Today marks the beginning of the 2014 MLB draft, and for some, the start of making childhood dreams come true. This year many highly talked about prospects are coming out of our own backyard. Some of the top prospects in this year’s draft either play in or are from the New England area. A lot of people might be surprised by this due to the fact that places like Florida, Texas, and California are the typical breeding grounds for top MLB prospects.
Over the next couple of days players from this part of the country will wait for that phone call from a Major League team, some expecting it and others just hoping for a chance; but all will hopefully be representing the New England area proudly in the near future. Let us now take a more in-depth look at the top New England draft prospects and some underdogs who could also be drafted by a Major League team.
Top 5 New England draft prospects:
- Sean Newcomb, LHP (Middleborough MA, University of Hartford): Ranking in the top 10 in most pre-draft top 100 prospect charts, Newcomb might be the most promising prospect coming out of New England in this year's draft. Newcomb who is from New England and plays in New England for the University of Hartford had a stellar junior season for the Hawks. The 6 foot 5’ lefty put up some serious numbers this year, going 8-2 with a 1.25 ERA and 106 strikeouts in 93 1/3 innings. Newcomb at times makes his delivery to the plate look effortless making his 97mph fastball that much more deceptive for hitters. Look for the towering Lefty to be picked early in the first round of this year’s draft.
- Tyler Beede, RHP (Auburn MA, Vanderbilt University): Known as “Young Beedah” as an aspiring rapper in the Hip-Hop community. Though Tyler is multi-talented, he really shines on the field. Beede, the ace for the Division one SEC powerhouse Vanderbilt, has lived up to his hype coming out of High school. Combing for 23 wins the past three seasons and an ERA that has always been below a 4.00, Beede has put up numbers that compare to college greats like Matt Harvey. Beedes best year came in 2013; he went 14-1 with a 2.32 ERA and played his best games against the fiercest competition. Ranking in the top 15 on most 2014 prospect boards look for the local superstar to go in the middle to late first round in tonight’s draft.
- Adam Ravanelle, RHP (Sudbury MA, Vanderbilt University): The second Vanderbilt boy on our list is Adam Ravanelle, who played his High School ball for perennial power house Lincoln-Sudbury High School. Ravanelle has been one of coach Corbin’s go to guys out of the pen this year, posting a 3-1 record with an outstanding 1.32 ERA through 36 total appearances. Known as a consistent worker on the field and in the class room, Adam is the type of guy you want on your baseball team. He knows his role out of the pen and excels at it. Ravanelle was ranked as the 151st prospect on MLB.com's 2014 prospect list.
- Pat Connaughton, RHP (Arlington MA, University of Notre Dame): On the basketball court and the baseball diamond Pat Connaughton excels as an athlete at the University of Notre Dame. For this superstar the decision will soon have to be made to play one or the other. But for now Pat enjoys dominating in both sports. This year the St. Johns Prep alum put up some solid numbers for the Fighting Irish. He pitched in 63 innings posting a 3.92 ERA and holding opponent batters to a low .235 average against. Connaughton will probably hold up on his baseball dreams and head back to play basketball for his senior year at Notre Dame, but he is another local name to watch out for in this weekends draft.
- Justin Bellinger, 1B (Weston MA, St. Sebastian’s School): The only hitter and high school kid on our prospect list is Weston’s own Justin Bellinger. The big 6-6 237 pound lefty first baseman is another promising young prospect out of the New England area. Justin will be faced with one of the biggest decisions of his life this weekend, College or Pro? If he decides to hold off his big league dreams for now, Bellinger will attend Duke in the fall where he will serve as a huge addition to Blue Devils baseball roster come spring time of next year.
The 3 New England underdogs to look out for in the 2014 MLB Draft:
- Derek Dubois, RHP (Haverhill MA, Clark University): The hard throwing righty out of Clark University shows a lot of potential. With a fastball that is consistent around 93-94mph, Dubois also has the ability to throw a good curveball and changeup. At the next level Dubois projects to be a very effective guy out of the pen. This year playing in one of the most competitive division three baseball conferences in the country Dubois had a 5-2 record with a 3.52 ERA and 44 strike outs. A work horse on the mound and in the weight room, Dubois hopes to prove a lot of people wrong once he is given a chance.
- Jamill Moquette, OF (Boston MA, Umass Boston): Jamill Moquette has the speed and size to play at the next level. Batting consistently above .333 for his career at Umass Boston, Moquette has proven he can get it done at the plate. Showing a great eye and getting on base consistently is a key asset to Jamills game. Over the past three years he has racked up 143 hits, 12 home runs, and 77 RBI in 121 games. A pretty impressive stat-line for the hopeful draft prospect.
- Mike Odenwaelder, RHP, OF (Goshen CT, Amherst College): Mike Odenwaelder is a big presence on the baseball diamond. Odenwaelder is 6-6 230 pounds, athletic, and fast. This past season for the Amherst baseball team he produced big time numbers. Hitting .400 with 6 homeruns and 31 RBI Odenwaelder won NESCAC player of the year. With his size, speed and ability to produce at the plate he projects nicely at the next level.
This weekend all of these local baseball players will be hoping to be picked by one of the thirty two Major League teams. With a lot of money on the line some will have to choose between continuing their college baseball careers and starting their journey to the big leagues. In the end, all of these local prospects can connect with the fact that they started their careers right here in New England. Who knows, they might soon be playing for an MLB coaching staff right here; wearing red and white, playing in one of the most historic stadiums in all of sports, the beloved Fenway Park.