Chase Hampton didn’t envision his senior season at Kilgore High School in Texas going the way it did this spring. Despite the coronavirus pandemic altering his expectations for his senior year, the right-handed pitcher has worked on his own to develop his craft in preparation for the next step in his baseball career.
He has spent time throwing live bullpens while also working out at APEC, which is where well-known athletes train, including major-league pitcher Josh Tomlin.
Hampton hopes the work he has put in will make a difference regardless if he embarks on a professional baseball career this summer or attends college in the fall. Professional scouts project Hampton as a potential fourth or fifth-round pick in this year’s five-round MLB draft, which occurs June 10-11.
“I haven’t really given the draft much thought in the past two or three months until now because it’s now literally in less than a week,” Hampton said. “I’ve just placed it in God’s hands and let him guide it. I believe he’s done an amazing job with what he’s done with it. He’s guided me through the process. I’m anxious and excited to see where I fall in the draft this year.”
Hampton has thrown live bullpen sessions at Premier Baseball of Texas this spring. He has talked with Toronto Blue Jays right-handed pitching prospect Adam Kloffenstein, who was a third-round pick in the 2018 draft, about pitching and what to expect if he turns pro this summer.
“He’s brought me under his wing and just taught me about pitching,” Hampton said. “He’s given me some insight on pitching and what pro ball can do for you and just the development in pro ball.”
Hampton is a 6-foot-3, 210-pound righty who throws a four-seam fastball, two-seamer, curveball, slider and changeup from a three-quarters arm slot.
This spring, his fastballs sat in the low-to-mid-90s. He doesn’t throw one fastball more than the other but describes his two-seamer as a “disgusting pitch” that he can throw in any count and has the best control of compared to his other pitches.
His 12-6 curveball is an above-average offering that he uses as his strikeout pitch. Hampton has two different grips for his slider with one grip resulting in a hard, sharp break while the other grip is more of a true slider.
His changeup is a work in progress, but he believes he has made strides with the pitch over the last couple of months.
“I was working with Adam and we were just messing around with different grips,” Hampton said. “I finally found one that’s really comfortable for me and one that I feel like I can throw it just like a fastball. I throw it all the time, so now it’s to the point where it almost feels normal.”
Hampton has two intriguing options in front of him for the next step in his baseball career. Besides being a top prospect in this year’s draft class, Hampton also is a Texas Tech commit.
Although he’s eager for the next chapter in his career, Hampton is trying not to focus on the decision he might have to make between pro ball and college and instead is putting his attention into improving his skills.
“That’s been a big topic,” Hampton said. “I’ve been asked by a lot of people on what I’m going to do with my future. I’m asking those same questions to myself. I don’t really know what I’m going to be doing. It’s a really big decision. I’m just placing it in God’s hands.”
Read a detailed story about Chase Hampton and his development into a top MLB draft prospect here.
Read more stories on top 2020 MLB draft prospects here.
Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for five years. He’s interviewed 191 of the top draft prospects in that period, including three No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today and The Arizona Republic, have quoted his work, while he’s appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.