St. John’s University baseball Coach Ed Blankmeyer believes Ryan Horstman’s potential made him an attractive commodity to Major League Baseball scouts and he has only scratched the surface of it.
The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Red Storm lefty’s strong season and promise were enough to get him selected in the fourth round — 117th overall — by the Seattle Mariners in the MLB First-Year Player Draft last weekend.
Blankmeyer said Horstman intends to sign, with his slotted signing bonus of around $450,000. He thinks Seattle is getting a hardworking player with an upside.
“He’s got the physical body, he’s got all the ingredients,” Blankmeyer said. “Is he going to develop that secondary stuff? Because if he does he can be special.”
Horstman overcame obstacles to get to this point. Academic woes forced him to repeat his senior year at South Headley (Mass.) High School. He was ruled a partial academic qualifier his first season at St. John’s and red shirted, missing another year on the diamond.
This season he was the team’s top pitcher as a red-shirt freshman. He went 6-6 with a 2.33 ERA over 65 2/3 innings of work to lead the team in both categories. Horstman throws in the high 80s to low 90s and has improved the command of his fastball.
“Hard worker, very good athlete,” Blankmeyer said. “Tremendous physical condition.”
Horstman was one of five St. John’s players drafted, matching last year’s total and marking the third time in the six years they have reached that number. The Red Storm is coming off a down year, going 23-35 overall and 10-14 in the Big East.
James Lomangino was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 14th round but plans to return to the Red Storm next season. Frank Schwindel went to the Kansas City Royals in the 18th round and recently signed. Sean Hagan was selected by the Chicago White Sox in the 31st round and Danny Bethea was taken by the Boston Red Sox in the 34th round. Blankmeyer said both intend to sign.
Blankmeyer said the players SJU is getting have pro potential.
St. John’s wasn’t the only Queens school watching kids get drafted. The Detroit Tigers took Cardozo centerfielder Adrian Castano in the 26th round and the Toronto Blue Jays selected Holy Cross shortstop Andrew Florides in the 27th round.
Castano, who also has a full scholarship to Lamar University, isn’t sure if he will sign. He hit .514 and had a 633 on-base percentage while adding three triples and 17 stolen bases for the Judges during the regular season. His speed and arm made him an excellent centerfielder.
“It’s a dream come true,” Castano said.
Florides, who was committed to New York Tech, signed with the Blue Jays and was on his way to the airport June 11 to fly to Tampa. He expects to be sent to rookie ball in the Gulf Coast League. It’s been a whirlwind for Florides, who missed all of last season with a broken arm.
“I was surprised,” Florides said. “After a broken arm, coming back and getting drafted, that’s crazy.”
©2013 Community News Group
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