Christian Chamberlain was the lone college player from Oregon selected in the shortened Major League Baseball draft.
The junior left-handed pitcher from Oregon State was taken in the fourth round by Kansas City on Thursday night. The draft was cut from 40 rounds to five this year as a cost-cutting measure due to COVID-19.
“Obviously with 40 rounds, you are a little more sure because there are more than 1,000 picks compared to 160,” Chamberlain said. “Talking with my advisor, I had a decent knowledge of where I was going to go and I went right in that area. I am grateful for the opportunity and can’t wait to see where this goes.”
Chamberlain was selected with the 105th pick which has a projected signing bonus of just over $550,000.
“There were definitely a few teams in the mix, but the Royals were one of the highest on me,” Chamberlain said. “I didn’t know where I would end up and what team I would go to, but I couldn’t be happier with the Royals selecting me.”
Last year, the Royals selected OSU pitcher Grant Gambrell in the third round.
“Grant is one of my good friends,” Chamberlain said. “He was one of the first people that texted me when I got picked, so that was exciting to see from the Royals family.”
Chamberlain was OSU’s top starter as a junior when he went 2-1 with a 0.82 ERA in four starts while striking out 34 in 22 innings before the season abruptly ended just as Pac-12 play was slated to begin on March 13 at Arizona.
“I felt good going into the year and things were playing out,” he said. “I wish we had a full season to see what we could have done, but it got cut short.”
Chamberlain pitched mostly in relief for OSU during his first two seasons, going 6-4 with a 3.69 ERA. He is unsure if the Royals see him as a starter or reliever.
“I just want to play so obviously I will go wherever they want me,” Chamberlain said. “I went form relieving roles during my freshman and sophomore years with spot starts to getting put in the Friday night role as a junior. I was comfortable with it.”
The 5-foot-10 Chamberlain was the shortest of 23 left-handed pitchers selected in the draft.
“I don’t care too much about my height,” he said. “I’ve got what God gave me and I make the most of it. It doesn’t matter how tall you are, it’s how you perform on the field and that is something I am very confident in. I’ve bet on myself my whole life and that is not going to stop now.”
The only other two players from Oregon selected in the draft were prep pitchers.
Mick Abel of Jesuit High School was picked No. 15 overall by Philadelphia to become the first prep player from Oregon taken in the first round since Matt Smith of Grants Pass in 1994. Abel had committed to OSU, but will likely skip college and receive a signing bonus of nearly $4 million.
Dylan MacLean, a left-handed pitcher from Central Catholic, was drafted in the fourth round by Texas. He has committed to Washington, but could receive a contract around $500,000 if he signs with the Rangers.
Oregon pitcher Kenyon Yovan was a candidate to be drafted, but was not selected. Yovan could return to Oregon as a redshirt junior or sign as an undrafted free agent with a maximum signing bonus of $20,000.
Robby Ashford, who has signed to play quarterback at Oregon, was ranked as the No. 160 prospect in the draft by MLB.com, but was not selected. He posted a photo on Twitter indicating that he would join the Ducks to play both football and baseball.
Oregon State junior pitcher Kevin Abel, who is no relation to Mick Abel, was projected as the No. 152 prospect in the draft by MLB.com but went undrafted. The 6-2 right-hander, who won four games during the College World Series when OSU won the title in 2018, pitched only two games in 2019 before having Tommy John surgery and did not return to the mound this spring.