Despite a season that ended with the team 12 games under .500, St. John’s saw five of its players picked in the 2013 MLB draft. This is the second consecutive year the school has seen five players drafted.
The Seattle Mariners selected freshman left-handed pitcher Ryan Horstman in the fourth round. The Oakland Athletics took senior right-handed pitcher James Lomangino in the 14th round.
The Kansas City royals selected first baseman and catcher Frank Schwindel in the 18th round. Senior left-handed pitcher Sean Hagan was taken by the Chicago White Sox in the 31st round, while senior catcher Danny Bethea went to the Boston Red Sox in the 34th round.
“We get some talented young men that we develop well,” said head coach Ed Blankmeyer. “We’re on the right track of getting guys that have skill and work hard enough to develop the skill in the program.”
Horstman pitched 65.2 innings for the Red Storm with a 2.33 ERA. He also received the Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American honors.
Horstman was forced to repeat his senior year at South Hadley High School due to academic reasons and then redshirted his freshman season with the Red Storm meaning that he was able to practice with the team and use the facilities without losing a year of eligibility.
Players often decide to redshirt their first season if upperclassmen occupy the position they play. For these reasons, Horstman is a rare example of a freshman being draft eligible.
Lomangino started 15 games for St. John’s posting a 2-6 record with a 3.79 ERA. A former closer, Lomangino compiled 85 strikeouts in just 90.1 innings pitched. His fastball sits between 92 and 94 mph.
Frank Schwindel started all 58 games for the Red Storm. Splitting his duties between catcher and first base, the 6’1” junior hit to the tune of a .349 batting average and added a team high five home runs. Schwindel slugged .502 and only struck out 17 times in 235 at-bats. Schwindel was selected to the all-Big East second team.
Lefty pitcher Sean Hagan was drafted last year by the Minnesota Twins in the 29th round, but decided to return to St. John’s to play his senior year. He struggled, however, posting a 5.16 earned run average in 90.2 innings. His ERA within the Big East was a more respectable 3.51.
Bethea had 28 RBI during the 2013 season with a .276 average and six stolen bases.
“The common factor is they have a skill or two that allows them to be attractive professionally and by their performance over the course of the year that skill played out and there was some interest professionally,” Blankmeyer said.
Hagan, Bethea, Horstman, and Schwindel signed with their respective clubs while Lomangino is leaning toward returning for his senior year.
The Red Storm have now seen 13 players drafted the past three seasons including the 29th overall pick in the 2011 draft Joe Panik and second round pick Jeremy Baltz in 2012.
“They had skill, they worked hard, and they performed,” Blankmeyer said.
Other nearby colleges sent players to the major leagues including LIU Brooklyn right-hander Justin Topa to the Pittsburgh Pirates in round 17 and Hofstra right-hander Bryan Verbitsky to the San Diego Padres in round three.
Cardozo High School senior Adrian Castano Jr. was drafted by the Detroit Tigers as the 786th overall pick. A 6’3” centerfielder, Castano was the first player this draft taken straight out of high school. Castano is now faced with the decision of signing with the Tigers or attending Division I Lamar University.