Baseball – Shore Trio Selected on Day 3 of MLB Draft
The first 17 rounds of the 2017 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft came and went without a Shore Conference player or alumnus hearing his name called and within a span of 29 picks, three former Shore Conference pitchers got the call every baseball player hopes to hear.
Shane McCarthy, Chris Morris and Ron Marinaccio were all selected on the third and final day the MLB Draft - all going between picks 544 and 572.
McCarthy and Morris are teammates at Seton Hall and both were selected in the 18th round. McCarthy went first to the St. Louis Cardinals at 544 overall and Morris was selected 10 picks later by the Texas Rangers.
Marinaccio was selected out of the University of Delaware in the 19th round by the New York Yankees with the No. 572nd overall selection.
McCarthy graduated from Rumson-Fair Haven in 2014 and just completed his junior year for the Pirates. The right-hander struggled during the 2017 season (3-7, 5.13 ERA, 21 walks, 46 strikeouts in 59 2/3 innings), but his excellent work as a freshman in 2015 and again as a sophomore in 2016 put him on the draft radar. He led the Big East in ERA in each of his first two collegiate seasons and was named a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American in 2015 and a First-Team All-Big East member in 2016.
The highlight of McCarthy's collegiate career came on April 15, 2016, when he pitched the first perfect game in Seton Hall history. McCarthy struck out eight in the Pirates' 10-0 win over LIU-Brooklyn and accomplished the feat with catcher Mike Alescio - a Red Bank Catholic alumnus.
McCarthy was one half of a dynamic one-two punch for Rumson in 2014 along with fellow right-hander Morgan Maguire, who is one class behind McCarthy and currently playing at Old Dominion. The Bulldogs reached the final of the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group II section in 2014. As a senior, McCarthy finished fourth in the Shore Conference with 79 strikeouts behind Luca Dalatri, Jason Groome and current Rowan junior and former Jackson Liberty hurler Dan Serreino. He also led the Shore Conference in strikeout-to-walk ratio that season (79 strikeouts, seven walks) and was a Shore Sports Network All-Shore second-team selection.
Morris played shortstop and pitched on St. John Vianney's 2014 NJSIAA Non-Public A championship team that also finished No. 1 in the state. He started nine games on the mound for the Pirates this season and pitched to a 3.57 ERA and struck out 44 in 40 1/3 innings. Morris allowed only 28 hits in those innings, although he did walk 37.
As a senior in 2014, Morris was limited to 21 innings and went 3-0 with a 3.00 ERA and 27 strikeouts to 12 walks. At the plate, he hit .376/.461/.471 with five doubles, a home run, 21 runs scored and 13 RBI for the Lancers.
Marinaccio enjoyed a breakout campaign as a red-shirt junior this season with the Blue Hens, who reached the NCAA Regional Tournament after winning the Colonial Athletic Association. After starting the season in the bullpen, Marinaccio locked up the closer job early on before moving into the rotation. He led the team in ERA (2.08), strikeouts (68) and opponent's batting average (.195) while going 4-3.
In the first game of the CAA Tournament, Marinaccio pitched a two-hit shutout against the College of Charleston with just one walk and five strikeouts. In his final start of the season, Marinaccio allowed three runs on four hits in 6 1/3 innings against a Texas Tech team that is currently ranked No. 5 in the country, according to D1Baseball.com.
As a Mariner in 2013, Marinaccio was electric on the mound in his final year of high school ball. He pitched to a 0.77 ERA over 36 1/3 innings while allowing just 22 hits, striking out 50 and walking 14 for a Toms River North team that won the Ocean County and Shore Conference Tournament championships. Marinaccio also hit .343 with 17 runs scored and 12 RBI as a senior at Toms River North.
Marinaccio's college career got off on the wrong foot due to a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow that required Tommy John Surgery and cost him the 2014 season. He returned as a red-shirt freshman in 2015 and was named to the CAA All-Freshman Team after sporting a 4.11 ERA over 61 1/3 innings.
He began his sophomore season as the Blue Hens' No. 1 starter and took a sub-3.00 ERA into April, but finished with an an ERA of 5.18 in 81 2/3 innings. Marinaccio began his junior campaign in the bullpen and once he slid back into the rotation, he performed as the team's best pitcher.
Marinaccio, McCarthy and Morris are all eligible to return to play college baseball next year if they can not work out a deal with their respective teams.