens a series with Grand Junction, a Colorado Rockies’ farm team, on Wednesday night.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.