Locals get call on Day Two – Lowell Sun


Monday was a banner day for Massachusetts baseball.

Highlighted by second-round picks Josh Baez and Steven Hajjar, five former Massachusetts high school standouts were selected in the 2021 Major League Baseball Draft on Monday afternoon.

In all, seven Massachusetts natives have now been selected over the first two days of the draft.

Baez was chosen shortly after the festivities began on Monday with the St. Louis Cardinals taking the Dexter Southfield center fielder and Vanderbilt commit with the 54th overall selection. Baez — who was considered a possibility to land in the first round — was the Massachusetts Gatorade Player of the Year this season. He drew the eyes of scouts with his power to all fields, athleticism, and linebacker-like build.

Hajjar, who starred as Central Catholic’s ace during its run to the Division 1A Super Eight finals and was the Massachusetts Gatorade Player of the Year in 2018, was selected 61st overall by the Minnesota Twins. The left-hander spent the last three years at Michigan improving on his fastball-slider combination. At the MLB Draft combine last week his fastball averaged 95.2 miles per hour.

“You could tell right away just how athletic Steven was — it was amazing for a pitcher,” Central Catholic coach John Sexton said. “He was efficient and overpowering. It was impressive right off the bat.”

Sean Burke’s performance earned him a third round selection by the Chicago White Sox. Burke was a flame throwing right-hander at St. John’s Shrewsbury. While the end of his high school career and his freshman year at the University of Maryland was erased due to Tommy John surgery, the six-foot-six, 235-pound Burke had a strong collegiate campaign this spring striking out 107 in 74.1 innings for the Terrapins.

“I’m really happy for him because he is just a tireless worker,” St. John’s coach Charlie Eppinger said. “You obviously can’t coach six-foot-six, but when someone puts in the effort he did to come back from injury and improve themselves like he has done — it’s just so satisfying to see that rewarded.

The Massachusetts-based selections did not stop there. Former North Attleboro stud Nick Sinacola was rewarded for an outstanding season at the University of Maine with a phone call from the San Francisco Giants in the seventh round. Sinacola — who led the Red Rocketeers to a Division 2 state championship in 2018 — finished second in the country this year with 15.8 strikeouts per nine innings.

Capping off the day was four-year BC High standout and University of Virginia right-hander Mike Vasil; the Wellesley native was selected by the New York Mets in the eighth round. Vasil will join close friend Kumar Rocker, selected Sunday night by the Mets.

“I am just so excited to get this opportunity and am very thankful to the Mets for giving it to me,” Vasil said. “To be able to go to an organization that has such a strong record of developing pitchers — some of the best pitchers in the game — is very special. I really just can’t wait to get started.”

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