As day two of the 2021 MLB Draft begins to wind down, the Yankees selected Chandler Champlain with the 273rd overall pick. This is the fourth consecutive pick used on a pitcher as they focus on restocking the arms on the farm. Champlain is a four-year junior out of the University of Southern California (USC), and at 6-foot-5, 220-pounds, possesses an attractive frame for a pitching prospect.
Neither MLB Pipeline nor Baseball America listed Champlain in their 2021 rankings, and some reports suggest that he represents more of a high-upside project given inconsistency with delivery in college. Here is a partial report from Baseball America in June 2020, prior to this past season:
Champlain flashes a 93-96 mph fastball, an above-average 12-to-6 breaking ball and an average changeup at his best. His fastball is often straight, however, and his control is below average, resulting in too many walks and hits allowed ... His father, Jay, played football at USC and was a member of the Trojans’ 1978 national championship team.
As our own Dan Kelly reported, Champlain was the 92nd-ranked draft prospect coming out of high school in 2018, but has since seen his stock fall with uneven performances at USC. 2021 was his best collegiate season, as he pitched to a 5.06 ERA in 74.2 frames. Despite the bloated ERA, Champlain made strides in the command department, his 69/22 strikeout-to-walk ratio a huge improvement over 2019-20. There are certainly some aspects to be encouraged about, including a high-spin curveball that is a legitimate strikeout weapon.
A look at USC right-handers Chandler Champlain's curveball at about 1000 frames per second. Got the strikeout on this one the came in at 77 MPH and over 2700 RPM.. @PGCollegeBall pic.twitter.com/3nvcQbB5Yb— Perfect Game California (@California_PG) March 28, 2021
Given the strides that Champlain has made with his control as well as his above-average velocity on the fastball and former prospect status, Champlain could be one to look out for at the lower levels in the coming years.