While all sports are canceled for the time being, Major League Baseball is still planning to hold its draft in June.
One player that is projected to be selected in the top 20 is local kid Alex Santos of Morrisania. Santos, 17, 6’3, 187 pounds, is a senior at Mt. St. Michael Academy, 4300 Murdock Ave and is a flamethrower. His fastball tops out at 95 mph, has a nasty slider and mixes in a changeup and two seam curveball. He also was a 2019 all American classic player.
Soon he will be living his dream; whether it’s playing for the University of Maryland, where he has already committed, or being a part of the big leagues. With a “bulldog” mentality, modeling himself after Cy Young winner Washington Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer and New York Mets hurler Marcus Stroman, he is ready for the next level.
“It’s amazing because I’ve worked my whole life to be able to do something like that,” Santos said.
Santos began playing baseball at age 5 and quickly knew he belonged on the diamond. His father Alex also played and the sport brought them closer.
Over the years they bonded over America’s pastime. Alex taught his son about hitting, fielding and mechanics. But, more importantly, Santos always worked hard and was dedicated to mastering his craft and improving his skills.
“I’ve always loved baseball,” Santos said. “Baseball was super fun for me.”
He started pitching at 10-years-old, but played other positions until this past season. Going into his junior year, scouts came to see him and he quickly realized he had a future on the mound.
According to Santos, he always had a strong arm. And with the help of his high school coach, Walter Stampfel, and trainer for many years, Melvin Perez, he learned how to dominate opposing batters, throw inside and control a game. In fact, he notched 18 strikeouts in a game last year.
Besides being a hard-nosed and feared pitcher, keeping his composure is a huge part of baseball, he explained. If he gives up a run or two, he knows he needs to buckle down and keep his head in the game, otherwise he’s done.
“Over the years I learned you have to hold down and battle,” he remarked.
When he first heard schools were looking at him it was a bit overwhelming, he recalled. After looking at a few colleges, he settled on Maryland. It helps that it’s only a few hours from home.
He noted his parents prefer for him to get a college education, but if his name is called in a couple months like many expect, he will have a tough choice to make.
With the draft a little more than two months away, he is ready and realizes his life will soon change in a big way. But the youngster isn’t nervous.
“I’m relaxed. I’m getting all my school work done,” Santos said.