Major league draft ‘a dream come true’
Ryan Hinchley takes a diplomatic stance in one of Chicago’s biggest rivalries, Cubs vs. Sox.
He’s always been a fan of both teams, but truth be told, he favored the Cubs a little more. That changed June 9, when he was drafted by the White Sox in the 2015 MLB Draft.
“It really was a dream come true,” Hinchley said. “I’ve been dreaming about this ever since I picked up a ball back when I was 4 years old. Being a hometown team, it made my family and friends extremely happy.”
Hinchley was one of two UIC Flames baseball players picked during the draft. Hinchley, a left-handed pitcher, was selected by the Sox in the ninth round with the 262nd overall pick. Lefty slugger Jeff Boehm followed in the 13th round with the 405th selection by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
UIC alumnus and current New York Mets All Star outfielder Curtis Granderson sends his congratulations to the Flames players.
“It’s amazing to see these guys – and hopefully many more to follow – enter into the major leagues,” Granderson said. “Chicago is my home and where I spend most of my time in the off-season, in which I work out at UIC. It’s been really amazing to see first-hand what Coach (Mike) Dee has done over the years, especially in a market like Chicago, with the recent addition of the new state-of-the-art UIC Flames indoor and outdoor complexes, which seem to be a major draw for talented athletes from across the country.
“I’m confident that in the years to come, we’ll continue to see amazing talent graduate from the Flames to the majors.”
Both players had stellar collegiate careers with the Flames. During his senior season, Hinchley pitched 37 innings to post a 3-2 record with 10 saves, which earned him the No. 3 spot in UIC history for saves in a single season. He tabbed a 3.89 ERA with 50 strikeouts and limited opponents to a .195 batting average. He was named to the All-Horizon League Second Team after helping the Flames win the Horizon League regular season title.
“Playing at UIC truly prepared me to handle any sort of adversity tossed at me in any given situation, on the field and in life,” said Hinchley, who’s from Elmhurst.
Boehm earned the Horizon League Player of the Year title and the league’s Triple Crown. He was named ECAC Division I Player of the Year by the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference, and selected for the American Baseball Coaches Association/Rawlings NCAA Division I All-America Third-Team.
During his senior season, Boehm was one of three players nationally to combine for 14 home runs and 67 RBI. His .687 slugging percentage ranked eighth nationally. He produced UIC’s best batting average at .374 and led the Flames in hits (74), doubles (16), home runs (14), RBI (67) and walks (37).
“The UIC coaching staff gave me the confidence and trust that it takes to play at the professional level,” said Boehm, of Lansing, Illinois. “They presented me with the qualities of a leader that have helped me develop as a person and player.”
Since the draft, Hinchley has been working out at the White Sox spring training facility in Glendale, Arizona.
“In my few days being a part of the White Sox organization, I couldn’t be happier with how they treat their players,” Hinchley said. “It is truly a world-class organization and I’m excited every day to go to work for them.”
After players are drafted, they are evaluated and placed on one of the team’s affiliated minor league teams. Hinchley left Arizona Tuesday for Great Falls, Montana, to play for the Great Falls Voyagers. He will face off against Boehm, who will play for the Orem Owls in Utah.
After playing for the Voyagers this summer, Hinchley, a senior in communication, will return to UIC in the fall to finish his last semester.
He’s excited about the prospect of pitching for the White Sox someday.
“The thought of playing in front of a hometown crowd is equally exciting as getting selected in the 2015 draft,” he said. “I have the opportunity to stay in the great city of Chicago and be around the people I love the most.”
And he hopes to come face to face with former teammate Boehm in the major leagues.
“Being in a big league park on the mound, and I see Jeff Boehm come up to the plate — I definitely would get goose bumps,” he said. “That would be an awesome moment.”
Granderson shares his advice for the rookies.
“Under my cap are the written words, “Don’t think, have fun” – that’s my best piece of advice,” he said. “No matter where you go or what you do, just be sure to enjoy it.
“I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to see Jeff and Ryan in the big show – and hopefully countless more fellow Flames.”