One Terrific Trio
Three Pitchers in the MAPL Conference
Should Make a Huge Buzz in 2008
by Joe Nardini
On Monday June 4, 2001, the county of Mercer was buzzing: a pair of Steinert High School pitchers, Chris Neylan and Matt Sweeney, were taken in the First Year Major League Baseball Draft. Neylan, a 6’6 righty, was taken in the 17th round by the Toronto Blue Jays, and fellow pitcher Matt Sweeney, a 6’2 righty fireballer, was taken in the 11th round by the Philadelphia Phillies. And also to Mercer’s liking, Michael Rogers, ace of the Steinert staff, signed a National Letter of Intent to North Carolina State. These three pitchers shined, and baseball fans throughout the county were thrilled to see such local success. It was hard at the time to envision a better trio ever appearing again in Mercer County, but in the spring of 2008, it is quite possible that a set of three pitchers could match up with their stature.
Seven years after that dynamite draft, a new trio has emerged, perhaps even better than the three who preceded them, depending, of course, upon the outcome of their respective senior year seasons. But this time, the three pitchers do not hail from the same school. Instead, they came from rival schools: Lawrenceville and Hun.
Tom Tesauro, a 6’3 185 lb. right hander from Lawrenceville, has committed to Villanova, and plans to attend the Villanova School of Business.
"Villanova had exactly what I was looking for in a university," he said of his decision. "In addition to the Big East being one of the best conferences in the country for baseball, I will be majoring in Finance."
Tesauro highlights a Villanova recruiting class that is considered to be among the best in the country by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper. He is also considered to be one of the top pitchers in the East according to Rivals.com. Last summer, he compiled a 5-0 record, along with a 0.52 ERA, and 63 strikeouts in 34 innings, and touched 91 mph with his fastball during the Don Mattingly World Series in Flemington, NJ. Along with David Putman and Michael Russo, Tesauro has been tabbed as a Group 3 draft choice according to Perfect Game Baseball, which predicts the trio to be drafted between rounds eleven and twenty five.
Reigning from the 2007 Prep A State Champion Hun School of Princeton are both Michael Russo and David Putman. Russo is a 6’6 205 lb. right handed pitcher from Hamilton Square, and has committed to North Carolina State, similar to fellow Hamiltonian Michael Rogers. According to N.C. State recruiting coordinator and pitching coach Tom Holliday, “Russo has a great power arm with lots of upside for the future. He has a big body and pitches at 90 mph easily. He has the potential to contribute immediately.”
Russo does indeed have a great power arm. After being selected as the Star Ledger Prep Player of the Year, Russo saw his fastball reach 93 mph during the championship game last spring against Lawrenceville. He went 6-1 with a 0.94 ERA, 57 strikeouts and 14 walks in 50 innings as a junior in 2007, and hit .470 with seven home runs and a school-record 42 RBIs. Both Russo and Tesauro attended East Coast Professional Showcase in Lakeland, FL last August.
In addition to Russo is 6’1”, 215 lb. Hun Raider David Putman, who resides in Doylestown, PA. Putman has signed with Duke, and has been quite a surprise this summer. Although Putman missed the majority of his junior season with an injury, he was able to post a 7-1 record with a 1.92 ERA and 75 strikeouts in 68 innings over the summer. David attended the 2007 Perfect Game National Showcase along with Tesauro in Cincinnati. His fastball reached 90 mph there, and he certainly wowed many with his sharp curveball. Perfect Game described him “as a 2008 RHP with a 6'2'', 200 lb. frame from Doylestown, PA who attends Hun School. Square shoulders, stocky non-projectable build. Long arm from high 3/4's release, balanced delivery, FB 87-90 mph. Best pitch is sharp/tight 77 mph CB, plus 2 plane break. Throws strikes, has a polished approach. Good student.”
Russo, Tesauro, and Putman all have the ability to do some serious damage in the MAPL this year. It should be fun to watch each one of them perform this year, and even better to see the rivalry between Hun and Lawrenceville early this spring.
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