By James Williams
After two seasons with the Riverside City College baseball team, pitcher Matt Chabot was drafted by the San Diego Padres with the 645th pick in the 21st round of the Major League Baseball Draft.
Chabot signed a professional contract with the Padres on June 9.
“I had a feeling I would be drafted. I had been to a few pre-draft workouts and received calls from many teams,” Chabot said. “My best bullpen was for the Padres, so I had an idea I would be going to them.”
He also had bullpen workouts for the New York Yankees and the Colorado Rockies.
While the Rockies did not draft Chabot, they drafted two of his RCC teammates, Ryan Garvey and Jordan Mejia.
After signing his contract, Chabot reported for a four day mini-camp in Peoria, Arizona.
During the camp, he took part in drills and also got to work with some of his new teammates.
After the camp had ended, Chabot boarded a plane where he would begin his professional career by reporting to the Eugene Emeralds in Oregon on June 13.
The Emeralds are a short-season Class-A minor league baseball team in the Northwest League.
They have been an affiliate of the Padres since 2001.
While with the Emeralds, Chabot will continue work with the players he got to meet during the mini-camp.
“It’s pretty much the same thing as any other team I’ve been on except there are a lot of players who are from out of the country,” he said.
One way he plans to bond with them is through learning.
“Most of them don’t speak the same language as me, but we try to teach each other our own language.” Chabot said. “We also laugh at the same things, and it is just a good time.”
While with his new team and teammates, Chabot plans to improve on his skills.
“I need to be able to command all my pitches better, especially my fastball ,” Chabot said. “I need to develop a more consistent change up. Those are the two things I am really focusing on right now.”
Chabot has a bigger goal set in the back of his mind, while he is in Oregon improving his skills.
“I will continue to work up the ladder in order to achieve the ultimate goal of making it to the major leagues,” Chabot said.
The Emeralds played their first game of the season against the Yakima Bears, an affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Chabot pitched one inning throwing nine pitches and one strikeout for his first taste of game time in the minor leagues as the Emeralds defeated the Bears 6-5 in 10 innings of play.
Chabot finished his sophomore season at RCC with a 1-2 record and an ERA of 3.50.
He appeared in 12 games, including nine starts for the RCC Tigers.
A teammate of Chabot at RCC, Grady Espinosa said, “Matt is a good guy, he kept the team loose with his personality but when it came time to work he worked hard, which made other people around him better.”
In those 12 games, he pitched 46 innings and struck out 42 batters, with his opponents finishing with a .205 batting average.