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Griff O’Ferrall, about to make millions in the MLB Draft, grew up a big UVA fan

griff o'ferrall
Photo: UVA Athletics

My wife is getting us a new dog this week, and she’s naming him Griff. This dog is how I get to go to Omaha with UVA Baseball this week, so her wanting to name him Griff, for the leadoff hitter and shortstop, is great news for me.

(Means I’m not in the doghouse when I get back, among other things.)

The namesake, Griff O’Ferrall, is a projected early-second-round pick in next month’s MLB Draft.

I have an idea where he might end up: the guy sitting next to us on press row this weekend at the Super Regional is a scout for the Colorado Rockies, who are, per the scout, quite high on the Richmond kid and American Studies major at UVA.

I’m looking at the Rockies picks – they go third in the first round, then again at 38 in Competitive Balance Round A, and 42 in the top part of the second round.

If O’Ferrall, rated the #41 prospect in the Class of 2024 by MLB.com, is still on the board for that 38th pick, I dunno, just sayin’, you might have heard it here first.

That’s one thing you didn’t know about O’Ferrall, that he’s a wanted man, in a good way.

Another thing that you didn’t know: Griff O’Ferrall grew up a big UVA fan.

“Growing up, I was one of those kids down the line, you know, screaming for balls and asking for signatures,” O’Ferrall told reporters after Virginia’s 10-4 win over Kansas State on Saturday that is sending the ‘Hoos back to the College World Series.

O’Ferrall would have been 6 years old when Brian O’Connor took UVA to its first College World Series, and 12 when the Cavaliers won it all in 2015.

I’m still trying to process the fact that the starting shortstop the past three years, on his way to the MLB Draft and a signing bonus with seven numbers before the decimal, was one of the legion of kids hugging the fence down the left-field line begging for foul balls not all that long ago.

But before O’Ferrall hears his name called in the draft, and by the way, just so you know, the assigned value for the 38th pick is (gulp!) $2,452,200 – if he falls to the 42nd pick, he’d be in line for a $2,224,700 bonus; not too shabby – there’s work to do with the team that he grew up rooting for.

Last year’s group got knocked out of the College World Series with a pair of one-run losses, at the hands of Florida and TCU, that, O’Ferrall said, “definitely left a bad taste in our mouths.”

“We have a lot of returners on this team that that got to go to Omaha last year, and, you know, I think the first time you’re there, it’s, you’re kind of there, and it’s a whole experience, and you don’t really know what to what to look for. And, you know, it’s, there’s a lot going on. Obviously, we’re gonna enjoy it just as much this year, but I think we were going into it with more of a demeanor of, we’re going to, you know, do some damage, rather than just kind of go there for, you know, just to be there,” O’Ferrall said.

Last year’s UVA team played most of the season with expectations, and played up to them. This year’s group, which lost its three weekend starting pitchers and had its two top hitters taken in the first two rounds of the MLB Draft, has had a rougher go of it.

“This season had a lot more twists and turns, I would say, than maybe our trip last year, and a lot more, you know, comeback wins, a lot more just kind of weird games,” O’Ferrall said. “We’ve been put to a lot of to a lot of challenges throughout the season, which, you know, as a whole. I think the season was definitely a different path for us, but kind of seeing how the whole team kind of came together at the right time, you know, right when the playoff started, I think everyone knew that we had been put in the position by the coaches and just the team as a whole to play our best ball right now.”

Which is to say, for a team with a record of 46-15, it has pluck.

Teams with pluck are the kind of teams that bring home championships.

They also get goldendoodle puppies named for their starting shortstops, at least in my case.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].