A Latino from the Bronx is projected to be a top draft pick next week when Major League Baseball conducts their annual amateur draft that has been revised from the standard 40 rounds to eight.
“Alex Santos is one of the Top high school players In the nation.”
Comment from a high ranking NL baseball official who monitors every prospect and words about Alex Santos. The Mount St, Michael Academy senior from the Bronx is expected to hear his name called next Wednesday night in the first few rounds of the annual Major League Baseball draft.
And at the age of 18, and listed at 6’3″, 185-pounds, as one scout said about the right-hander, “His fastball tops 95. Looks like a stud with nice fade and drop change.”
Another scout said, “He knows how to attack the zone.”
“Out pitch is the curve ball,” Santos said from his parents home that is blocks away from his school. “Probably the changeup one of the longest pitches I’ve been able to fix over the years.”
He said about the changeup, “Have good trust in it. It’s late and sharp.”
That’s one of five pitches he throws that includes a two-seamer and slider. That means Alex Santos has good mound presence. At his age, of course, there is still more to learn and he accepts that.
Major League Baseball will conduct their annual amateur draft next Wednesday and Thursday evenings in prime time, The draft, revised from 40 rounds to five, will be televised live on ESPN and the MLB Network.
The Coronavirus pandemic has changed the normal and the draft this year is different. It will be conducted via remotes as teams make their selections, and Instead of thousands getting a call from a Major League team there will be an estimated hundred.
Santos, after getting the anticipated call, has a decision. If the money is right the pro career will begin, though with baseball in a holding pattern there is no telling where this will go.
However, the backup plan is remain property of a team that selects him as one of the few. Santos, can fulfill a commitment of a four year scholarship to play ball and study at the University of Maryland.
The draft will proceed, though baseball will conduct business with the game on hold. Players and owners are no closer to an agreement as to how or when the first game will be played.
Alex Santos, though, he continues to workout on a daily basis. The high school spring season was cancelled, so he has not been on the mound and pitching to active hitters with exception of a few games in the Fall season.
About that anticipation and his name to be one of those few that get the call Wednesday night?
“It means I’ve put all the hard work in, stood to the ground of baseball,” he said. “Just I accomplished what I needed to accomplish through hard work and passion for baseball.”
Santos would be one of those rare players drafted from New York City. Baseball has gone in another direction in evaluation of talent from this area. Scouts tend to place more emphasis on prospects in warm weather areas of the country where baseball is played often.
The south, southwest, and west coast have seen a predominant number of selections come out of the draft the past five years. Also, the focus and concentration has been on international players from Latin nations and elsewhere.
Yes, the game has changed. Though, Alex Santos, a Latino from the Bronx, would be the first and top selected draft pick from the New York area since the days of Manny Ramirez.
Ramirez, the power hitter and Washington Heights kid from the Dominican Republic, was drafted as a first round pick by the Cleveland Indians out of George Washington High School in 1991.
Bobby Bonilla, Lehman HIgh School in the Bronx, had the talent but was bypassed in the draft. Instead, a scout with the Pirates signed him after watching his power and ability at a baseball camp in Europe. Bonilla would eventually play with the Mets, and at the time signed the highest paid contract in the National League at 5-years and $29 million.
Recently there have been others, though, not first rounders. T.J. Rivera (Lehman- Mets) and Johnny Monell (Columbus High School, Bronx) a 27th round pick of the San Francisco Giants in 2005 who later played for the Mets.
And there is that passion for baseball and being that potential draft pick from the Bronx.
“There is a lot of good talent here,” Santos said. “Mentality like working hard and having the passion for the sport to wake up eight in the morning and get your work done. Baseball is more than skill. It’s mental.”
That same scout said about Santos,” He is a good fit for the bullpen with that fastball and selection of pitches.”
Santos would not mind that role out of the pen. He admires Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals starter and Dellin Betences, Yankees 8th round draft pick, now with the Mets and one of the top bullpen artists in baseball from Washington Heights.
It’s been a high school career that included an 18-strikeout game. Santos played for a team that did not win many games last season and that economical pitcher that does not give up many runs.
He is destined to be the first Mount St Michael player drafted since Collin Mahoney in 2004. The others, James Rowso and Sammy Rodriquez in 1994.
“Always work hard and stay humble,” Santos says. “It will lead you to success.”
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