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Chris Narverson Interview

By Jason Blasco

     For 19-year-old St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Chris Narverson, there was little dilemma whether to go to college on a scholarship at Wake Forrest, or to play professional baseball.
 
    "This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, I couldn't pass it up," said Naverson.  
 
     The fact that Naverson has a golden left arm that caused scouts to flock to T.C. Roberson High School in the year 2000 didn't hurt matters either.  He worked on his velocity by throwing long toss, which increased his velocity three to four miles on his fastball.  The numbers that Naverson put up during his senior year in high school were an impressive 10-0 record, with a 0.71 ERA and 133 strikeouts in just 69 innings pitched. 

Hobbies

  • Playing Playstation 2
  • Dreamcast
  • Fishing
  • Hanging out with friends

    "The fact that we went all the way to the state championship probably helped my draft stock, and gain a little bit more exposure with the scouts," said Narverson.

    Perhaps one of the factors why the team won the state championship was because they practiced four hours everyday after school.  In addition to pitching, Narveson also played in the first base position. I really enjoyed batting and being able to help myself out," said Naverson.  Not only did Chris play varsity baseball for all four years, but he also excelled in basketball, where he became the team MVP.

    Shortly after high school is when Chris received the phone call letting him know that he was drafted in the third round by the St. Louis Cardinals. 
 
    "(Getting drafted) The feeling was indescribable to get drafted and to know that a team wants you," said Narveson.  
 

Fact Box

Awards
- Named Rawlings ABCA All-American second team

- Named Baseball America Second Team High School All-American

- Was named team MVP of his high school basketball team

- Was one of the top 10 players in the Appalachian League by Baseball America

- Was one of the Cardinals top 15 prospects by Baseball America

- Also one of the top 10 in pitching in the Midwest League

- Ranks second in the Midwest League in strikeouts

- Also has one of the lowest ERA's in the Midwest League


Other statistical information

Born: 12/20/1981
Height: 6' 3
Weight: 180
Bats: L
Throws: L
Home: Asheville, NC

    It was a fairly smooth transition from high school to the professional ranks for Narveson.  In Johnson City, his first professional season, he put together a 2-4 record with 63 strikeouts in 55 innings,pitching just out of high school.  More important than his statistics, he caught the attention of farm director Mike Jorgenson, who saw another potential pitching super prospect.  

    "At first, it was a little bit of a hard adjustment from high school to the pro's.  There is a big difference in the skills of the players and you really have to be careful and pitch inside," said Narveson.   
 
    Jorgensen told the Peoria Journal Star, He reminds me of Ankiel and (Bud) Smith.  He has the size and three pitches he has command of.  He has poise and he is young, very young.  When I saw him pitch at Johnson City last year, it was like, Wow! We got another One!"  

    Naverson's teammate, pitcher John Novinsky, came over to him, and pretending the water bottle was a microphone, acted like a reporter and asked Mr. Naverson about one recent wild pitch.  Naverson probably has good reason to be in a comedic mood, as he seriously has shown signs of dominance of the Midwest League this season.  With Naverson's performance in Peoria, this year may be the year that the whole baseball world finds out what kind of pitcher the Cardinals have coming up in the minors this season. 

     "(Chris) has four quality pitches and they all have good movement.  Chris has a higher ceiling than some other guys.  He has a presence on the mound, and doesn't let anything bother him when he is on the mound.  The only thing that we need to work on with Chris is consistency," said pitching instructor Mark Grater.

    The four pitches that has Naverson throws that puts his opponents in a tailspin of confusion and has made him one of the league leaders in strikeouts and low ERA are a mid 90's fastball, changeup,slider, and a cutter.  

    One of the reasons for Naverson's early professional success is attributed to the work ethic he has put in during the season and in off-season preparation.  One of Naverson's short-term goals is simple. "I want to get better every single day."  His day in baseball starts at about nine, where he does a lot running and working out, overall.  Next, Naverson goes to the gym and lifts weight for a while, then it is back to his apartment, where he relaxes for a few hours before heading back to the ball-park around three.  
 
    The off-season for Narveson is a time when he gives his pitching arm a rest.  He works more on conditioning his arm for the season, rather than pitching a lot.  

    "Sometimes I do long toss, but I don't usually throw that much in the off-season," said Naverson.
 
    The pitching coach said it best, when he talked about Naverson's ability.

    "I don't look at age as far as what the player can do, I look at ability. He has a real bright future ahead of him," said Coach Grater.   


 

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