— Hartford Hawks (@HartfordHawks) June 6, 2014
University of Hartford lefthander and Middleborough native Sean Newcomb was selected 15th overall by the Los Angeles Angels tonight, in a historic night for pitchers from Massachusetts.
With Auburn native Tyler Beede getting taken 14th overall by the San Francisco Giants, this marks the first time two Massachusetts natives went back-to-back in the first round of the draft.
But while Beede was a golden boy -- he had a long list of high-major suitors, and was also taken 21st overall by the Blue Jays in 2011 -- Newcomb came up from a path less traveled. As a 6-foot-4 senior out of Middleborough High three years ago, with mid-80's velocity, Newcomb had just one Division 1 offer, from Hartford.
Now standing 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, Newcomb has hit 98 mph this spring, to go with three other plus pitches. Through the first half of the 2014 season, Newcomb led the nation with a 0.00 ERA -- including a no-hitter on March 29 -- not allowing an earned run until his seventh start of the year against Maine on April 6. His final start of the season -- a May 22 win over Binghamton -- might have been his best of the year, racking up a season-high 14 K’s and allowing just two hits.
By the end of the 2014 season, Newcomb re-wrote the history books at Hartford, becoming the first player in school history to amass 200 career strikeouts and first to be named Pitcher of the Year in the America East Conference. He finished eighth in the nation in ERA (1.25) and 20th in strikeouts (121).
"Six-foot-5 lefthanders who touch 98 and have four pitches don’t grow on trees," one National League scout told ESPNBoston.com earlier this week. "As far as what you look for and what you hope for, you don’t stumble on those guys very often, guys who have gone out and performed at a very high level, and have done it for a couple of years now. He’s proven that he’s deserving of taking the next step."
Said an American League scout, "He’s shown to have durability and easy motion. There are some things to correct going forward, but the effortless delivery with a lot of velocity without a lot of stress, along with a lot of spin on his breaking ball, he checks off a lot of boxes."