PASCAGOULA — This season has been a frustrating one for Chase Nyman.
The long-time Ole Miss commit and baseball signee is getting the star treatment many D-1 baseball players get at the prep level.
Despite batting leadoff for the Pascagoula High Panthers, Nyman often gets pitched around and may go several at-bats at a time without seeing a decent offering from opposing pitchers.
Saturday was no different for the Rebel signee, as he went 1-for-4 with two strikeouts in the Panthers’ 7-1 victory over St. Martin on Saturday.
“It was worse today. I didn’t see but four fastballs and they were all out of the strike zone,” Nyman said. “It’s real frustrating, actually. I guess I’ve learned to get past it. That last at-bat, the curveball really wasn’t a strike but I had to do something with it.”
After striking out looking in his first at-bat, the left-handed hitting Nyman flew out to deep center field in his second plate appearance, struck out swinging in his third after fouling off four pitches and finally recorded a single to right field in his final trip to the plate.
“I think that happens when you’re one of those D-1 guys and you’re a draft prospect,” PHS second-year coach Richie Tillman said. “You have to deal with it and be patient and when they do make a mistake you have to hurt him. He did that in his last at-bat and got us going in that last inning.”
The two strikeouts were atypical for Nyman, who has whiffed 11 times in 18 games and boasts a .413 on-base percentage.
In an effort to get Nyman more plate appearances, Tillman is hitting the middle infielder at the top of the order.
“It’s two fold: Chase has great wheels and can run the bases very well so he’s a threat. If you want to pitch around him and you put him on he can be at second or third real quick,” said Tillman said. “The second thing is, he’s a guy that they may put on (to avoid pitching to him) and he’ll get more at-bats. He’s a great hitter, does a good job with the bat and we like him in that leadoff spot.”
Ole Miss’ 2012 signing class is highlighted by top-end talents like catcher Stryker Trahan, infielder Gavin Cecchini and right-handed pitcher Ty Hensley, but there are plenty of other draft risks that fill out the class.
Although Nyman’s stat line isn’t eye-popping — he’s batting a pedestrian .302 with 11 singles, four doubles, one triple, 17 runs scored and five RBIs — the 6-foot, 185-pound Nyman is considered a draft prospect due to his combination of tools, athleticism and versatility.
Nyman is described on his Perfect Game profile as “Slender athletic frame, wide shoulders, lots of room to get stronger. Left handed hitter, narrow base, short quick swing, smooth easy hand action, very sound balanced approach, squares the ball up consistently, line drives to all fields, will keep getting better with more strength. 6.70 runner, quick actions, compact quick release, soft hands, second base profile. Has a chance to be real good with the bat.”
This season, Nyman has predominately been a second baseman for Pascagoula because of need.
In the future, Tillman thinks he could play at any number of positions.
“To be honest, I think he’s going to be a guy that will hit and (Ole Miss) will find a spot for him,” Tillman said. “He can definitely play on the corner. He can definitely play at second and play in the outfield. He’s very versatile and that’s something that’s going to help him down the line.”
Although Nyman has been committed to Ole Miss since March 17, 2011, when he verbally committed to recruiting coordinator Carl Lafferty, and has since singned his National Letter of Intent with the Rebels, the uncertainty of the draft has also frequented Nyman’s thoughts.
“I don’t know how it’s going to be. (Scouts) are not going to tell you anything, so you just have to wait and see,” he said. “It’s exciting just to see what’s going to happen and how high I go, but I don’t expect to go real, real high. It’s just whatever happens, happens.
As a junior, Nyman hit .359 with eight doubles, five home runs, 19 RBIs and eight stolen bases.
Nyman was a Rawlings and Perfect Game pre-season third-team All-America selection. (April 10, 2012, Page 9)