PIRATES IN THE MLB

UNDER COACH ADAM THOMAS (2000 – Present)

 

CHUCK JAMES

Chuck James, born November 9, 1981, became the second Chattahoochee Valley baseball player in the Adam Thomas era to be drafted and the first to make it to the major leagues.  Chuck was a 2000 graduate of Pebblebrook High School in Mableton, Georgia.  Although Chuck was relatively unknown out of high school, primarily because he was a left handed catcher/shortstop/outfielder and played at a school not typically known for its baseball tradition, he signed a baseball scholarship to Chattahoochee Valley Community College.

As a freshman at CVCC, Chuck was primarily an outfielder, while serving as the Pirates closer.  After a solid freshman season, Chuck blossomed into one of the finest pitchers in the AJCCC as a sophomore.  During the 2002 season, Chuck served as the ace of the Pirate pitching staff and posted a team leading 2.07 ERA, a team leading 60 strikeouts in 44 innings of work and led the league in strikeouts per innings pitched, with 1.37.  Additionally, Chuck was more than productive at the plate, as he hit his way to a .358 batting average in 2002, while serving as the Pirates right fielder.  Furthermore, Chuck broke former Pirate and Atlanta Brave teammate, Tim Hudson’s, career ERA record, by posting a 1.67 ERA during his tenure at Chattahoochee Valley.

Amidst his stellar sophomore season at CVCC, Chuck signed a baseball scholarship to Kennesaw State University.  However, Chuck was tabbed by every Major League Baseball scout to be a first round draft pick.  Unfortunately, Chuck was the victim of a freak swimming accident in which he broke both of his wrists during the final weekend of the 2002 season.  His draft status dropped and he was selected by the Atlanta Braves in the 20th round of the 2002 MLB Amateur Draft.  With his recovery unknown, Chuck made the decision to attend KSU.  However, his rehabilitation was a quick success, and Atlanta scout, Al Goetz, made Chuck a subsequent offer to sign with the Braves and begin his professional baseball career in the Atlanta Braves minor league system.

From the time Chuck bore a Braves uniform, he was an instant MLB prospect.  His left arm carried him through rookie ball, single A, double A, triple A and into Turner Field with the Atlanta Braves, as he made his major league debut in September 28, 2005 against the Colorado Rockies.  During his minor league career, Chuck was a perennial All-Star, and won numerous minor league and organizational pitcher of the year awards, including the Phil Niekro award, which is given annually to the Atlanta Braves top minor league pitcher, and was consistently touted as the Braves top pitching prospect.

After a strong late season showing for the Atlanta Braves in 2005, Chuck made the Atlanta Braves opening day roster in 2006 as a member of the Braves bullpen.  However, Chuck was quickly sent to AAA-Richmond to re-condition his arm to be a starter, and was recalled on June 25th, 2006 to be a permanent member of the Atlanta Braves starting rotation.  Making the most of his opportunity, Chuck was nothing less than phenomenal, posting an 11-4 record with a 3.78 ERA during the 2006 campaign.  In his final 12 starts of the season, Chuck was 7-2, with a 3.13 ERA, and was arguably the best pitcher on the Braves staff at the conclusion of the 2006 season.  Chuck served as Atlanta’s number three starter in 2007, finishing the year 11-10 with a 4.24 ERA.  Unfortunately, two shoulder surgeries kept him out of baseball during the 2009 season, however, with a rehabilitated left arm, Chuck found his way back to the big leagues with the Minnesota Twins in 2011, and was then aquired on waivers by the New York Mets.  Chuck owns a career 24-11 record with a 4.41 ERA.