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Dodgers: Get to Know Chris Newell, New LA Centerfielder

You may have missed it during all the pageantry of the All-Star Game and All-Star weekend in Los Angeles, but the first-year player draft happened to coincide with the festivities, and the Dodgers added some new faces to the minor league ranks.

Many kids dream of receiving “the call” and for Chris Newell, his became a reality during the 2022 MLB Draft. And the Dodgers made it happen. (quotes via Matt Breen).

“Just hearing your name called is an awesome feeling and something that I’ve been looking forward to for such a long time…for it to finally be able to happen is such an awesome feeling.”

The 6-foot-3 centerfielder was selected in the 13th round and was the third Cavalier from the University of Virginia to be drafted this year. He will join teammate Brandon Neeck, who was also drafted by the Dodgers with the 285th overall pick in the 9th round.

Across his three years as a Wahoo, he appeared in 130 games, totaling 123 hits, 101 runs, 21 home runs, 86 RBI, and a .278 batting average. In his third and final season as a college athlete, Newell posted a .258 batting average, collected 32 RBI, 12 home runs, 49 hits, 51 runs, and boasted a .991 fielding percentage.

Aside from all the numbers and stats, the former Malvern Prep star has two people that immediately come to mind when he thinks of his baseball journey so far.

This past May, the 2020 Co-National Freshman of the Year, lost two people he looked up during his climb to the big leagues, John Newell, his grandfather, and Joe Catania, a close family friend.

In 2014, Joe Catania formed a team of adults with functional needs who played a weekly baseball game following major-league rules. Ever since he was 13, Newell would help out every Sunday and has the experience to thank for the new perspective on the game of baseball.

On May 1st, before a game, he received a call that Catania had passed away, so he decided to go home for the funeral. During the visit, he was able to visit his grandfather who had fallen sick recently and would soon pass a week later.

Newell has his grandfather, who was a long-time little league coach, to thank for his love of baseball.

“Baseball is a part of him…When I was younger and in high school and in my first few years of college, I was looking forward to that moment and sharing it with him. It’s just upsetting that he wasn’t able to be there, but I know for sure that he was watching from up there and rooting for me. I know he’s going to be wearing Dodger blue for a while.”

Welcome to the Dodgers, Chris! And best of luck to you in your journey to the big leagues!

NEXT: Walker Buehler to Start Throwing Program on Monday

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