The Boston College baseball team announced its incoming class for the 2013-2014 season, extending invitations to seven players from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, and California.
Highlighting the list will be Mike King from Warwick, RI as the prized bull of the pitching staff. King went 11-0 with a 0.30 ERA during his senior year last year at Bishop Hendricken, helping the Hawks to their second consecutive state championship in South Massachusetts---er, Rhode Island. He was all-academic, all-city, all-division, and all-state as a junior and senior. He was Rhode Island Gatorade Player of the Year. And he was, ready yourselves -- a Louisville Slugger First Team All American! Get that man a spot in the starting rotation, and do it yesterday.
Joining King atop the list of recruits is Justin Dunn. Dunn was a 37th round draft choice by the Los Angeles Dodgers, and he's capable of both pitching and playing the infield. He was a Western New England Prep Baseball League First Team All Star and a Rawlings Perfect Game Preseason First-Team All-Region as a senior last year at the Gunnery Prep in Connecticut. At the Gunnery, he played for Jeff Trundy, currently the field manager of the Falmouth Commodores (despite a rogue general manager's attempt to can him for no reason last year). Trundy's been on the Cape for 17 years, and Dunn, a native of Freeport, NY, is bringing that experience with him to BC. Last year, he hit .413 with 20 RBI at the dish while going 4-2 with a 2.28 ERA and 74 K's over 40.1 IP on the bump. Mind...blown.
Michael Strem (Burlingame, CA) played for St. Francis High School (perhaps you remember them as being where Ty Crane played basketball in Coach Carter) and earned West Catholic Athletic League and Central Coast Section Player of the YEar Awards. He was the Bay Area Player of the Year, and both a Louisville Slugger and MaxPrep High School All-American Second Team selection. On the hill, he went 11-1 in 13 appearances with seven complete games, five shutouts, and a 1.30 ERA with 79 strikeouts over 80 innings. At the plate, he batted .417 with a .476 on base percentage and a .556 slugging percentage. And then there's that little thing he did when he threw a perfect game in the first round of the CCS Division I playoffs on 66 pitches.
In the field, we'll see a good chunk of Johnny Adam, out of nearby Walpole. We've featured Johnny as part of our summer ball series, completely neglecting to tell you that he actually wasn't an Eagle yet (#NewGuyProblems). Adams is hitting .302 for the Nashua Silver Knights in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League, following a career trajectory along the lines of Chris Shaw (who played in the FCBL out of high school before enrolling at BC as well). Adams was a three-time Bay State League First Team All Star, and he was a Second Team Rawlings All-Regional Northeast All Star selection in '13. He's hitting .304 with 34 RBI as part of the Silver Knights, and he was the Outstanding Male Athlete of the Year in Walpole last year.
Some of the other players BC are bringing in could have immediate impact. Bobby Skogsbergh missed the 2012 season due to Tommy John Surgery, but he went 4-1 with a 1.69 ERA and 37 strikeouts in his last full season at Hinsdale Central High School in Illinois last year. Before the start of the year, he was an honorable mention on the Rawlings Preseason All-American Team. Giggidy.
Kevin Connor (Bryn Mawr, PA) went 7-1 last year for Radnor High School with a 1.59 ERA and 70 strikeouts during his senior year in 2012. He allowed just 17 hist during that year and led his school to the AAA Division Playoffs as a senior. Last year, he spent a season at IMG Academy, which has produced MLB alumni such as Josh Hamilton, Joey Votto, Joe Mauer, Mark Buerhle, Vernon Wells, Adam Dunn, and Nomahhhhhhhhhhhh.
Rounding out the list of recruits is Nick "Don't Call Be Sandro" Sciortino. Sciortino can play both the infield and catch, and he was a four year starter at Haddon Heights. Out of Barrington, NJ, he earned multiple all-conference honors and helped his team to a conference championship in 2012. We're not sure if he can kick a field goal, but with a last name like that, maybe he can give Freese a run for his money?
On paper, this is an extremely strong recruiting class. In a couple of years, if everyone develops and is coached up properly (ahem), the front end of the rotation could potentially be ridiculous. Andrew Chin could combine with Strem and Dunn to become a pretty lethal 1-2-3 weekend rotation, and the lineup could be bolstered by guys who can get on base. BC's biggest issue last year was clearly pitching, and it would appear they've started to address the issue. I know I've called for Mike Gambino's job, as have the majority of us given the results of the last three years, but if it's going to turn around, it essentially has to happen this year. That said, a 10-win season won't be able to cut it this year, and the pressure's going to be on for these guys. 17-19 wins is not out of the question of expectations based on the recruiting class alone, which can only mean that it would put BC, in two years, back up to the 30-win plateau.
Welcome to the Heights, gentlemen! Hopefully there's light at the end of the dark ages of BC baseball!