Regardless of the baseball field that Little Elm senior Frayner Chavez has played on, there is a good chance that he won’t be the tallest player. In fact, the 5-foot-5 Chavez has always been one of the shortest.
But to Chavez, there are other intangibles that are more important in the game of baseball than someone’s height.
“It doesn’t bother me,” he said. “I’m just ready to compete.”
Getting drafted by a Major League Baseball team is a goal for Chavez. He doesn’t have to look too far to find someone that has.
Chavez’s older brother, Frainyer, who graduated from Little Elm in 2018, was selected by the Texas Rangers in the 22nd round of the 2018 MLB First-Year Player Draft. Frainyer is playing shortstop for the Hickory Crawdads, the High-A affiliate of the Rangers.
Frayner remembers quite vividly the day that Frainyer got drafted.
"It was a great day,” Frayner said. “My parents, my family were happy. The dream finally came true. He put the work that he needed to. I was playing for my summer team. When I got home, he wanted to surprise me. He said, 'I made it.' I came home and I gave him a big hug."
Frayner was also at Little Elm on the day when Frainyer signed a National Letter of Intent to play baseball for Midland College.
"I first met (Frayner) when he was a little eighth-grader,” said Matt Harbin, Little Elm head baseball coach. “We had a signing on the first week of February. I had talked to Frayner a couple of times. On that signing day, he walked to me and said, 'Coach, that is going to be in me in five years.'"
Frayner followed through on his promise. He will follow in his older brother’s footsteps at Midland College, starting this fall.
Baseball is a sport that the siblings took up when Frainyer was 7 years old and Frayner was 3. They played with a stick and a paper ball in the backyard of their family’s house in their native Venezuela.
"It was always competitive, because I wanted to be better than him,” Frayner said. “I always wanted to beat him. He never took it easy on me. If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be here. He would teach me the right way to do it."
The biggest thing that Frainyer taught Frayner was the mental approach to baseball. Frayner always had the physical and sport-specific skills to be successful. It was about how to think.
“He's a role model for me,” Frayner said of Frainyer. “He always has been. Anything that I want to ask, I can always go to him. I can always go to him and he won't judge me."
And for the Chavez family, life is more than just baseball. Family life has always been just as important.
Maribel Colina, the mother of Frayner and Frainyer, named each of her three children with the same three letters to begin their first names: F, R and A. Frainyer and Frayner have a sister named Fraymar. Their father’s name is Franklin.
"My mom came up with the names," Frayner said. "She wanted us to be connected at all times. We're pretty close. We talk on the phone almost every night and talk about the day. We're a very close family and we keep in contact with each other."
The Chavez family remained in Valencia, Venezuela until Frayner was 9 years old. Citing shifts in the country’s economic climate, they moved from Valenzuela to Little Elm.
"It was getting kind of dangerous over there (in Venezuela),” Frayner said. “Back then, it was good. My dad didn't want us to experience what the people there are experiencing right now. The economy was getting bad, stuff was getting expensive."
Once in the United States, Frayner resumed playing baseball.
But playing baseball has come with some personal setbacks for Chavez – mainly attributed to injury.
As a freshman, he suffered a lower-body injury during a collision on a play at first base during a game at The Colony halfway through district play. Chavez finished the game, but the next day at practice, he couldn’t put any weight on his foot. He ended up having a chip in his big toe that pressed against a tendon.
As a sophomore, Chavez missed most of the season with a high ankle sprain, an injury that he suffered while crossing paths with another player while running into the dugout during an intersquad game for Little Elm. He came back in time for the playoffs, and on the second pitch that he saw, laced a single into center field.
After the COVID-19 pandemic cut short the spring season for every high school team in Texas last year, Chavez was a bright spot for a Lobo team that struggled to a record of 6-23-2 in their first season as a Class 6A school.
Chavez wasn’t the most vocal person on the field. He let his actions do the talking. Offensively, Chavez led Little Elm in multiple statistical categories: hits (33), RBIs (13) and batting average (.344). Defensively, he committed five errors in 85 total chances for a .941 fielding percentage. Chavez also starred on the mound, yielding just 13 earned runs in 45 innings pitched for a 2.02 ERA.
“There is really no difference between Frayner and Frainyer,” Harbin said. “They're both quiet. They both go about their business. They lead by their actions. They're not the brouhaha kind of guys. One of the things that we tell our kids is that if things go badly, move on. They're both good at that.”
Now, it’s onto Midland College for Frayner, where he will look to be a key contributor for the Chaps – and possibly beyond, with the goal of one day playing baseball professionally.
“As long as I put in the work, I know that I can make it,” Frayner said.