I always start the year trying to do team-by-team draft profiles before quickly realizing that such a task is impossible and shifting instead to conference-by-conference coverage. Now that I’ve finally finished hitting every conference, it’s time for one last special team profile. New York Tech, college ball’s last remaining D1 independent, gets their long-awaited day in the sun.
JR RHP Elias Martinez (2016)
SR RHP Anthony Merchan (2016)
JR RHP Matt Diaz (2016)
SR OF Joe Daru (2016)
JR C/1B Anthony Caradonna (2016)
JR 3B/1B Louis Mele (2016)
SO RHP Chris Johnson (2017)
Joe Daru has always swiped bags effectively (110/124 SB in his career so far, good for a 88.7% success rate), but his power spike this year has been a pleasant surprise. He’s hit three times as many homers (6) so far in 2016 than in his three seasons coming into this one. He’s also already doubled up his extra base hits from last year while basically tripling his previous lifetime college ISO. His approach has steadily improved each season, though it’s still not quite where you’d want it to be all other factors considered. I might use a pick from round 35 on to see if his big final season is the start of something real or just a senior year mirage. If nothing else, you’ve got an athletic speed guy who can play center field for a short-season team while you figure the rest of his game out. Louis Mele is also rather interesting as a proven power producer who this year has shown drastic improvement with his plate discipline. I’m not sure how solid his glove is at third, but if he can hold his own there, then he might also have a shot to get drafted late. It’s more likely he’ll have to return for a senior season to see if he can keep building to his game; if he can find a next gear, like Daru did in his last year, then he’ll be a senior-sign lock in 2017.
On the mound, both Elias Martinez and Matt Diaz hold some appeal as bat missing righthanders with solid size and decent results to date. Martinez’s ERA (6.36) doesn’t fully reflect his effectiveness (7.33 K/9 and 2.70 BB/9) so far in 2016. Diaz has the edge on him in both run prevention (3.86 ERA) and strikeouts (9.21 K/9), but has been a good bit wilder (4.93 BB/9). I can’t speak to either guy’s stuff at this time, but that should hopefully change between now and June. Daru, Mele, Martinez, Diaz, and the rest of the New York Tech Bears visit Villanova for a three-game set in beautiful downtown Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania next weekend. The plan is to see them Friday, Nolan Jones again on Saturday (with possibly enough time to double-dip and get back for game two of the series in time), and then hang out with dear old Mom on Sunday. I’m excited.