Most players that are drafted in the 34th round of MLB’s First-Year Player Draft don’t pan out, and they sure don’t become a top prospect in their organization within a year. However, with his big-league mentality at such a young age, outfielder Chase Krogman is proving his worth in the White Sox organization with the Kannapolis Cannon Ballers.
Growing up in Dardenne Prairie, Missouri, Krogman was your typical all-around athlete that found success on the diamond, the court, and the field/pitch. In his freshman season at Wentzville Liberty High School, Krogman began to shine on the diamond, gaining interest from a particular SEC school in the area, the Missouri Tigers. Since Krogman was only a freshman and couldn’t visit Mizzou or form a relationship with their coaching staff in person, he began to form a solid foundation with them over the phone.
“Once a week, I would sit in the same spot on the couch with my high-pitched, real shaky voice, talking to college coaches. I wish I could hear those conversations today,” Krogman laughed. “We talked for a few months and then as soon as the summer started, we had a baseball tournament at Missouri and I committed there.”
Growing up in Missouri, it was always Krogman’s goal to represent his home state by wearing gold and black. However, the summer going into his sophomore season in high school, Missouri had a head coaching change and the new head coach brought in a new staff which made Krogman question his commitment to the Tigers.
After further discussions between he and his family, Krogman decided to re-open his recruitment and check out what other schools had to offer. “I visited a bunch of schools, with Missouri State being one of those, and I quickly decided that was my best option to help me get to my ultimate dream, playing in the majors. Also, it didn’t hurt that it was only 3.5 hours away from home, which would allow me to still play in front of my family.”
If you are a White Sox fan and Missouri State rings a bell, it’s likely because the White Sox drafted Jake Burger with the 11th overall pick in the 2017 MLB First-Year Player Draft, who, at the time, was one of the most feared players at the collegiate level.
On his official visit to Missouri State, head coach Keith Guttin introduced the 15-year-old Krogman to Burger, with neither ball player knowing that they would later rekindle their baseball friendship a few years down the line. Committing on the visit, Krogman was officially going to be a Missouri State Bear.
As Krogman reached his upperclassman status in high school, the maturing outfielder received an invite to the Area Code Games, a tournament that represents the top-200 high school players in the nation. At the AC Games, Krogman represented the Mid-West team that just so happened to be represented by the Chicago White Sox. In his time in California at the AC Games, one member of the White Sox told Krogman that he broke the hit-record. “I really don’t know if that was even true or not but I did feel like I got a hit every at-bat.”
With all 30 MLB team’s sending their scouts to the Area Code Games, Krogman started to garner attention from the highest level after the show that he put on at the dish and in the outfield. D.J. Gladney, the current Cannon Ballers third baseman, also suited up alongside Krogman on the White Sox AC team. Gladney was later drafted in the 16th round in 2019.
Leading up to the 2019 MLB First-Year Player Draft in June, Krogman felt confident that he was a five-tool player (speed, arm strength, fielding, hitting for average, hitting for power) that should be picked up early in the draft. “As far as my play on the field, I’m a very confident person. I believe that I was a first rounder. Whether or not others did, it didn’t matter to me. That was my mentality.
"I had teams calling and telling me that I could be taken anywhere from the fifth round to the tenth round but of course that wasn’t how it worked out. The second half of the draft came and still, nothing.”
Nothing turned into something as all of sudden, he gets a call from a Chicago area code.
The White Sox had drafted Krogman in the 34th round. Krogman’s initial thought was excitement but there was also some doubt that it was just a courtesy pick by the White Sox.
By having ties to Chicago through the AC Games, maybe the White Sox just wanted to show Krogman they believed in his talents but thought he needed to develop more at Missouri State and they would pick him higher in the draft in a few years. Also, a possibility, the White Sox might have thought Krogman was going to go to college and they didn’t want to waste a higher draft pick on him if he wasn’t going to take it. Whatever they case might have been, Krogman knew he wanted to be a professional and he wasn’t going to let this opportunity go by without giving it serious thought.
At first, Krogman was leaning more towards going the college route. “I was very high on my abilities and I knew they were undervaluing me. Although I was definitely looking forward on playing at Missouri State, I knew I could go into pro ball and immediately excel,” Krogman said. “I knew that I was going to be able to get to pro ball no matter what round I was in or how much money I signed for. I was going to be one of the top players in the organization if I decided to go.”
A month goes by and after some negotiating, Krogman signed on the line and officially became a professional baseball player for the White Sox. However, his mentality was never to make it to professional baseball and be content with just that. This was only the beginning.
After Krogman signed, he packed his bags, said goodbye to his family and friends in Missouri and headed down to the Arizona League for his first action as a professional baseball player. In his first game in the AZL, he strained his right hamstring. After taking weeks to recover, Krogman was only able to play in eight more games, batting just .190, while still nursing his injury. The White Sox Instructional League was next for Krogman.
The Instructional League is mainly for players who are new to the system or for players that are still trying to rehab an injury.
Typically, a question on the mind of high school ball players going into professional ball for the first time is, “How will I fit in with grown men in a locker room?” That was never the case for Krogman.
“I would say it was a little different but if you put me in a big-league locker room, I am going to tell myself that I belong there. And when it comes to the field, I won’t just compete but I’ll outplay them,” Krogman said. “That’s just my mentality every day. If you put me on the field with Mike Trout right now, I’m going to tell myself that I can outplay him. My mentality doesn’t change no matter who I’m playing.”
With his father being 6-foot-3 and a former Minor Leaguer in the Mets organization, his older brother being a 6-foot-3 stud athlete, and his 6-foot-6 younger brother towering over him, one would think that’s where he got his competitive edge from. Actually, he got the mindset from his mom.
“My mom is very competitive. She always told me that I’m the best player on the field,” Krogman said. “She didn’t care if I went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts. She would always tell me how great I was no matter what. She is the one who truly taught me to believe in myself and my abilities. She helped me with that mentality and I am very grateful for that.”
Believing you are one of the best players on the field is one thing but you still have to back it up. According to MLB Pipeline’s Top-30 prospect list for each organization, Krogman has done just that. As his dad was patrolling through Twitter one day, he found out for Chase that he was a Top-30 prospect in the organization. “He told me congrats but then said, ‘Now it’s time to get to the top of that list.’
“I tell my instructors and coaches that I don’t care if I’m in rookie ball, Low-A, Double-A, or whatever, I’m going to be a big-league All-Star by the break. No matter what level I’m at, I want to be a producer in the big leagues. That’s my mindset every day. I want to get there and be one of the best players in the world. I believe 100 percent in my heart that will happen.”