Boston High School: Jordan Cote

In Concord, Cote's blue collar comes full circle

August, 17, 2011
8/17/11
1:45
AM ET



CONCORD, N.H. -- On the way into a Home Depot yesterday, Scott Cote was asked by a young stranger carrying kayaks, "How's Jordan doing?"

The stranger didn't introduce himself, asking only if his son Jordan, a third-round draft pick of the Yankees out of little-known Winnisquam Regional High School, had signed.

"When I walked away from this gentleman, I still didn't know who he was," Scott laughed. "Obviously, he knew I was Jordan's father somehow, some way. But we go into restaurants, banks, anywhere, and it's just, the whole town is talking about it."

The buzz has been fervent for some time now around tiny Sanbornton, a town of less than 3,000 nestled between the state's capital and its motor speedway, ever since this 6-foot-6 son of a body shop mechanic and travel consultant tossed his high school team to its first state title, two springs ago, with a no-hitter.

"It's weird walking around town when people are just staring at you," Jordan said.

As many as 25 scouts had been spotted at his starts this spring, and projected him to go anywhere between the third and seventh rounds. All of it came full circle tonight for the one-time Coastal Carolina commit, at the Concord Sports Center facility where he often trains.

Jordan sent his papers to the commissioner's office on Sunday. Tonight, in front of a crowd of roughly a hundred friends and family; and flanked by his parents, his high school and summer coaches, and the two Yankees scouts that had been on him from the beginning of this wave; he made it official, signing with the club for a $725,000 bonus.

Smiling, Cote admitted the offer was "a little below our number, but it was the New York Yankees, so that made the difference". He also revealed that he had plans to live with good friend Tyler Beede, the Auburn, Mass. native and Blue Jays' first-round pick, in Nashua. Beede, however, turned down a $2.5 million offer last night, and will report to Vanderbilt University at the end of this week.

Cote leaves for Tampa in the morning, and will report to the Gulf Coast League Yankees. Yankees Northeast Scouting Director Matt Hyde said Jordan will then go back down in September for instructional league, followed by a trip to the Dominican Republic to work the club's academy for several weeks. He'll return in November, and could return to Tampa as early as January.

"There's no rush with him," Hyde said. "He needs to get out on the mound, throw quality innings, and it's all about development. We like to move our young pitchers at a nice pace, and not feel like they're under pressure to get to New York right away."

Moments earlier, Scott (the auto body mechanic) reflected on the atmosphere in the warehouse-like facility with humility.

"We're just average American people," Scott said. "Jordan has an opportunity to do what he loves to do, and at the same time make some pretty nice money."

Just how much does he love it? Scott called it "scary, as far as I'm concerned."

"His whole life is baseball," said Scott, who was also an assistant for Winnisquam the last three seasons. "Even when he slows down and decides to relax, he's playing MLB baseball on a video game. I get up in the morning and he's watching the MLB channel. He's watching ESPN, he's on the internet. He goes to work out, and then he comes home and watches baseball. He knows more about baseball personnel than I know in my whole life -- almost to the point where, I love baseball, but after a while I just want to take a break, [and] this kid does not take a break.

"He just absolutely loves baseball. He talks to his agents, his scouts, his trainers, his pitching coach, almost daily. It's all baseball with this kid, and it's all his choice. Has been since he was eight years old."

All of it has translated into a product on the field that had scouts discussing his projectability all spring. Locally, it was a product that Winnisquam head coach Fred Caruso couldn't wait to coach, as he recalled watching Jordan as a 10-year-old crank a 300-foot homer for Northfield-Tilton Little League. When he was elevated to head coach five years ago, Caruso says he "was salivating" at the opportunity to work with Jordan.

As a freshman in 2008, Jordan was named the team's No. 1 starter, with a loose, roughly 6-foot-3 frame Caruso compared to "a scarecrow". But it was far from a finished product.

Enter Matt Blake, a Concord native and former Holy Cross pitcher who specializes with pitchers at the popular Cressey Performance facility in Hudson, Mass., and is now a scout with the Yankees. Three years ago, Blake saw a raw athlete with basketball skills and good hand speed, moving his body fluidly. From there, he worked with Cote to shore up his mechanics and create a downhill delivery that makes his pitches tough to pick up.

"A lot of big guys, they can get mechanical and get bogged down in the whole idea of a delivery," Blake said. "But we wanted it to be an uptempo throwing motion, so that was the first thing we really attacked."

As his body grew, the velocity climbed, and things took off from there. Now at 6-foot-6 and 215 pounds, Cote threw as hard as 94 miles per hour this spring, leading to a 6-1 record, 0.77 ERA and strike percentage hovering around 72.

And he's still yet to fill out; scouts see him bulking up to 235 pounds, and his fastball possibly topping out at 97. Cote will have to improve on getting his pitches down in the strike zone, and staying on line.

But if history says anything, Cote could have a good chance down the line. From Brian Wilson to Chris Carpenter, all the way back to Mike Flanagan and Carlton Fisk, New Hampshire has proven a solid track record over the years in spite of its thin pool of prospects.

"I think it's just the attitude coming out of New Hampshire," said Blake, who is also an assistant for Massachusetts Division 1 state champion Lincoln-Sudbury Regional. "You're always going up against the southern kids. You're always going up against the climate. People are always saying you're not as talented. But, every time someone puts that out there, it just wills you to work that much harder, because it's never been handed to you."

Scott Cote and then Caruso entertained the crowd with stories of umpires thanking the Winnisquam staff for starting Jordan, and of Jordan boldly declaring before his famous state title no-hitter that there would be no hits that afternoon, among other things, before handing the pen to Jordan.

When the ink dried, the photo-ops had run their course and the media had cleared out, Jordan went to the back of the facility to throw long-toss to his summertime catcher of four years, Tilton School sophomore Ryan White, as Hyde looked over his shoulder.

Then he went upstairs to the portable mound, and threw a simulated bullpen for Hyde, with a handful of spectators leaning against the railings. The violent whir with each fastball passed by drew faint laughs and wide grins. And then it was back to more immediate matters, like why his laptop wasn't fixed in time for tomorrow morning's flight, and what he'd do in the meantime to cope.

"I'll remember you with the Cannonballs," he said to White as he unstrapped his catcher's equipment, referring to the AAU team they both used to belong to.

And just like that, their last bullpen session together as high schoolers, as amateurs, was over.

Cote then turned back to Hyde and asked, with a chuckle, "So can I pitch tomorrow?"

Winnisquam's Cote signs with Yankees

August, 15, 2011
8/15/11
8:14
PM ET
Yankees third-round draft pick and recent Winnisquam Regional (N.H.) graduate Jordan Cote confirmed to ESPNBoston.com this morning that he is signing with the club and turning pro.

Cote, a 6-foot-5 righthander who went 118th overall to the Yankees in last June's draft, said this morning that the documents were sent to the commissioner's office yesterday, and were awaiting approval. Deferring to the advice of his advisor, Cote declined any further comment until tomorrow night, when he is expected to perform a ceremonial signing in Concord, N.H.

Jim Callis of Baseball America is reporting that the Sanbornton, N.H. resident signed for a bonus of $725,000, the highest bonus for a third-rounder so far this summer. A league source has since confirmed this number with ESPNBoston.com.

Shortly after he was picked by the Yankees on June 7, Cote told ESPNBoston.com that his advisor and the club had come to terms on an undisclosed number that both parties were "very comfortable with", but that it would be realistic to expect him to sign close to tonight's deadline for signing draft picks.

The Yankees were reportedly high on Cote, who was projected to go anywhere from the third to seventh rounds in last June's draft. ESPN's Keith Law had him ranked No. 85 on his list of top 100 prospects, calling his physical tools "a pitching coach's dream."

Prior to the draft, an American League scout gave me the following scouting report on Cote:



"He’s the one that’s been climbing the most. I’d say Cote was one that was kind of a sleeper early in the season. People had to wait and see what you get out of him, being in a Northern climate, playing on 35-degree days more so than Mass kids. Early on, he struggled, was hitting 87-88, then over the last two or three weeks, as the weather warmed up he found his groove. He’s really climbed into the upper echelon of high school prospects. You look at that frame, 6-6, 215, and there’s a lot of projectability. You could see him filling out to 240, and see that fastball velocity increase because of the hand speed he demonstrates."


New Englanders taken in MLB Draft

June, 7, 2011
6/07/11
3:30
PM ET
The third and final day of the Major League Baseball Draft has concluded. Here's a rundown of which locals went where:

First Round (Monday)
11. Houston Astros, George Springer, OF, Connecticut (Avon Old Farms), New Britain, Conn.
19. Boston Red Sox, Matt Barnes, RHP, Connecticut (Bethel H.S.), Bethel, Conn.
21. Toronto Blue Jays, Tyler Beede, RHP, Lawrence Academy, Auburn, Mass.

Second Round (Tuesday)
63. Arizona Diamondbacks, Anthony Meo, RHP, Coastal Carolina (Cranston West H.S.), Cranston, R.I.
64. Baltimore Orioles, Jason Esposito, 3B, Vanderbilt (Amity H.S.), Bethany, Conn.
85. Atlanta Braves, Nick Ahmed, SS, Connecticut (East Longmeadow H.S.), East Longmeadow, Mass.

Third Round (Tuesday)
118. New York Yankees, Jordan Cote, RHP, Winnisquam Regional, Sanbornton, N.H.

Fifth Round (Tuesday)
162. New York Mets, Jack Leathersich, LHP, UMass-Lowell (Beverly H.S.), Beverly, Mass.
169. Toronto Blue Jays, Andrew Chin, LHP, BB&N, Newton, Mass.

Sixth Round (Tuesday)
182. Pittsburgh Pirates, Dan Gamache, 3B, Auburn (Bishop Hendricken H.S.), Exeter, R.I.

Tenth Round (Tuesday)
302. Pittsburgh Pirates, Taylor Lewis, CF, Maine (Montville H.S.), Montville, Conn.
303. Seattle Mariners, Dan Paolini, 2B, Siena (Bunnell H.S.) Stratford, Conn.
317. Detroit Tigers, Curt Casali, C, Vanderbilt (New Canaan H.S.) New Canaan, Conn.

Twelfth Round (Tuesday)
363. Seattle Mariners, Mike Dowd, C, Franklin Pierce (Cardinal Spellman H.S.), East Bridgewater, Mass.

Thirteenth Round (Tuesday)
394. Arizona Diamondbacks, John Pedrotty, LHP, Holy Cross (Portsmouth H.S.), Portsmouth, R.I.

Fifteenth Round (Tuesday)
463. Florida Marlins, Jhimoar Veras, RF, Western Oklahoma State Coll. (Methuen H.S.), Methuen, Mass.

Seventeenth Round (Tuesday)
519. Chicago Cubs, John Andreoli Jr., RF, Connecticut (St. John's of Shrewsbury), Shrewsbury, Mass.

Eighteenth Round (Tuesday)
553. Florida Marlins, Greg Nappo, LHP, Connecticut (Daniel Hand H.S.), Madison, Conn.
563. San Diego Padres, Mike Gallic, LF, Marist (Tolland H.S.), Tolland, Conn.

Twentieth Round (Tuesday)
610. Houston Astros, Matt Duffy, 3B, Tennessee (St. Sebastian's), Milton, Mass.
630. Tampa Bay Rays, Garrett Smith, SS, Boston College (St. John's of Shrewsbury), Sterling, Mass.

23rd Round (Tuesday)
700. Houston Astros, Ruben Sosa, 2B, Oklahoma City University (Lawrence H.S.), Lawrence, Mass.
702. New York Mets, Jeff Diehl, C, Cranston West H.S., Cranston, R.I.
715. Cincinnati Reds, Sal Romano, RHP, Southington H.S., Southington, Conn.

24th Round (Tuesday)
747. San Francisco Giants, Keith Bilodeau, RHP, Maine (Bourne H.S.), Bourne, Mass.

25th Round (Tuesday)
763. Florida Marlins, Sean Donatello, RHP, UConn-Avery Point (East Lyme H.S.), Salem, Conn.
780. Tampa Bay Rays, Brooks Belter, RHP, Occidental (The Gunnery Prep), Lakeville, Conn.

28th Round (Tuesday)
862. Boston Red Sox, Brenden Shepherd, RHP, Stonehill (Masconomet Regional) Boxford, Mass.
867. San Francisco Giants, Tyler Mizenko, RHP, Winthrop (Hamden Hall H.S.), Wallingford, Conn.

31st Round (Wednesday)
958. Minnesota Twins, Garrett Jewell, RHP, Southern New Hampshire (Newfound Regional), Alexandria, N.H.

32nd Round (Wednesday)
975. Los Angeles Angels, John Leonard, RHP, Boston College (Hanover H.S.), Hanover, Mass.

35th Round (Wednesday)
1076. Atlanta Braves, Mike Hashem, LHP, Fisher College (North Andover H.S.), North Andover, Mass.
1080. Tampa Bay Rays, John Magliozzi, RHP, Dexter School, Milton, Mass.

38th Round (Wednesday)
1163. San Diego Padres, Pat Connaughton, RHP, St. John's Prep, Arlington, Mass.
1169. New York Yankees, Joe Maher, RHP, Bedford H.S., Bedford, N.H.

39th Round (Wednesday)
1192. Boston Red Sox, Corey Vogt, RHP, Keene State (Suffield H.S.), Suffield, Conn.

40th Round (Wednesday)
1206. Kansas City Royals, Ben Waldrip, 1B, Jacksonville State (Medford H.S.), Medford, Mass.

42nd Round (Wednesday)
1269. Chicago Cubs, Brad Zapenas, SS, Boston College (Nashua North H.S.), Nashua, N.H.
1290. Tampa Bay Rays, Mike Bourdon, C, U. Tampa (Northwest Catholic H.S.), Simsbury, Conn.

43rd Round (Wednesday)
1303. Florida Marlins, Drew Leenhouts, LHP, Northeastern (Franklin H.S.), Franklin, Mass.
1310. St. Louis Cardinals, Chris Costantino, RHP, Walters State CC (Bishop Hendricken H.S.), Lincoln, R.I.

44th Round (Wednesday)
1349. New York Yankees, Adam Ravenelle, RHP, Lincoln-Sudbury H.S., Sudbury, Mass.

45th Round (Wednesday)
1372. Boston Red Sox, Matt Gedman, 2B, UMass (Belmont Hill), Framingham, Mass.
1377. San Francisco Giants, Brian Maloney, LHP, Franklin Pierce (Brockton H.S.), Brockton, Mass.

46th Round (Wednesday)
1389. Chicago Cubs, Scott Weismann, RHP, Clemson (Acton-Boxborough H.S.), Boxborough, Mass.

48th Round (Wednesday)
1443. Seattle Mariners, Max Krakowiak, RHP, Fordham (Staples H.S.), Westport, Conn.
1448. Cleveland Indians, Blaine O'Brien, RHP, Keystone College (Scituate H.S.), Scituate, Mass.

50th Round (Wednesday)
1522. Boston Red Sox, John Gorman, RHP, Catholic Memorial, Norwood, Mass.
Tags:

Baseball, MLB draft, Lawrence Academy, Tyler Beede, John Magliozzi, Adam Ravenelle, Jordan Cote, Pat Connaughton, St. John's Prep, East Longmeadow, Lincoln-Sudbury, Portsmouth (R.I.), Andrew Chin, Nashua North, Winnisquam Regional, Belmont Hill, Catholic Memorial, Acton-Boxborough, St. John's (Shrewsbury), Bedford (N.H.), Northwest Catholic (Conn.), John Gorman, Cardinal Spellman, St. Sebastian's, Bishop Hendricken, Masconomet, Bishop Hendricken (R.I.), North Andover, Hamden Hall (Conn.), Jason Esposito, Amity (Conn.), Matt Barnes, Bethel (Conn.), Newfound Regional (N.H.), Jeff Diehl, Vanderbilt, UMass Minutemen, Boston Red Sox, Atlanta Braves, UConn Huskies, Fordham Rams, Holy Cross Crusaders, Boston College Eagles, Sal Romano, Southington (Conn.), Tennessee Volunteers, Maine Black Bears, Toronto Blue Jays, Baltimore Orioles, Nick Ahmed, Jack Leathersich, Dan Gamache, Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Yankess, New York Mets, UMass-Lowell, Taylor Lewis, Montville (Conn.), Dan Paolini, Bunnell (Conn.), Seattle Mariners, Detroit Tigers, Curt Casali, New Canaan (Conn.), Vanderbilt Commdores, Siena Saints, Arizona Diamondbacks, John Pedrotty, Florida Marlins, Jhiomar Veras, Chicago Cubs, John Andreoli Jr., Greg Nappo, Daniel Hand (Conn.), Mike Gallic, Marist Foxes, Tolland (Conn.), Matt Duffy, Garrett Smith, Ruben Sosa, Cranston West (R.I.), Keith Bilodeau, Sean Donatello, East Lyme (Conn.), Brooks Belter, The Gunnery (Conn.), Brenden Shepherd, Tyler Mizenko, Winthrop Eagles, Garrett Jewell, John Leonard, Mike Hashem, Corey Vogt, Suffield (Conn.), Ben Waldrip, Jacksonville State Gamecocks, Brad Zapenas, Mike Bourdon, Drew Leenhouts, Northeastern Huskies, Chris Costantino, Matt Gedman, Brian Maloney, Scott Weismann, Clemson Tigers, Max Krakowiak, Staples (Conn.), Blaine O'Brien

Yankees select Winnisquam (N.H.)'s Cote

June, 7, 2011
6/07/11
1:39
PM ET
Jordan Cote sat in front of his computer in the living room of his Sanbornton, N.H. home with a final exam in one hand (his teacher let him take it home), 20 or so friends gathered around (some of them cut class), and afternoon baseball practice an hour and half away.

And then, within the last half hour, things suddenly got crazy. The highly-touted Winnisquam Regional righthander watched his name come across the ticker, going 118th overall (third round) to the Yankees, and watched his mother flip out. Moments later, Yankees Northeaster Director of Scouting Matt Hyde called him up with a welcome greeting, and it was official.

"I'm a Yankees fan, so it couldn’t get any better," Cote said. "I don’t even know what to say…I couldn't have been going to a better team, but I don’t think I've ever been this happy in my entire life."

The Yankees had shown arguably the most interest in Cote for a while, but he said he got a little nervous when the phone didn't ring as things inched closer to the pick.

"I figured I'd get a call before, but evidently they don't do that," he laughed.

The past two months have been eye-opening for the 6-foot-6, 215-pounder, who was named the state's Gatorade Player of the Year last week and has seen his stock soar, based on projectability and a fastball that continues to escalate in the 90's as the weather has gotten warmer. As many as two dozen scouts have been seen at his starts this spring.

And it's not over yet, as the Wolves will face Somersworth in the Class M semifinals Friday. Last season, he tossed a no-hitter against Somersworth to capture the school's first-ever state championship in baseball.

"It's been a pretty wild ride," Cote said.

Cote is currently committed to Coastal Carolina, but is reportedly very signable. In Sunday's profile of the prospect on ESPNBoston.com, he told correspondent Roger Brown "Money is definitely the No. 1 factor. I wish baseball could always be for fun, but that’s not the way it is."

Cote confirmed those comments again, saying that his advisor and the club have come to terms on an undisclosed number that both parties are "very comfortable with". He said with his busy schedule, it would be realistic to expect him to sign close to the August 15 deadline.

ESPN's Keith Law has Cote ranked No. 85 on his Top 100, with the following scouting report:

Cote is an extremely tall right-hander with present arm strength, and he's a virtual blank slate as a pitcher, having received limited instruction. His physical tools are a pitching coach's dream.

The New Hampshire native has been mostly 88-92 in cold weather all spring, with fringy off-speed stuff, mostly a mid-70s curveball that he needs to get on top of better. His mechanics need a cleanup, if not an overhaul; among other things he tends to get his back elbow up during his delivery, pinching his shoulders behind him and putting pressure on both joints.

He also might slide because like most New Hampshire kids, he's tough to scout between weather, short schedule, and poor competition. But he's pretty athletic and has very little pitching experience, so it's all projection with lots for a player development group to work with.


Last weekend, an American League scout gave me the following scouting report on Cote:


“He’s the one that’s been climbing the most. I’d say Cote was one that was kind of a sleeper early in the season. People had to wait and see what you get out of him, being in a Northern climate, playing on 35-degree days more so than Mass kids. Early on, he struggled, was hitting 87-88, then over the last two or three weeks, as the weather warmed up he found his groove. He’s really climbed into the upper echelon of high school prospects. You look at that frame, 6-6, 215, and there’s a lot of projectability. You could see him filling out to 240, and see that fastball velocity increase because of the hand speed he demonstrates."


Winnisquam's Cote enduring season for ages

June, 5, 2011
6/05/11
11:46
PM ET
It’s unlikely that Jordan Cote will forget his junior season with the Winnisquam Regional baseball team anytime soon.

That’s when Cote, a 6-foot-5, 215-pound right-handed pitcher, led Winnisquam to the program’s first state championship, and punctuated the season by tossing a no-hitter against previously unbeaten Somersworth in the Class M championship game.

Although pitchers are limited to 16 innings during the state tournament, Cote pitched in each of the Wolves' four postseason games. He collected three victories and a save, and finished his junior year with an 11-0 record and a 0.66 ERA.

His senior season may prove to be even more memorable, however. Cote has already been named the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year, and he has his team in position to win another state title.

The fourth-seeded Wolves reached the Division III (formerly Class M) semifinals by beating Mascenic in Saturday’s quarterfinals. Cote pitched a complete game, struck out 12 and allowed just two hits.

The Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft is what may put Cote’s senior season over the top. The draft will be held Monday through Wednesday, and Cote is expected to be selected sometime Tuesday, when rounds two through 30 will be held.

“We’ve heard as high as the third round and as low as the seventh,” Winnisquam coach Fred Caruso said. “We think he’ll be taken in the top 10 somewhere.

“He’s a big kid with huge hands. He has an A-plus fastball for this level. He’s been clocked as high as 94 (mph). [Professional] scouts have told me they project him at 235 [pounds] and throwing 97.

“We still had scouts showing up at our game Saturday, two days before the draft. The Yankees are very, very high on him, as are the Pirates and the Phillies. We just have to see what happens.”

Cote, a Sanbornton, N.H. resident, is scheduled to pitch again Friday, when Winnisquam faces top-seeded Somersworth in the semifinals. Cote was on the mound when Winnisquam handed Somersworth its only regular-season loss earlier this season.

This season Cote is 6-1 with a 0.77 ERA. He’s surrendered 22 hits, five earned runs and eight walks in 45 1/3 innings. He has 82 strikeouts, and recorded his 300th career strikeout during the regular-season victory over Somersworth earlier this season.

Of the 699 pitches he’s thrown, 504 have been strikes. He’s also batting .491 (28 for 57).

“Jordan Cote just dominates people," Franklin High coach Tom Charbono said."He throws gas, and he's got a slider and a tight curveball to go with it. He's a special talent  the complete package."

Cote signed a national letter of intent with Coastal Carolina last November. At that point, Cote said, he had no idea professional scouts would be flocking to his games this spring.

Boston College, Connecticut, Kennesaw State, Vanderbilt and Mississippi were among the other college programs that showed serious interest in Cote. He said his final decision came down to a choice between Connecticut and Coastal Carolina.

“It was tough to say no to Connecticut because I had a real close relationship with their recruiting coordinator, Justin Blood,” Cote said. “He came to more than half my games last year.

“At the same time Coastal Carolina was a better fit. It allows me to get out of the Northeast. I don’t like the cold weather.”

Cote’s father Scott said the fact that Cote could golf year-round at Coastal Carolina may have been a factor in his college decision as well.

“I think what made the decision easier for Jordan is that Coastal Carolina is a baseball school,” Scott said. “A school like Connecticut is known more for basketball.”

Cote may never throw a pitch in college, since Scott said his son’s preference is to turn professional this summer. According to Scott, the Cote family has established a dollar figure that will determine whether his son goes to college or begins working for a living this year.

“Money is definitely the No. 1 factor,” Cote said. “I wish baseball could always be for fun, but that’s not the way it is. “

MLB Draft Watch: Breaking down the locals

June, 5, 2011
6/05/11
2:48
PM ET
Between the gifted arms of Lawrence Academy's Tyler Beede, St. John's Prep's Pat Connaughton, Lincoln-Sudbury's Adam Ravenelle and Dexter's John Magliozzi, we have an unusually high amount of high school players in the New England region who could see their names getting called in the Major League Baseball Draft, which starts with the first round Monday night.

At the beginning of the high school season, I caught up with an American League scout who projected eight high schoolers that could see their names called. But with BB&N's Andrew Chin on the shelf with Tommy John surgery, and the play of Dexter's Barrett O'Neill and BB&N's Devin Perry dipping a bit, the number of bona fide locks has decreased.

Still, the projections at the top haven't budged, and it starts with Beede, a 6-foot-4 righthander from Auburn who could become the first high schooler from Massachusetts taken in the first round since Peabody High's Jeff Allison in 2003.

"Obviously, the most notable is Beede," said Red Sox Director of Amateur Scouting Amiel Sawdaye, at the club's pre-draft press conference last Wednesday at Fenway Park. "Excellent pitcher, guy we’ve scouted for a long time, we’ve gotten the chance to see him over the summer, seen him this year. Even some of the other guys -- Connaughton, Magliozzi, Ravenelle -- all good athletes signed to good schools, good students, good kids.

"And that’s exciting. To be able to go to the local games and see those guys pitch, it’s exciting for us. You get home games. We normally don’t get those until the Cape [League]."

Traditionally it's been pitchers getting selected out of the local high schools over the years, so it's no surprise that all of the names being thrown around are 90-mile per hour fireballers. And while this year's class has an abundance of players with prototypical pitcher's builds, they also come on the draft market perceivably fresher, what with the limited amount of time playing outdoors.

"We talk about cold weather kids. You know, sometimes they don’t hit their stride until, a lot of times, the summer," Sawday said. "So, you blink and another team takes a player from the Midwest, Northeast, different region where it’s a cold weather region, and the kid’s throwing 94, 95, where in the spring he was throwing 92.

"It gives us an advantage to be able to go watch those kids progress, and I think the other thing is the proximity of being around these guys and being able to see them get better year after year, see how they take off. As a junior, they’re taking off in the summer. As a senior, they’re taking off in the summer. And yeah, I think you can look at it as an advantage."

Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein echoed similar comments, noting the desire of northeast kids playing in a smaller period of warm weather, as well as the easier projections.

"Guys around here, their best baseball is yet to come," Epstein said. "They don’t get out on the field until April sometimes, with the snow on the ground, and you can project these guys going forward. I think makeup is good too. You have to go to baseball here. Compared to California, Texas, Florida, where it’s there 365 days of the year, here you’ve got a short window to play, and you’ve got to relish the opportunity and make the most of it. It’s easy to project off these kids in the northeast."

Added Sawdaye, "We were just watching video of a kid throwing in the snow, so that tells you what some of these kids go through."

I revisited with scouts again late last week, for their thoughts on the top prospects in the area. Below are the scouting reports and projections on seven New Englanders you will definitely see coming across the ticker.

Tyler Beede, RHP, Lawrence Academy
Hometown: Auburn, Mass.
Height: 6-foot-4
Weight: 205 lbs
Bats: Right
College: Vanderbilt
Scout’s Take: “I’d say Tyler has basically done everything the scouts and pro evaluators have asked him to do, repeating his delivery, a breaking ball that’s consistent with your average major league pitch. He’s shown velocity they’ve been looking for. His last start, he was consistently hitting 93 to 95. All the intangibles are there. I think that’s as good of a prospect we’ve had in a long time in New England."
Projection: Late first round to Sandwich A. (“That’s assuming signability doesn’t get in the way,” said the scout. “He’s going to be a pricey pick, but I think there are teams willing to go that route.)

Pat Connaughton, RHP, St. John’s Prep
Hometown: Arlington, Mass.
Height: 6-foot-4
Weight: 190 lbs
Bats: Right
College: Notre Dame (baseball and basketball)
Scout’s Take: “He's been one of the most intriguing prospects of the spring. His velocity has been anywhere from 90 to 94 every outing, a real plus fastball at times with late life on it, which you certainly– can’t teach. His arm is as loose as anyone’s. The only question right now if he puts enough time into his delivery where the off-speed catches up to his fastball. The hardest part of signing him is going to be getting him away from his passion for playing basketball. It looks like he wants to compete for a pro team that will allow him to do that as well.”
Projection: First five rounds.

John Magliozzi, RHP, Dexter
Hometown: Milton, Mass.
Height: 5-foot-10
Weight: 180 lbs
Bats: Right
College: Florida
Scout’s Take: “Johnny’s been a little inconsistent with his velocity, and that’s led people to press questions about whether that frame is going to be durable over the long haul. His velocity has taken a step back, it’s been in the 87-90 range where people might have expected 92 to 94. Whether that’s reasonable or not, that’s what these guys are looking for. He’s shown signs that he’s going to compete for you, but they need to see that prominent velocity from a frame like that.”
Projection: First 10 rounds.

Adam Ravenelle, RHP Lincoln-Sudbury
Hometown: Sudbury, Mass.
Height: 6-foot-4
Weight: 185 lbs
Bats: Right
College: Vanderbilt
Scout’s Take: “Ravenelle may have taken the biggest step forward of anyone this spring. Critics questioned his ability to repeat his delivery, but his fastball consistently comes over the plate with a good angle. People wonder when he would decide on an arm slot, but he’s done a tremendous job on keeping to a low three-quarter slot and remaining on top of the ball. He’s also shown he's able to throw that breaking ball for strikes consistently, which hasn't always been the case. The best part about him is he has matured from a mental standpoint. He attacks the game now as a pitcher and not just a thrower by working efficiently with his pitch counts to get outs early in the game without trying to strike everyone out.”
Projection: First 20 rounds. (“He’s a potential top-five talent, but everyone’s sold on the idea that he’s going to end up at Vanderbilt,” the scout said.)

Jordan Cote, RHP, Winnisquam Regional (N.H.)
Hometown: Sanbornton, N.H.
Height: 6-foot-6
Weight: 215 lbs
Bats: Right
College: Coastal Carolina
Scout’s Take: “He’s the one that’s been climbing the most. I’d say Cote was one that was kind of a sleeper early in the season. People had to wait and see what you get out of him, being in a Northern climate, playing on 35-degree days more so than Mass kids. Early on, he struggled, was hitting 87-88, then over the last two or three weeks, as the weather warmed up he found his groove. He’s really climbed into the upper echelon of high school prospects. You look at that frame, 6-6, 215, and there’s a lot of projectability. You could see him filling out to 240, and see that fastball velocity increase because of the hand speed he demonstrates."
Projection: First five rounds.

John Gorman, RHP/3B, Catholic Memorial
Hometown: Norwood, Mass.
Height: 6-foot-2
Weight: 215 lbs
Bats: Right
College: Boston College
Scout’s Take: “He’s still in the mix, guys mostly look at him as being a college guy. But, he will step in regardless and be one of the best players on the BC squad when he gets there…. He’s an interesting one. He’s one of the guys people talked about earlier in the year being a bulldog, and one of the best high school kids around. He’s obviously lived up to that being named Gatorade Player of the Year in a year full of big names. He’ll likely see time in college as a corner infielder and a pitcher. I think that over the next two or three years, he’s going to have a lot of success at the college level. His fastball velocity can climb into the 91-92 range, and he can throw his off-speed consistently into the strike zone. I’d imagine his name being called on draft day, as he deserves it.”
Projection: First 20 rounds.

Sal Romano, RHP, Southington (Conn.)
Hometown: Southington, Conn.
Height: 6-foot-4
Weight: 220 lbs
Bats: Right
College: Tennessee
Scout’s Take: "Sal'’s another one of those big body high school kids we’ve been blessed with this year. His delivery has some work to do, but he’s shown great velocity on his fastball, up to 93. The feel for the spin on his breaking ball is advanced for his age. His signability demands may push him down in the draft this year, but he’s definitely one to follow."
Projection: Top 10 rounds.
The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with ESPN RISE, today announced John Gorman of Catholic Memorial School as its 2010-11 Gatorade Massachusetts Baseball Player of the Year. Gorman is the first Gatorade Massachusetts Baseball Player of the Year to be chosen from Catholic Memorial School.

The 6-foot-2, 215-pound senior right-handed pitcher has led the Knights to a 13-6 record and a berth in the Division 1 sectional tournament, scheduled to begin May 31. At the time of his selection, Gorman owned a 6-1 record on the mound with a 0.14 ERA and 72 strikeouts in 51 innings. A two-time returning All-Scholastic honoree, he had tossed four shutouts and surrendered only 17 hits entering the postseason. Also a third baseman, Gorman batted .362 with 13 runs scored, 11 RBI, four doubles and one home run through 19 games. The 2010 Catholic Conference Most Valuable Player, he finished 8-0 as a junior with a 1.18 ERA and 113 strikeouts in 65 innings in addition to posting a .395 batting average with 25 RBI and three homers.

Also a football standout, Gorman has maintained an A-plus average in the classroom and represents one of the state’s top academic candidates in meeting the Gatorade Award’s broad criteria. In addition to volunteering on behalf of the National Honor Society, Students Against Destructive Decisions and his school’s Leadership and Service program, he has helped coordinate Catholic Memorial’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk and has donated his time as a youth baseball and basketball instructor.

“He’s been phenomenal this year, especially pitching,” said Catholic Memorial head coach Hal Carey. “He’s been dominant on the mound. He works fast, throws hard and has great control of his fastball, change and curve. As a pitcher, he’s one of the best in the state. Add the hitting, and he’s tremendous. He’s done it for four years, and this is a tough sport to be that consistent. He’s great all-around, probably the best in my seven years here.”

Gorman has signed a National Letter of Intent to play baseball on scholarship at Boston College this fall.

Gorman joins recent Gatorade Massachusetts Baseball Players of the Year Kevin Ziomek (2009-10, Amherst Regional), Kyle McKenzie (2008-09; Thayer Academy), Scott Weismann (2007-08, Acton-Boxborough), and Jack McGeary (2006-07, Roxbury Latin School), among the state’s list of former award winners.

Here are the winners for the five other New England states:

CONNECTICUT: SAL ROMANO, SOUTHINGTON

The 6-foot-4, 220-pound senior right-handed pitcher led the Blue Knights (15-5) to a berth in the Class LL postseason tournament, scheduled to begin May 31. At the time of his selection, Romano owned an 8-1 record on the mound with a 0.39 ERA, recording 91 strikeouts and just 11 walks in 54 innings pitched. A Rawlings/Perfect Game Preseason High School Senior All-Region First Team selection, he batted .444 with two home runs and 24 RBI through 20 games.

Romano has maintained an A-minus average in the classroom. He has volunteered locally on behalf of a mentoring program at an elementary school and the Mill Foundation for Kids, which benefits children suffering pediatric illnesses.

Romano has signed a National Letter of Intent to play baseball on scholarship at the University of Tennessee this fall.

Romano joins recent Gatorade Connecticut Baseball Players of the Year Colin O'Keefe (2009-10, Waterford), Matt Carasiti (2008-09; Berlin), Jason Esposito (2007-08, Amity), and Matt Harvey (2006-07, Fitch), among the state’s list of former award winners.

NEW HAMPSHIRE: JORDAN COTE, WINNISQUAM REGIONAL

The 6-foot-5, 215-pound senior right-handed pitcher has led the Bears (13-4) to a berth in the Div. III postseason tournament against Stevens High, scheduled for June 2. Cote owns a 5-1 record on the mound with a 0.73 ERA, recording 72 strikeouts against just six walks in 38.1 innings. A three-time All-State selection, he owns a .480 batting average with three home runs and 24 RBI. Cote was the Class M Player of the Year in 2010 and was a Rawlings/Perfect Game Preseason High School Senior All-Region First Team honoree.

Cote has maintained a B average in the classroom. He has volunteered locally on behalf of youth baseball programs and an area nursing home.

Cote has signed a National Letter of Intent to play baseball on scholarship at Coastal Carolina University this fall, but is projected as an early round selection in this month’s Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.

Cote joins recent Gatorade New Hampshire Baseball Players of the Year Mike Montville (2009-10, 2008-09, Portsmouth), Brad Zapenas (2007-08, Nashua North), and Brian White (2006-07, Salem), among the state’s list of former award winners.

RHODE ISLAND: HARRISON BARLOW, SOUTH KINGSTOWN

The 6-foot-1, 165-pound senior shortstop batted .479 along with 36 runs scored, 20 stolen bases, 14 RBI and seven doubles this past season, leading the Rebels (16-8) to a berth in the Division I state tournament. A returning First Team All-State selection, Barlow produced a .630 slugging percentage and .578 on-base percentage. Also a right-handed pitcher, Barlow posted a 1.77 ERA and 15 strikeouts against just one walk in 17.1 innings. The two-time Division I South Player of the Year, he finished with a .500 batting average at the plate in addition to a 1.99 ERA over 25 innings on the mound as a junior.

Barlow has maintained a 3.44 GPA in the classroom. In addition to donating his time as a youth baseball instructor, he has volunteered as part of the Vacation Bible School on behalf of his church community.

“He’s a great ballplayer,” said South Kingstown head coach James Sauro. “He’s by far the best shortstop and one of the best pitchers in the state. For two years, he’s been the Most Outstanding Player in the league, and three of the final four teams remaining are from Division I South. Harrison’s a stud. We only had one captain this year, and it was him. Whenever things went wrong, he kept guys on task. He’s a great leader.”

Barlow will attend the University of Rhode Island this fall.

Barlow joins recent Gatorade Rhode Island Baseball Players of the Year Anthony Aceto (2009-10, North Providence), Ryan Morris (2008-09; North Kingstown), Ryan Westmoreland (2007-08, 2006-07, Portsmouth), among the state’s list of former award winners.

MAINE: SCOTT HEATH, WESTBROOK

The 5-foot-11, 190-pound senior left-handed pitcher led the Blazes to a 14-1 record entering their regular-season finale with Cheverus, scheduled for May 31. At the time of his selection, Heath owned a 5-0 mark on the mound with a 0.00 ERA, recording 41 strikeouts in 32 innings pitched. A two-time All-State selection and the 2010 Telegram League MVP, he batted .390 with 18 RBI through 15 games.

Heath has maintained an A-minus average in the classroom. A devoted member of his church community, he has volunteered as a peer mentor in his school.

Heath has signed a National Letter of Intent to play baseball on scholarship at the University of Maine this fall.

Heath joins recent Gatorade Maine Baseball Players of the Year Matt Verrier (2009-10, Oxford Hills Comprehensive), Chris Bernard (2008-09; Scarborough), Kyle Stilphen (2007-08, Gardiner Area), and Jarrett Lukas (2006-07, Old Town), among the state’s list of former award winners.

VERMONT: NICK SWIM, BELLOWS FREE ACADEMY

The 5-foot-11, 185-pound senior shortstop led the Bobwhites to a 12-3 record and a berth in the Div. I postseason tournament, scheduled to begin May 31. At the time of his selection, Swim owned a .558 batting average with two home runs, 21 runs scored and 21 RBI. He’s a three-time All-Metro selection.

Swim has maintained a 3.45 GPA in the classroom. A member of his school’s Athletic Leadership Council, he has volunteered locally on behalf of youth sports programs. He also has donated his time by mowing lawns and shoveling snow for elderly residents in his neighborhood.

Swim intends to complete a year of post-graduate study at Maine’s Bridgton Academy, beginning this fall.

Swim joins recent Gatorade Vermont Baseball Players of the Year Adam Picard (2009-10, Essex), Ryan Carter (2008-09; Proctor), Greg Lutton (2007-08, Mt. Abraham Union), and Casey Harman (2006-07, South Burlington), among the state’s list of former award winners.

New England Roundup: New Hampshire

April, 13, 2011
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There was a time when, before the season's first face-off, predicting the champion in Granite State boys' lacrosse was a pointless exercise.

New HampshireEven in the preseason, Pinkerton Academy always had the crown locked up.

The Derry program's rich lacrosse history dates back decades, well before the NHIAA sanctioned the sport in 1994.

Coach Brian O'Reilly – who began his 30th season April 12 with a 400-122 career record – led his Astros to the first four NHIAA titles from 1994-97. O'Reilly & Co. won eight of the first nine championships through the 2002 campaign.

But in the eight seasons since that time, the Astros have won just one title (2006). They last played for the Division I championship in 2008.

“We need to get back to where we were. That's been taken from us the last several years in lacrosse,” O'Reilly said. “We're not the defending champions. We haven't been the defending champions in a while.”

Yet the Astros are this spring's preseason favorite. They narrowly edge Nashua's Bishop Guertin High, the defending champ that's appeared in six consecutive league finals and won three titles since 2005.

It's unknown whether the Cardinals consider their preseason position a slight. But this much is clear: Depth in Division I is lacking this spring. Pinkerton and BG are the runaway favorites to clash for the championship in June.

“I doubt anybody is talking about us as a top team right now, which is fine by us. It gives us a little more incentive to work hard and be there at the end of the year,” said Exeter High coach Gerry Holly, whose reigning runner-up Blue Hawks rank behind Hanover High, the third-best club exiting the preseason.

Several teams, starting with Exeter, were senior-laden a year ago. Pinkerton was an exception. They boast experience, roster depth, speed, toughness and, perhaps most important, balance.

(Read full post)

Napolitano switches to Wake, Cote to CCU

August, 22, 2010
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When Mik Aoki left the head coaching position at Boston College a month ago to take the same position at Notre Dame, it left some of his 2011 commitments at a crossroads.

BB&N's Andrew Chin staunchly stuck by his verbal to BC. But Lawrence Academy righthander Joe Napolitano -- who committed to the Eagles as a sophomore -- talked things over with his family and decided to de-commit and look at his options once more.

Napolitano, a 6-foot-3 senior from Hollis, N.H., took a visit to Wake Forest a week ago. This weekend, he's been down at the World Woodbat Association Baseball Heaven showcase in Yaphank, N.Y.; last night at 9 p.m., while out at dinner with family and close friends in nearby Port Jefferson, N.Y., he decided to make the call to the Deacons staff and make his verbal commitment.

"Wake Forest came along, UConn came along, and those were my top two choices the last few weeks," Napolitano said. "Wake Forest seems like a prestigious school. I was impressed by how well the academics are and how they're meshed into the athletics program. It's a good fit for me, I really like it alot."

Any regrets?

"I guess," Napolitano said. "I had a year to kind of dwell on it, the BC lifestyle...as a child growing up in New England, you look at Boston College as the place to go, it's the hometown school. BC and Wake Forest were two dreams schools for me growing up. I guess there's some regret, but I'm in great situation at Wake Forest. It was a turn for the better."

Meanwhile, one of the most dominant pitchers in the state of New Hampshire will be taking his exploits to another big time program in the fall of 2011. Jordan Cote, a 6-foot-4 righthander from Winnisquam (N.H.) Regional, made a verbal commitment to Coastal Carolina University late in the week. He chose the Chanticleers over offers from Vanderbilt, UConn and Central Florida.

"I liked the atmosphere when I went down there," Cote said. "I like where the school's located. It's a really big baseball school, not like the other schools, where football or basketball come first. I liked the coaches, it was a real friendly atmosphere when I was down there."

Cote is known most around the Granite State for delivering the Tilton-based school its first Class M championship in school history with a no-hitter in the state final, a 2-0 win over Somersworth. Cote went 11-0 this year for the Bears, with a 0.66 ERA, 113 strikeouts in 63 innings, and just 17 walks. So far in his career at Winnisquam, he is 25-1 with a 0.96 ERA, 229 strikeouts in 168 innings pitches, and 52 walks. His fastball currently tops out at 93 miles per hour.

He'll be a welcoming addition a Chanticleers squad that was the No. 4 overall seed in this year's NCAA tournament, making it all the way to the Super Regional on their Myrtle Beach, S.C. campus before bowing out to eventual national champion South Carolina.

Locals shine at World Woodbat

July, 20, 2010
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First came the news that Tyler Beede would be playing in next month’s prestigious Aflac All-American Game at Petco Park. ("I was shocked," he said this past weekend.) This week in East Cobb, Ga., the good times continue to roll.

Beede, an Auburn, Mass., resident, was a key component to the Virginia Canes 16-and-under squad capturing its second straight World Woodbat Association national title Monday. The Canes, one of several teams loaded with Division 1 commits, plated 10 runs in both their semifinal win over the Houston Banditos (10-5) and championship final victory over the Carolina Cubs (10-4).

"It's tremendous," said Beede, who was also on last year's squad. (His birthdate, May 23, allowed him to just make the cut even though he's 17.) "Thankfully, we got back to the same place and ended up winning again. It's a special thing, not many guys can say they've won a national championship, let alone two."

Armed with a fastball that’s topped out at 94 miles per hour and a sharp 12-to-6 curve, the Vanderbilt-bound right-hander was dominant over the 10 days he traveled with the team. In 13 innings, he struck out 22 batters while walking just two, and allowed two runs and six hits.

Massachusetts’ other representative next month at Petco, Dexter School’s John Magliozzi, is another continuing to do good on his hype this summer. Suiting up for the East Cobb (Ga.) Braves along with high school teammate Barrett O’Neill (an Ashland, Mass., resident who has committed to Virginia), he also participated in the national title game.

After some fine-tuning of his mechanics following the high school season, the Florida-bound Magliozzi has seen his velocity come along well, reportedly hitting as high as 96 on his fastball.

"I felt like I was on top of the world," Magliozzi said of his All-American selection.

As for Petco, it will be Magliozzi’s fifth trip to a major-league ballpark, having stepped on the field for games at Fenway Park, Tropicana Field and the Metrodome. He’ll be at Yankee Stadium on July 27 for a workout. The mystique, though, never gets old.

"It’s just nuts, how amazing those places are,” Magliozzi said. “The atmosphere must be crazy with that place full. There’s going to be a lot of people there [in San Diego], and it’s going be awesome to play there with all of the best players."

The other big showing in the WWBA tournament was the surprise run by the New England Ruffnecks’ 17U squad, which advanced all the way to the final 16 last week before losing 2-1 to the Miami-based All-American Prospects, who hadn’t given up a run all tournament.

All week long, the Ruffnecks got solid work from their starting rotation, including Catholic Memorial’s John Gorman, Winnisquam (N.H.) Regional’s Jordan Cote, Tewksbury’s Matt Luppi, and Lincoln-Sudbury’s Carl Anderson and Adam Ravenelle. David St. Lawrence of Pomfret (Conn.) performed well in the closer role, while A.J. Zarozny of St. John’s (Shrewsbury) was solid out of the lead-off spot.

But the play everyone will be talking about is Lincoln-Sudbury’s Ben Smith chasing down a foul ball, going airborne, crashing over a brick wall -- and holding on for the out.

"I didn’t think he had shot at making it, then all of a sudden he’s tailed over the fence,” Walsh said. “It was pretty awesome to see, sacrificing his body for the team."

And if the way guys like Beede, Magliozzi and O’Neill have performed this summer isn’t convincing enough, the Ruffnecks are hoping a showing like this raises the profile of baseball in the Northeast.

"Judging by what people were telling us after that, no Northeast team had ever advanced as far," head coach Greg Brookes said. "I think if we weren’t on the map before, we’re on the map now. Some of those Southern teams admitted to us, when they see a Northeast team on their schedule they think they’re going to walk all over us. I think we changed the thinking of some of the Southern teams."

"Nobody’s really going to sleep on the Northeast anymore," said Anderson. "It just kind of puts us out there, everyone knows we’re competing now. They’ve still got to get ready for us. It’s not just another team from the Northeast."

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