JMU had its second member of the 2014 squad selected in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft when the San Diego Padres chose right-handed pitcher Chris Huffman (Fort Defiance, Va./Fort Defiance) in the 14th round with the 417th overall pick.
“I was really excited and speechless,” commented Huffman, who was with friends at Buffalo Wild Wings in Harrisonburg when the selection occurred. “I guess all of my hard work paid off. I just have to stay focused and keep working hard.”
After two seasons as a closer, Huffman spent 2014 as JMU’s Friday No. 1 starter. He went 5-7 with a 6.43 ERA in 91 innings with three complete games and 69 strikeouts compared to 31 walks. He led the JMU pitching staff in victories, innings, strikeouts and starts (15). He shared the CAA lead in complete games and sat second in starts, which also ranked seventh in JMU history. His innings and strikeouts were also top 10 in the CAA this season.
For his career, Huffman ranks fourth at JMU with 10 saves with eight coming as a junior when he recorded the fourth most in a single season in program history. He is 12-17 in his career with a 5.52 ERA in 66 appearances spanning 194 total innings. His 25 pitching appearances as a sophomore ranks ninth in program history.
Huffman joins 10th-round selection Ty McFarland (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) who was picked late Friday by the New York Yankees. JMU head coach Spanky McFarland appreciated that both JMU draftees were local Shenandoah Valley products, stating, “That is kind of neat. We try to get the best guys from the Valley each year so it’s ironic that it’s two valley guys getting drafted. We’re getting tougher kids from the valley, hard workers and blue collar.”
Within the next few days, Huffman will make the first West Coast trip of his life to begin negotiations with the Padres. He has until July 18 to decide if he will sign with San Diego or remain at JMU for his senior season.
McFarland added, “I’m happy for him and I know this is every kid’s dream. He’s excited about that. He has to negotiate and decide whether to go or come back. As a coach I’d love to see him come back but I also recognize that it’s a great opportunity to pursue a dream.”