On Friday at 8:03 P.M., the Philadelphia Phillies will face off against the Houston Astros, including outfielder Chas McCormick, in Game One of the 2022 World Series. Amongst a stacked 26-man roster for the Astros lies one player in particular with a strong connection to the Philadelphia area. And no, we are not talking about Hector Neris.
If you paid attention to the American League Championship Series where the Astros completely destroyed the New York Yankees, you may have noticed Chas McCormick, number 20, who started in center field for the Astros in all four games. McCormick hit for a 1.026 OPS on the series, slugging two home runs for three RBI over the course of 15 plate appearances on the series.
What you may not know about McCormick, however, is that he is a Philadelphia area native.
Local Two-Sport Talent Turned Division II Draftee
Chas McCormick, 27, was born and raised in West Chester, Pa. approximately 45 minutes west of Philadelphia. Growing up, McCormick was raised properly as a Philadelphia fan, taking a lot of inspiration from the success of the team from 2007-2011, including the 2008 World Series.
Son of Robert and Nancy Jo McCormick, Chas comes from a big baseball family. His oldest brother Ryan was once a second baseman for Millersville University, where Chas would eventually attend. Millersville, an NCAA Division II institution, is a part of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference. The second oldest of the family, Sean, was a pitcher and third baseman for fellow PSAC school Kutztown University. Also, Chas’ twin-brother, Jason, was a two-sport standout playing baseball and basketball at Division III Immaculata University.
Chas McCormick went to high school at West Chester’s Henderson High School. In 2010, as a freshman, McCormick was a part of the Henderson Warriors’ PIAA Class AAAA State Championship team. In the first inning of the championship game against Owen J. Roberts, McCormick slung a two-run double into left field to give the Warriors a 3-0 lead in what would eventually be a 7-0 shutout. McCormick’s older brother Sean had previously led off the inning with a double of his own.
A four-time All Ches-Mont League selection, Chas McCormick became the first athlete in Henderson history to score both 1,000 career points in basketball and 100 career hits in baseball. After graduating from Henderson in 2013, McCormick followed in older brother Ryan’s steps and attended Millersville University.
At Millersville, Chas McCormick quickly made an impact on all sides of the ball, becoming the only four-time All-PSAC East selection in program history. a 2016 ABCA All-American, McCormick played a critical role in the Marauders’ NCAA Division II Championship run in 2016, of which they finished as the runner-up.
Chas McCormick concluded his time at Millersville by becoming the 11th Marauder selected in the MLB Draft. In 2017, the Astros selected McCormick in the 21st round.
Working Through the System
While Division II baseball players are drafted with relative frequency by Major League Baseball teams, it is rare for any such prospect to make it through the system. Drafted in the 21st round, Chas McCormick had a lot of work to do if he wanted to beat the system and make it to the Majors.
In 2017, McCormick began his Minor League Baseball career in the Appalachian League with the Greenville Astros. By the end of the season, however, he found himself in the High-A’s at Buies Creek. By 2019, McCormick had worked himself through the system all the way to AAA Round Rock, where he was named a part of the 2019 MiLB Astros Organization All-Star Team.
During the Minor League Baseball pause due to the pandemic in 2020, McCormick was at the alternate site for the Astros, acting as a member of their taxi squad on several occasions. Despite never making the 40-man roster in the regular season, McCormick joined the Astros’ 40-man roster for the postseason in 2020.
Chas McCormick has been a Consistent Presence for the Astros
After making the Astros’ Opening Day roster in 2021, McCormick sought to make an impact on the big stage. When he made his MLB debut on April 1, 2021, he also joined a very elite group of Division II athletes who made it to the Big Leagues. Tino Martinez out of The University of Tampa is one of the more famous examples, but there are several current big leaguers who are also DII graduates. Joey Wendle out of West Chester University is another key local example, some other examples being J.D. Martinez, Kevin Pillar, and Miles Mikolas.
The outfielder quickly earned an everyday spot in the outfield amongst a star-studded Astros team. McCormick brought a strong defensive presence to the Astros’ outfield, recording the sixth-highest Outs Above Average (OAA) in 2021 amongst outfielders at 11. Over his two-year career, his 18 OAA ranks him as the 10th best defensive outfielder in Major League Baseball.
While McCormick has certainly been a huge presence defensively for the Astros, he has also brought a consistent bat to the bottom third of their lineup on a daily basis. In his career, McCormick has posted a .250 batting average and a .738 OPS.
In 2021, McCormick was a part of the Astros’ American League Champion playoff run, starting in six games and appearing in nine over the postseason. He finished the postseason with a .261 average, going 6-for-23 with three runs score and two RBI.
How Will Chas McCormick Fair Against His Hometown Phillies?
So far in 2022, Chas McCormick is 5-for-20 on the postseason with two home runs and four runs scored. Primarily batting out of the eight-hole, McCormick will be a harder out for the Phillies to get than fellow outfielder Trent Grisham was in the NLCS. Combine that with his stellar defense and, frankly, he is a player the Phillies could use on their team right now.
Looking back to the Phillies-Astros series at the end of the regular season, McCormick put on a show against the then-floundering Phillies. In two games, Chas McCormick went 4-for-5 against the Phillies, scoring two runs and one RBI on a double and two walks. He also owns the fifth-best OPS this postseason between the Phillies and Astros.
On Monday, October 31, Chas McCormick will make his Citizens Bank Park debut at the biggest stage. And while McCormick admits to having rooted for the Phillies thus far in the postseason, he will now have to put aside his childhood fandom as he looks to earn his first World Series title against them.
In order to do so, however, he will have to endure a series in which many of his friends and former classmates (myself included) will be rooting against him as the Phillies look to shut him and his fellow Houston Astros down.
Photo credit: AP Photo/Seth Wenig