Season Preview: Breaking Down The 2016 Red Storm Roster|
Feb. 16, 2016
QUEENS, N.Y. - The defending BIG EAST Tournament and regular season champions, St. John's returns 20 letterwinners from a squad that went 41-16 and also finished as NCAA Regional Finalists.
With BIG EAST Preseason Player of the Year Alex Caruso and BIG EAST Preseason Pitcher of the Year Thomas Hackimer leading the charge, expectations are high once again this season as St. John's totaled a league-high five Preseason All-BIG EAST selections and was voted to finish first in the annual BIG EAST Preseason Poll.
Caruso, Hackimer, Michael Donadio and Robbie Knightes each garnered unanimous Preseason All-League honors, while Troy Dixon was also selected to the Preseason All-BIG EAST Team. In addition, Hackimer has earned a pair of third team Preseason All-America nods (Collegiate Baseball, NCBWA).
Redshirt senior righty Joey Christopher has the most experience among the group of projected starting pitchers. Christopher has made 42 appearances, including six starts, in his Red Storm career and has gone 4-1 with a 4.83 ERA and 36 strikeouts in 59.2 innings of work.
Sophomore Kevin Magee made 13 appearances, including six starts, as a freshman and went 2-3 with a 7.36 ERA in 25.2 innings of work. The lefty looks to build on a strong summer in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League.
A junior transfer out of Northern Essex C.C., Ryan McAuliffe earned first team NJCAA Division III All-America honors as a sophomore. In two seasons with the Knights, the righty went 12-4 with one save and a 2.44 ERA to go with 122 strikeouts in 118.0 innings pitched.
Junior Joe Nellis, a transfer out of Herkimer College, garnered second team All-Region III honors after going 8-0 with a 2.37 ERA in 38.0 innings as a sophomore. The lefty attended Fulton-Montgomery C.C. as a freshman and earned all-state honors as a high school senior at Johnstown.
Freshmen Michael LoPresti and Cole Whitney should also contribute as starters. LoPresti, a righty, earned first team All-Passaic County and first team All-North Jersey honors as a senior at Wayne Valley and tossed a complete game to help the Indians win the 2015 Passaic County championship. Another righty, Whitney was a first team All-State Class A honoree as a senior at Goshen Central and pitched at Yankee Stadium as part of the 2014 Summer Rivalry Classic.
Redshirt junior Dylan Drawdy, a transfer from Hillsborough C.C., made 28 appearances in two seasons with the Hawks. Drawdy went 2-4 with a 3.43 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 44.2 innings of work. As part of a standout senior season at Lake Region Union, freshman Matt Messier garnered USA Today All-USA Vermont Player of the Year honors as well as both Mountain League and Caledonian Record Player of the Year accolades.
With a year of experience gained, sophomores Tyler Bauman and Jamie Galazin [see center field] figure to see increased action this season. Bauman, a lefty, made six relief appearances as a freshman and finished with five strikeouts in 4.0 innings of work. Galazin, a righty, posted a 3.18 ERA and had four strikeouts in 5.2 innings pitched.
Redshirt freshman David Moyer, a 6-5 righty and a four-time All-West Jersey selection in high school, sat out last season and looks to see his first collegiate action. A 6-6 righty and three-time Suffolk County All-League IV selection, freshman Jonathan Faraci rounds out the middle relief options.
Graduate student transfer Joe Napolitano comes to Queens after a four-year career at Wake Forest. In his first collegiate action as a pitcher last season, the righty made seven appearances and had four strikeouts in 6.0 innings of work.
As two of just four lefties on the staff, both Bauman [see middle relievers] and Nellis [see starting rotation] could also contribute in situational roles out of the bullpen.
Freshmen Turner French and Joe Kelly are expected to handle late inning roles as the bullpen builds the bridge to closer Thomas Hackimer. A 6-5 lefty out of Mark T. Sheehan, French was a two-time SCC All-Housatonic selection and helped the Titans win the Class M state title as a senior. A sidearm righty from California, Kelly played his high school ball at Damien.
Senior Kevin Torres will serve as the primary setup man. Torres worked just 3.2 innings in seven appearances last season, but had six strikeouts. The righty displayed an improved repertoire after a midseason change to a lower arm angle.
Already the program's all-time record-holder in both career-saves (28) and single-season saves (15), Hackimer returns for his senior season after being drafted by the New York Mets in the 15th round. A second team ABCA All-American and a unanimous first team All-BIG EAST choice last season, Hackimer went 4-1 with 15 saves and a 1.92 ERA to go with 55 strikeouts in 51.2 innings of work as part of a breakout junior campaign. In a program-record 96 career-appearances, the righty has gone 7-2 with a 3.05 ERA and 105 strikeouts in 106.1 innings.
Sophomore Anthony Fava opens the season as the backup. A Westchester/Putnam All-Star in high school, Fava saw action in nine games last season. Junior college transfer Kyle Cunningham rounds out the depth at catcher. Cunningham earned first team All-Mid-Florida Conference honors as a sophomore at Daytona State College.
Freshman Gavin Garay [see designated hitter] backs up at the position. A two-time All-Hudson Valley/Westchester selection at John F. Kennedy Catholic, Garay represented the CHSAA in the 2015 NYC Mayor's Cup Baseball All-Star Game.
Redshirt sophomore utility man John Valente [see third base] adds to the options at first. Valente made his Red Storm debut last season and batted .206 with nine runs scored in 21 games, including four starts.
Freshman Josh Shaw [see third base, shortstop] will challenge for time at the position. A two-time first team All-State selection and a two-time first team All-Bergen County honoree, Shaw was a two-time Bergen County Tournament MVP and earned ABCA/Rawlings All-Region 2 honors as a senior.
Shaw [see second base, shortstop] and Valente [see first base] provide depth at the hot corner.
Freshman Ryan Markey adds depth at shortstop. A first team All-Area and first team All-PAC-10 honoree as a senior at Spring-Ford, Markey also helped the Rams win the 2015 PAC-10 Tournament title.
Shaw [see second base, third base] adds another option at the position.
Redshirt freshman Aidan McDermott [see right field, designated hitter] sat out last season and will be the backup in left. McDermott was a two-time first team All-Middlesex County honoree and a two-time first team All-Area selection in high school.
Sophomores Galazin [see middle relievers] and Mark Venice [see right field, designated hitter] provide backup at the position. Galazin appeared in 15 games last season, including four starts in center field, and batted .227 with one double and four runs scored. Venice, an all-state selection as a senior at Seton Hall Prep, was limited by injury to just seven games a season ago.
Both McDermott [see left field, designated hitter] and Venice [see center field, designated hitter] add to the options in right field.