Huffman hoping RCBL stint can help restart pro baseball career
HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Chris Huffman has been the living the dream of playing professional baseball.
“It’s a grind,” said Huffman. “All the bus rides and stuff but it’s definitely fun, looking back on it.”
Huffman is a native of the Shenandoah Valley who starred on the prep level at Fort Defiance High School before attending James Madison University. He pitched three years with the Dukes before getting selected by the San Diego Padres in the 14th round of the 2014 MLB Draft.
“I started in their Short Season A-ball team which was in Eugene, Oregon at the time and then the next year, I was actually in extended spring training,” said Huffman. “Eventually, (I) went up to Single-A and was there for the whole year and I eventually made it up to Triple-A.”
Huffman experienced success in the Padres’ minor league system. He reached the highest level of Minor League Baseball in 2017 & 2018, AAA, by pitching for the Padres’ affiliate in El Paso, Texas. However, Huffman missed the 2019 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery to repair his injured pitching arm.
“I was having issues in 2018 and I was just trying to pitch through it and it just kind of gradually built up over time,” said Huffman. “I ended up having surgery May 1, 2019 and was in Arizona the whole time doing my rehab and stuff.”
Following his surgery and subsequent rehab, Huffman was preparing to pitch professionally again in 2020. But his pro career was put on hold earlier this year when the Padres released him.
“I was getting ready to throw bullpens and they had to send us all home because of (COVID-19),” said Huffman. “(I) Kind of had some bad luck. They had to release a lot of guys and I was one of them unfortunately.”
Currently a professional free agent, Huffman is back home in the Shenandoah Valley. He has joined the Bridgewater Reds of the Rockingham County Baseball League this summer.
“It’ll definitely be pretty awesome because I played for (the) Broadway (Bruins) the summer before I went to JMU,” said Huffman. “I had a fun time playing that time. I think it’ll be pretty fun here too.”
Huffman is still getting his arm in shape before he pitches in a game this summer. It’s hoped he can make start making relief appearances for the Reds in the very near future and perhaps perform well enough to earn another opportunity in pro baseball.
“That would be nice and if it doesn’t happen, it wasn’t meant to be so it’s fine,” said Huffman. “I’m just kind of seeing how I recover, how sore I am the next day from it and kind of just taking it from there.”
The Chris Huffman File
Fort Defiance High School:
-Two-time Southern Valley District Player of the Year as a shortstop and pitcher
-2011 Season (Senior): 7-1 Overall Record, 54 Innings Pitched, 76 Strikeouts, 12 Walks, 1.17 ERA
James Madison University:
-Pitched for the Dukes from 2012-2014
-Career Stats: 12-17 Overall Record, 194 Innings Pitched, 149 Strikeouts, 74 Walks, 5.52 ERA
-Made 15 starts as a junior during 2014 season
San Diego Padres Minor League System:
-Draft by Padres in 14th round of 2014 MLB Draft
-Pitched five years in Padres minor league system with two stints in AAA (2017 & 2018)
-Career Stats: 31-26 Overall Record, 500 Innings Pitched, 349 Strikeouts, 146 Walks, 3.91 ERA
To see more results from Huffman’s minor league career, click here.
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