Three days after 18-year-old righthander Chris Mokma signed his first pro contract, his older brother Mike did the same, and there’s no question which event meant more to the younger sibling.
“His was more amazing because he had gotten hurt, and things had looked dire,” said Chris Mokma, the Marlins’ 12th-round pick out of Holland (Mich.) High.
In fact Mike Mokma made just five starts for Michigan State before the 21-year-old righthander missed the rest of the season after having elbow surgery. That injury was a concern until the Dodgers signed him as a nondrafted free agent.
The Marlins are thrilled with the pitcher they got in Chris, a 6-foot-4, 200-pound righty with a fastball that ranges between 90-93 mph as well as a changeup and slider that both sit in the low 80s. He made five starts in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League after signing, recording a 2.19 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 12.1 innings.
Mokma lost only one game as a high school senior—on June 5, the day he was drafted.
In fact, Mokma was stretching out his arm about two hours before his start in a state quarterfinal game when his trainer told him the news.
Mokma went on to pitch and was one out away from a victory when Catholic Central rallied for a walk-off victory.
Mokma’s disappointment was soothed by the Marlins, who signed him for $557,000. He finished his prep career with three perfect games, but his favorite moment came off the mound.
Late in his freshman season, Mokma was called up from JV to varsity, where brother Mike had a 15-0 record as Holland’s ace. The teams’ No. 2 starers was righthander David Williams, who now pitches for Louisiana-Lafayette.
To get on the field, Chris caught Williams in the state semifinal and then played first base in the championship game. Prior to that season, Chris had caught just a few games in middle school with pitchers who threw no harder than 80 mph. Williams threw 90 consistently.
“David threw gas, and Chris was the only guy we had who could catch him,” Holland coach Jim Caserta said. “But that’s Chris. He’s not just a good athlete . . . he’s very knowledgeable about baseball.”