While we anxiously await the start of the Mets season, let's not forget that 'regular season' baseball games have been played ongoing at the amateur level for awhile now. Mack's Mets prides itself on its minor league and MLB draft prospect following and information. I have written a couple of posts on players specifically on the nationally ranked FAU Fighting Owls (yes, it's my alma mater, hence the bias towards its schools players). Today I wanted to spotlight the one who is arguably the best of the bunch, shortstop C.J. Chatham (you can follow CJ on twitter https://twitter.com/CjChatham)
Per Chuck King, Managing Editor for FAUOwlAccess.com :
SS CJ Chatham Jr., 6-4, 180 R/R
Possesses strong arm and surprising range for this size. Hit .355 as a sophomore and showed hints of power to come. Recently listed among Perfect Game's Top 150 MLB Draft prospects. With a strong junior season, Chatham should vault into the draft's early rounds. Might eventually become a third baseman as his body continues to mature.
D1baseball.com currently has C.J. ranked as the 2nd best SS in the nation
Through 22 games, playing for the nationally ranked Owls, C.J. has the following stats:
.374 BA (34/91); .438 OBP ; .527 SLG ; .965 OPS
17 Runs; 7 Doubles ; 2 Triples ; 1 HR ; 17 RBIs ; 10 BB and 8 Ks
The most glaring improvement for C.J. during his college career has been his BB and K rates. As a Freshman, C.J. had 8 BBs against 39 Ks. Sophomore season saw the numbers improve to 10 BBs against 28 Ks. Now in the early going this year he has more walks than K's, which of course is leading to his college career best numbers in batting average and on base percentage.
Regarding his position on the field, C.J. has played everyday as the SS on the team. However, he's had experience in the past at the hot corner, as Chuck King has pointed out, as the now 21 year old fully matures and perhaps moves on to the next level.
Reports have C.J. as a good fielder, an average to above average arm, and average to above average range. Thus leading to possibilities for a transition to Third Base.
C.J. has been a steady force in the Owls lineup, hitting 3rd and helping to lead the team to a fast start on the season, and maintaining at least a share of first place in Conference USA to go along with its national ranking.
With the Mets, as I've previously written on this topic, have a history of drafting FAU players over recent years, I would like to think the organization may have its eye on C.J. As with the history of teams in regards to high school and international signings, we've learned that you can never truly have enough shortstops in the pipeline. And with the option of a possible transition to 3B being available, it might be worth looking into for the Mets as a college bat who might be ready sooner rather than later.
In regards to overall draft status, because C.J. is a Junior it's ultimately up to him about whether or not to declare officially for the upcoming draft.
If he does, don't be surprised to see his name called in the top 100.
And since the Mets have a glaring need at 3B within the system, I certainly wouldn't mind Mr. Chatham wearing a Mets cap after draft day ;)