Hartford Hawks junior lefthander Sean Newcomb was selected 15th overall by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft on Thursday night. It is the highest that a University of Hartford player has ever been selected and the first time that a Hawk has been chosen in the first round. The first-year player draft was televised live on the MLB Network and MLB.com.
The Hawks baseball team had two other players drafted during the following two days of the three-day draft, as senior right-handed pitcher Brian Hunter was selected in the ninth round (275th overall) by the Cincinnati Reds on Friday and senior catcher James Alfonso was selected in the 30th round (891st overall) by the Seattle Mariners on Saturday. This is the first time since 1989 that the Hawks have had this many players selected in a single MLB First-Year Player Draft.
Newcomb, the 2014 America East Pitcher of the Year, closed out his junior season with a career-high 14 strikeouts in a 6-1 win over the Binghamton Bearcats in the Hawks' America East Championship opener. Newcomb finished the 2014 season with a 1.25 earned run average over 14 appearances and 93 1/3 innings of work. He also finished the year with 106 strikeouts, giving him 243 for his career, becoming the first ever Hartford pitcher to record 200 or more strikeouts.
Newcomb is the 14th UHart player to be drafted in the 57-year history of the program. The most recent player to be drafted was pitcher Scott Roy who was selected in the 21st round by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2004. Roy spent three seasons in the Blue Jays minor league system before retiring from baseball. As the 15th overall pick, Newcomb is the second highest overall pick from the America East Conference; Northeastern's Carlos Pena was picked 10th overall by the Texas Rangers in 1998.
Hunter closed out his senior season earning America East All-Conference Second Team and All-Academic Team honors. The number two starter in the rotation, Hunter posted a 4.13 earned run average over 80.2 innings of work. The Port Jeff Station, N.Y., native allowed 42 runs, 37 earned, on 76 hits while punching out 64 batters, a career-high Over his four-year career, Hunter compiled a 4.40 ERA over 218 2/3 innings of work. His 64 strikeouts in 2014 gives the right hander 182 total over his career which is tied with Scott LaRock (1991-94) for the second-most in school history
Alfonso also earned America East All-Conference Second Team and All-Academic Team honors in his senior year, after finishing the year second on the team with a .302 batting average. The Raynham, Mass. Native also led the team with a .474 batting average with a team-high 21 extra base hits. He finished the season tying his career-high with 14 doubles, the third most in the America East, while adding two triples and tying for the team lead with a career high five home runs. Over his four-year career, Alfonso compiled a .281 batting average with 173 hits including 44 doubles, two triples and 10 home runs. Alfonso closed out his career fourth all-time in games played (186) and fifth all-time in doubles (44) and putouts (850).
The last Hawk to make a major league roster was Earl Snyder who was drafted in the 36th round by the New York Mets in 1998. Snyder was a first and third baseman who made his debut in the majors with the Cleveland Indians on April 28, 2002. He also spent time on the Boston Red Sox roster.
The University of Hartford's most notable draftee was Jeff Bagwell, who was selected in the fourth round by the Red Sox in 1989. After two seasons in the Red Sox organization, Bagwell was traded to the Houston Astros and spent the remainder of his career with the National League organization. He made his Major League debut on April 8, 1991, and spent 14 years on the Major League roster for the Astros.
Among Bagwell's highlights was earning National League MVP honors in 1994 when he led the majors in RBI (116) and was second among National League leaders in batting average (.368) and home runs (39). Bagwell played third base for the Hawks and left as the program's all-time leader in batting average (.413), RBI (126), and home runs (31). His career batting average still remains the all-time best in program history.
All-Time University of Hartford MLB Drafted Players/Free Agents
2004 :: Scott Roy (Toronto Blue Jays, 21st round)
1998 :: Earl Snyder (New York Mets, 36th round)
1996 :: Dave Tober (Philadelphia Phillies, free agent)
1994 :: Scott Hilt (Minnesota Twins, 29th round)
1994 :: Scott LaRock (Colorado Rockies, 29th round)
1993 :: Kurt Grashaw (St. Louis Cardinals, 43rd round)
1992 :: Mike Kostrzewa (Cleveland Indians, free agent)
1989 :: Jeff Bagwell (Boston Red Sox, fourth round)
1989 :: Pat Hedge (Baltimore Orioles, 22nd round)
1989 :: Brian Crowley (Texas Rangers, 33rd round)
1989 :: Mark Czarkowski (Seattle Mariners, 55th round)
1985 :: John Tuozzo (New York Mets, 21st round)
1975 :: Gary LaRocque (Milwaukee Brewers, 14th round)