Newcomb adjusting to professional game
Sean Newcomb did not sign a professional contract until July 28, but the Middleborough High graduate has already started his ascent in the Los Angeles Angels organization.
After reporting to the Angels’ rookie facility in Arizona, the 6-foot-5 lefthander was quickly promoted to the team’s Single A affiliate in Burlington, Iowa in the Midwest League.
The 15th overall pick in June’s First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Hartford, Newcomb suffered his first loss as a professional Friday night, yielding four hits and four runs over 1⅔ innings in an 8-2 setback to Cedar Rapids.
Burlington pitching coach Ethan Katz , however, is pleased with Newcomb’s progress.
“He’s been looking better and better,” said Katz. “With the time off between the college season and the draft, he’s getting back to full strength.”
Newcomb signed just hours before Major League Baseball’s signing deadline on the 18th. While there may have been posturing for additional money, Newcomb’s signing bonus of $2.51 million — the second-largest in Angels’ history — was just $43,000 more than the suggested draft slot value of $2.475 million.
Newcomb said returning to Hartford for his senior season was a slight consideration, but that the delay in signing was more about rest and timing.
“I was just kind of taking some time off,” he said. “I knew I would have limited innings and everything, and if I came right out I would have been shut right down pretty quickly.”
Newcomb and his parents flew to Los Angeles to sign his contract; he was at Angel Stadium during batting practice the day he signed.
“I got to meet a few of the Angels players during BP, which was pretty cool,” said the 21-year-old Newcomb.
“I’d seen these guys on TV a whole lot in the past and now they are my teammates in a way, so it’s a nice thing to be part of.
“Being on the field and seeing where I could possibly be playing one day was pretty cool. But then they send you right to Arizona for the rookie ball and it’s a little bit of a reality check.”
Regarded as the Angels No. 1 prospect, Newcomb made two starts in rookie ball before being moved to Class A Burlington. After a heavy workload during his junior season at Hartford, the Angels are limiting Newcomb to 55 pitches each start.
While his stats at Burlington are anything but stellar (11 hits and 9 runs allowed in 7⅔ innings), Katz has been impressed by the big lefty.
“His fastball is obviously his big-time pitch, but his changeup is the most surprising pitch I’ve seen from him,” said Katz.
“I wasn’t expecting to see such a good changeup from him, but it’s been one of the better pitches he throws. He’s got a really good feel for it. He didn’t use it much in college because he didn’t need to. But for his future, it’s going to be an important pitch for him.”
Newcomb owns a mid-90s fastball that has been clocked as high as 98 miles per hour. He also throws a curveball, slider, and that exceptional change.
When the minor league season ends, Newcomb will be sent to instructional ball in Arizona for a month before returning home for the offseason.
“I’ve been throwing well and my arm feels fine,” said Newcomb.
“It’s an adjustment from college ball and being back on the East Coast. The biggest thing has just been the whole pro ball life. Every day it’s just baseball, compared to college where I had to worry about class work and all that type of stuff. It’s just straight baseball right now. It’s a job.”
Katz said that the main objective is to let Newcomb show the Angels how quickly he can adapt to pro ball.
“He got drafted in that [high] position for a reason,” said Katz.
“Right now we’re letting him do his thing and show us why he got drafted in that position. For the most part, we’re letting him be himself; it’s too early to say you need to do this or that mechanically. You always want to give newly drafted guys a chance to show you what they were drafted for, and right now that is kind of where we are at.”
As for comparisons to former Red Sox ace Jon Lester, now pitching with the Oakland A’s, Katz definitely sees similarities.
“Sean has that presence,” said Katz. “It’s a big body with a big arm. I would say that they are very comparable. That’s who I can probably see him being; same pitches, same build, very, very comparable.”
Although Newcomb agrees with the comparisons, he stresses one important point.
“We’re both lefties with similar motions, so physically we’re pretty comparable,” he said. “But I have long way to go to get to his level.”
Falco takes his game to Newbury College
Jim Falco, formerly the girls’ golf coach at Fontbonne Academy in Milton, is the new men’s coach at Newbury College.
As head coach of the Ducks, he oversaw a program that experienced continual growth; the number of girls trying out rose from seven to 20. In 2010, he was honored as MIAA Coach of the Year after Fontbonne finished second in the state. Over his eight-year tenure, 15 of his players have moved on to play at the collegiate level. A Stoughton resident, Falco has been a PGA teaching professional at Granite Links Golf Club in Quincy for the past four years.
Cohasset hall of fame
Cohasset High will induct nine athletes, two administrators, and two teams into its athletic hall of fame on Nov. 27 and 28.
Those inductees include Matt Belson (class of 1997, lacrosse); Tony Bogarty (1986, boys’ basketball); Kate Carroll (1995, girls’ soccer); James Creed (1986, boys’ basketball); Pam Hobbs Atkinson (1969, girls’ tennis); Katie Lord Naples (1989, skiing and soccer); Danny Pompeo (1988, ice hockey); Mike Rossi (1999, wrestling); and Jon Sargent (1973, boys’ basketball). Jack DeLorenzo and Gino DiGirolamo will both be inducted in the school administrator category, while the 1999 wrestling team (MIAA Division 3 state finalists) and 2003 girls’ tennis team (MIAA Division 3 state champions) will also be inducted.John R. Johnson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.