Baseball season is here. Even the warm weather in New England has ball players out and about. The NEBC continues to transform the landscape, hosting the earliest Division I game on record in New England! Folks can find Ruffnecks working out at the NEBC, in the batting cages, and at early morning Winter Workouts at Harvard University. No wonder that numerous Ruffnecks alums populate the ranks of Divison I programs, and even Major League spring training camps! The Division I collegiate season is two weeks old. Major League camps are in their first week of exhibition games. Ruffnecks are everywhere… and it is a warm, satisfying feeling to know they once dreamt the dreams our current players dream. They also shared a work ethic that is embedded in the Ruffnecks experience. It is a work ethic that inspires our coaches, parents, and friends. And it continues to draw college recruiters to Ruffnecks action all summer long… at the NEBC, in Georgia, Tennessee, New Jersey, and everywhere we travel.
Twitter, texts, emails, and even phone calls (remember them?) convey the success of Ruffnecks who are currently playing at the highest levels, which includes Division I, II, and III college baseball. We share a brief update on several.
Major League Prospects
The 2017 MLB season finds the first two Ruffnecks to appear in Big League camps. Tucker Healy is a RHP with the Oakland A’s and Adam Ravenelle is a RHP with the Detroit Tigers. Both players were five year Ruffnecks, playing their entire pre-college summer careers with the ‘Necks. Amazingly, Healy is the last “original” Ruffneck standing. A member of the first Ruffnecks team in 2003, Healy went on to captain Needham High School. He was not recruited to any D-I programs, attended and graduated from Ithaca College, and distinguished himself at Ithaca, college summer ball, and eventually the Cape Cod League. He was a 30th round sign for Oakland and has risen through the ranks to earn his current Major League camp invite. Ravenelle’s path was significantly different. A standout two-way player for Coach Kirk Fredericks at Lincoln-Sudbury, Ravenelle did not discover pitching until he was a 16U Ruffneck. He was highly recruited and committed to Vanderbilt, where he got the final 6 outs of the clinching game for the Commodores in their 2014 NCAA Championship. Rav is with the Detroit Tigers as a RHP. Another top MLB prospect is Isan Diaz, currently ranked among the Top 100 minor league prospects. The Milwaukee Brewers infielder continues to rise in the ranks. He is only 20.
We even have several Major League baseball front office alums in Graham Tyler (Tampa), Harrison Slutsky (Boston), and Garrett Horan (Washington). Former coach Devitt Moore is currently the East Coast Scouting Supervisor for the Seattle Mariners. And no one is happier than the Ruffnecks family for long-time pitching coach Matt Blake, who is now with the Cleveland Indians.
College action is fast and furious with two weekends in the books for Division I programs. Jacob Stevens is the Friday (#1) starter for Boston College. He is a likely draft pick in the June draft. The burly Stevens is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA, 15 Ks, and only 4 walks. Opponents are hitting a paltry .134 off him. Wills Montgomerie recently struck out 10 in a start for the UConn Huskies. Cam Walsh and Scott Holzwasser are playing steady ball for the Northeastern Huskies. Holzwasser already smacked his first collegiate HR. Paul Campbell contributes out of the bullpen for Clemson University. Freshman pitchers Morgan McSweeney and Holden White are finding their way at Wake Forest. And of course, there is Josh Ellis, the captain for the Harvard Crimson baseball team. John Simourian and Kevin Superko are on the field for Georgetown University, while Jake Nelson is closing for UPenn. We have undoubtedly forgotten to mention many others currently contributing to college baseball teams. Suffice it to say we are happy for each and every one who has had the chance to continue to play the game they love. The common bond of the Ruffnecks experience is something we all can share.