Nanaimo pitcher picked in big-league draft

Cody Chartrand was chosen in the MLB draft last week, selected in the 36th round by the Texas Rangers.

Cody Chartrand throws for the Lewis-Clark State Warriors during a game this season.

Cody Chartrand throws for the Lewis-Clark State Warriors during a game this season.

A Nanaimo pitcher has big-league stuff, and now it’s put him in the pros.

Cody Chartrand was chosen in the MLB draft last week, selected in the 36th round by the Texas Rangers.

The six-foot right-hander played for the Nanaimo Pirates and the Vancouver Island Baseball Institute Mariners and most recently with the Lewis-Clark State Warriors.

“Whenever you’re a kid playing baseball, you always dream of getting [drafted] one day,” Chartrand said. “I definitely thought it was possible for me. You go through some tough times but it was always my goal in the back of my mind and it’s finally paid off.”

Jordan Blundell, VIBI manager, said he’s felt like Chartrand has been draft-ready for some time.

“With us, he flashed some professional fastballs and some secondary pitches…” Blundell said. “We definitely felt like Cody had a chance to play beyond college and get a chance at professional baseball. He’s had all the things necessary to warrant that opportunity for awhile.”

Chartrand was 5-0 with a 1.97 earned-run average at Lewis-Clark this past season, moved from the bullpen to the starting rotation, rounded out his arsenal and helped his team make it to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics World Series.

“I think I learned how to pitch a little more, instead of just trying to throw it as hard as I can every time I go out,” he said.

Leading up to the draft, Chartrand had been contacted by lots of teams and had filled out his share of medical forms and questionnaires, “but you never really know until it gets to the day what’s going to happen,” he said.

Even though he was following the draft on the computer at his girlfriend’s house, he missed the initial call from the Rangers and had to call back and reassure them of his interest.

“It was always my dream to play professional baseball and I kind of figured, you’ve got to take your shot when you get it,” he said. “So I was pretty excited to sign with them.”

He’s been assigned now to the single-A Spokane Chiefs, who play in the same league as the Vancouver Canadians, so he’ll be back in B.C. soon enough. Getting drafted is exciting, said Chartrand, but at the same time he knows it’s one step.

“It’s a tough business. I think you’ve just got to stay healthy and know what you’re good at,” he said. “You can’t get distracted or down on yourself. There’s going to be tough times, there’s going to be times when you’re not doing well, but you’ve just got to stay focused and go for the dream.”

He works hard, but in some ways, it hardly seems like work when he steps on the ball field. That’s how it was growing up in Nanaimo and at Serauxmen Stadium, and that’s how it will be in Spokane, and at whatever other ballparks await.

“It’s just a great feeling you have when you step on the field,” said Chartrand. “You get to be with your friends and and you can really just lose yourself in baseball for a couple hours, and nothing else really seems to matter.”

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