A Message from John Harrington and Maureen Bleday of the Yawkey Foundation
On behalf of the Yawkey Foundation Trustees and staff, we would like to extend our warm wishes for the upcoming year and share some reflections on 2022.
On behalf of the Yawkey Foundation Trustees and staff, we would like to extend our warm wishes for the upcoming year and share some reflections on 2022.
They’ve been playing the 100 Innings of Baseball annually since 2004 to raise money for ALS research. It was the idea of a local amateur ballplayer named Brett Rudy who got Umpire Chief Walter Bentson involved. Since then, folks have paid attention.
Amateur baseball players love to check out their performance – partially for vanity, but also so they can improve their game. They check out statistics, watch themselves play on videos, and use data analytics fine tune their skills. Luckily, there is plenty of technology that’s available without a big-league budget.
From TJO Sports in the Boston Park League to the Anaheim Angels in the MLB, Packy Naughton is ready to make his major league debut in 2021. Packy first pitched for TJO Sports in 2015, getting into 1 game and allowing just 1 hit in 3 innings with 7 Ks. From there, his college and pro career took over.
Naughton spent three years pitching in a variety of roles at Virginia Tech, and he pitched well in the Cape Cod League in 2016. This led to him getting taken in the ninth round of the 2017 Draft by the Cincinnati Reds. The southpaw pitched his way to Double-A in his second full season with Cincinnati and was at the Reds’ alternate training site when he was traded to the Angels in 2020.
In 2019, Naughton was named the Reds’ Minor League pitcher of the year. He did it with a fastball in the low-90s, an above-average changeup, and a usable slider. His stuff plays up because of the deception in his delivery, with a tilted front side helping his ability to hide the ball behind him.
In 2020, COVID canceled the Minor League Baseball season and Packy returned to the Park League. In 4 games pitched, he did not allow a single earned run.
When MiBL returned in 2021 season, he pitched 1 game in Double-A ball before making the move to the Triple-A Salt Lake Bees. So far in 11 games, he has gone 2-2, and in 51.2 innings has chalked up 49 K’s with a 5.23 ERA.
Packy is expected to make his Major League debut this week for the Angels versus the Texas Rangers, perhaps as early as tonight, where he could relieve starter Shohei Ohtani. Good luck, Packy!
It doesn’t take long to identify Josh Báez on a baseball field or to figure out why he’s the most highly regarded high school prospect out of Massachusetts in decades. There just aren’t a lot of players who, at 18, stand 6 feet 3 inches and 220 pounds, and do the things he does on a field.
At a showcase event at the home of the minor league Hartford Yard Goats, he hit a homer that cleared the scoreboard. On the mound, he sits comfortably in the low to mid 90s while touching 98. In the outfield, he combines elite arm strength with excellent range.
It’s a combination that drew dozens of scouts to nearly every one of his games with the Dexter Southfield prep school team this spring.
“You work hard for it, so when people come out, take time out of their days to come scout you, it just feels good,” said Báez. “It helps me with exposure, and it helps my other classmates as well to give them more exposure.”
Báez is viewed as a potential late-first-round selection in next month’s amateur draft. The recent Dexter Southfield graduate, who has a commitment to Vanderbilt if he doesn’t sign, could become the first Massachusetts high school prospect to get selected in the first round since Peabody’s Jeff Allison in 2003 (16th by the Marlins).
In his 16-game senior season, Báez hit .378/.531/.622 with 3 homers, 16 walks, and 8 strikeouts in 64 plate appearances. In 18 innings on the mound, he had a 1.94 ERA with 44 strikeouts and 21 walks. While there’s still considerable development in front of him — no surprise, given his age and the fact that he, like everyone else, lost his 2020 campaign to the COVID-19 pandemic — his potential is dazzling.
“I’ve been in touch with David Ortiz and his father, just talking baseball and kind of talking about his career and where he sees me,” said Báez. “He said he loves everything about me.
“I have a bunch of tools, I have the physical side of it, and I have the world in my hands. I just need to stay focused and continue to work hard and everything else will come.”
While Báez has the arm strength to pursue a career on the mound, his prospect status is built primarily around the outfield — with the possibility of center field but a skill set that is better suited for right.
He shows prodigious power potential when he barrels the ball, but there are concerns about how frequently that will happen, given his size and the fact that he did swing and miss at pitches in the strike zone in high school. That underscores the uncertainty about his future — but it’s the sort of risk that teams historically are willing to take on high school players with huge upside.
“The comparison for me would be George Springer,” said Dexter Southfield coach Danny Donato. “I coached against him when he was at Avon Old Farms. They’re very, very similar. Josh has a little better tool set at this age. Not saying he’ll become George Springer, but he has a little better tool set.
“His tools are off the charts. Whether he puts them together, that has yet to be seen, but if he puts it all together, he’s a superstar in MLB.”
The conversations between Báez and the scouts who have tracked him have had familiar themes.
“I talk to professional scouts every single day,” said Báez. “They all say that I have a bunch of tools, a bunch of talent, a bunch of potential to be a major leaguer one day, but obviously that comes with more things that have to be polished. There’s a lot more work that needs to be done. I’m all for it.”
Indeed, few doubt Báez’s passion to play or improve. He was born in Boston but moved to the Dominican Republic as an infant before he and his family came back to Boston when he was 11. As he acclimated to a new culture, baseball fields helped him find a sense of home.
“It was where I made my friends,” he said. “Up to this day, my closest friends — the guys I train with and am with pretty much every day — are from baseball.”
With his high school season over, Báez is playing this summer for the Boston Blue Jays of the Park League while waiting for his future to take shape. While players who project to go as early as Báez does typically avoid playing in the weeks before the draft to minimize the risk of injury, Báez didn’t want to deny himself that joy, especially after the lost year.
Within a few weeks, he may be starting his professional career — or in a few months, he may be on his way to Vanderbilt. Either way, Báez insists he’s less concerned about where in the draft he gets selected than he is appreciative for the possibilities that are unfolding.
“I’m not looking to go anywhere,” he said. “I’m not really worried about the draft. We’re going day by day, and we’ll see on draft day where I end up, but I’m not stressing about anything.
“I know I have a commitment to a really good school. With the draft, it’s just seeing what happens. It’s not that complicated.”
Reported by Alex Speier (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Yawkey Foundation today announced the opening of applications for its Yawkey Scholars Program, designed to make college affordable for talented, motivated, low-income, first-generation college-bound high school seniors from Massachusetts to complete bachelor’s degrees at private colleges in Massachusetts. On the program’s 15-year anniversary, the Yawkey Scholars Program has updated its scholarship award beginning with the 2021 Cohort by increasing the four-year renewable tuition scholarship to $35,000 per year.
In addition to the tuition scholarship, all Yawkey Scholars will continue to benefit from advisors for mentoring and guidance, as well as supplemental “Opportunity Funds” to offset the costs for enrichment such as experiential learning, summer abroad programs, and related opportunities that help Scholars achieve their academic and career goals.
“Our Foundation’s founders, Tom and Jean Yawkey, valued the importance of equitable access to education because they understood its ability to change lives – how academic achievement can provide pathways to economic mobility and improved outcomes across many fronts,” said Maureen H. Bleday, Chief Executive Officer of the Yawkey Foundation. “Nowhere is that better exemplified than through the impact and achievements of the hundreds of current and alumni Yawkey Scholars who are investing their expertise and passion to make their communities better.”
Since 2005, the Yawkey Scholars Program has provided more than $13 million in scholarships and supplemental support to more than 300 Scholars as they pursue a college education.
To be eligible for the Massachusetts Yawkey Scholars Program, applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements:
The deadline for applications is Friday, February 12, 2021 at 5pm. Application materials can be found at tpi.org/scholarship/yawkey-scholars-program.
The Yawkey Foundation perpetuates Tom and Jean Yawkey’s commitment to educational opportunity for underserved young people in the communities closest to their hearts – Massachusetts and Georgetown, South Carolina – through the development of unique scholarship and internship programs that provide pathways to academic success and economic mobility. Through the Yawkey Scholars Program, several Yawkey Nonprofit Internship Programs at colleges and universities, and a longstanding relationship with the Jackie Robinson Foundation, the Yawkey Foundation has helped hundreds of young people as they pursue their academic and professional development aspirations.
Having awarded more than $500 million to-date in charitable grants to organizations focused on Health Care, Education, Human Services, Youth and Amateur Athletics, Arts and Culture, and Conservation and Wildlife, the Yawkey Foundation is committed to preserving and sustaining the charitable values of the Yawkeys by investing in impactful nonprofits providing resources, opportunity, and dignity to the vulnerable and underserved.
For more information about the Yawkeys’ commitment to education, the Yawkey Scholars Program, and the Yawkey Foundation, please visit yawkeyfoundation.org.
The Boston Padres are looking to rebound in 2020.
After a dismal start to the 2019 season which saw the Padres underachieve for the 1st half of the season, they were able to turn it around and play very well in July and down the stretch. Hopefully they can pick up where they left off to start the 2020 season.
Returning are a strong core of veteran players led by OF Jorge Geronimo and P Jarlin Gomez. Also back are a veteran group that has been together for the past four years, including UT Joaquin Figueroa, DH/1B Eduardo Soto, 1B Zach Barrett, C Jessey Valdes and IF Alex Gonzalez. Add to the mix a few up and coming vets with OF/P Esdras Rojas and C Clifford Guerrero, the team should contend well.
Returning also after there inaugural season in the Park League are P Dan Coughlin, P Mike Mulrean, P Hector Brioso, C Henry Score and C Ryan Semler.
The addition of a few good looking prospects makes this a pretty interesting team that if all the pieces of the puzzle fit exactly right, can be a very formidable opponent. 2020 has already been a challenging year Now let’s see if we can make it an exciting and interesting one too.
Photo: John Teehan and Greg Tobin pitching for the Harwich Mariners in the Cape Cod League.
TJO Sports clinched their 7th consecutive playoff spot in 2019 only to lose to the first place Braves in the first round. TJO Sports will be returning the same core of players that have been together since the 2017 Championship season.
Anchoring the pitching staff will Nick Neshe (62 league leading innings pitched), Tim Noone (ROY) and returning from an injury Sam Steeves. John Teehan and Greg Tobin (pictured below) should round out the rotation after their successful stint in the Cape Cod League last summer with the Harwich Mariners.
Key returning pitchers will be John Mulry (UMASS Boston), Sam Miller, Manny PegueroMelo (Assumption) and Jay Turner. We also have two valuable pitchers returning from an injury plagued 2019 season in the wily veteran Kevin MacIntyre (sporting a new hip) along with Pat Hurley.
The offense with be led by outfielders Jamie Timothy (.385 BA), Malcolm Nachmanoff (.358 BA), Sam Miller (.303 BA) and Tim Noone (.329 BA). The infield will be anchored by versatile Pat Williamson, Sam Steeves (All Star), John Mulry and Nick Valicenti. Veteran Shane Lake hopes to get back behind the plate after having off season surgery. Nick Valicenti and Michael Larocque will fill the catcher role in the meantime.
Also expecting contributions this season from Duncan & Iain McGaff, Matt Connelly, Jon Hodge, Chris Bear and Sam Petitpaps. Rookie Michael Spataro (Central Conn. State) will be looking to make an impact this season.
The 2019 season ended on a high note for the ADSL Ball club. They managed to defend their title and remain the Boston Park League League Champions for the second year in a row. Watch the final out!
The outlook for 2020 season looks very promising with a strong core of champion veterans along with some fresh faces on the field and in the managerial role. Hall of Fame Coach, Jim Cody, went out on top after securing yet another championship title.
Veterans Andrew Elliott and Mike Davis will be taking over the managerial roles and intend to keep the trend going. ADSL veterans such as 2019 All Star Eddie Riley and veteran pitcher Zach Wensley will be anchoring down the pitching staff and batting lineup in the 2020 season.
The coaching staff is actively recruiting through ought the winter and into early spring to finalize the roster for opening day. We are anxious to get back to Town field and begin a new chapter as we continue the dynasty.
In 2019, Towne Club had some standout moments despite being eliminated from playoff contention by a strong TJO team. In the 2020 season, Towne aims to win the championship.
With a loyal returning core, Towne expects to be an offensive force. Some of Towne’s returning veterans include Dana Dresser (formerly of Northeastern University), and Brett Emmertz (formerly of Colby Sawyer College). Dana will be returning for his 12th season in the Park League. Towne is excited to have its scrappiest veteran return. Brett Emmertz, also known as the Human Lightning Bolt, will be returning this season. We are expecting big things from Brett the Bolt.
A few other veterans returning to Towne Club in the 2020 season include Jim Perron (formerly of Florida Southern College), Alex Venditti (formerly of Worcester Polytechnic Institute), and Chris Hoyt (formerly of Stonehill College). In the 2019 season, Jim Perron (MVP) hit a staggering .462 and had a total of 43 hits including 3 home runs. Towne is expecting Jim to have another great season. Former Park League MVPs and All-Stars Alex Venditti and Chris Hoyt also hope to have great offensive years.
We are especially excited to announce a new addition to the pitching staff CJ Doskocil (formerly of Worcester Polytechnic Institute). We are lucky to have another southpaw on our staff and are looking forward to seeing what he can do.
Returning pitchers this season include Townes Ace James Bussiere (formerly of Bentley College), as well as Kyle Zembsch (formerly of Greensboro College), Dillon Dresser (formerly of Bates College), Zach Jacobson (formerly of Babson College), and Patrick Carbone (currently of Colby College). We hope to add a few more to the staff before the season starts.
In other news, Towne Club’s manager, Grant Bowen, is stepping down this season due to baby on the way. We wish him well and look forward to seeing him come to a few a games with his new baby girl.
All in all, the 2020 season is looking bright for Towne Club and the players are excited to get going.