Time's Ticking For Porcello

High-schooler must decide between school or minors

June 5, 2007

By Brian Curtis




Brian Curtis is a CSTV football and basketball analyst and a regular CSTV.com writer.
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Rick Porcello Interview


If you didn't know that this kid could be a millionaire in a matter of days, you'd have no idea what Rick Porcello is about. Though his 6-foot-5 frame indicates he's an athlete, his vocabulary and composure suggest perhaps an engineer, and his 3.94 GPA would support that hypothesis. But the kid from Chester, N.J., could probably do both.


Porcello is perhaps the nation's top amateur baseball prospect, and among the top 10 heading into the Major League Baseball Draft June 7. The standout right hander from Seton Hall Prep is undefeated in high school play and carries a miniscule ERA that hovers around 0.30. His body of work includes multiple no-hitters and perfect games. His four pitch arsenal includes a fastball in the mid-90s that seems to get faster as games wear on, especially his four-seamer. When he's not blowing pitches past hitters, he is manning the field for the top-ranked prep baseball team in the nation and smacking the ball around with a prodigious bat, last year batting .380. 


Porcello has made the rounds of the All-Star Tournaments, combines and showcases, and noting has slowed the scouts from descending to West Orange to see him pitch. As many as 25 have shown up on any given day. In fairness, there are three other top prospects on Seton Hall's squad, included 6-foo-8 pitcher Evan Danieli, who also could be a top pick in a few days.


Now the big decision is college or the pros? After considering a variety of schools, including Stanford, UCLA and the Virginia, Porcello chose North Carolina, for its academics and baseball success. He wanted to stay on the East Coast so his parents and siblings could watch him play. A new rule instituted this year requires drafted high schoolers to sign with their club by August 15th or else, which for most means head to college.  It's good news for college coaches, but not so much for players or their agent advisors (Porcello has the powerful Scott Boras on his side).


After a recent practice at Seton Hall I sat down with the prodigy who fielded my questions like, well, a professional.


So what will his choice be in the upcoming weeks? It will be a decision he makes with the parents and brothers, with consultation from Boras and his Seton Hall coach, Mike Sheppard, Jr.  Porcello acknowledges that money will play a major part. 


"There is no wrong decision", he says, indicating that he would love the opportunity to attend college and earn a degree.


The new rule is one that Porcello agrees with, and could be a factor in if he does decide to attend college in Chapel Hill, a place where he'd have to stay for three years before getting another shot at the draft.


"It's a good one," Porcello said of the rule. "It allows players time to develop and work towards a degree and keeps some stability in the college game."


Some players during the draft huddle around with family and friends waiting for the phone to ring to let them know they've been selected, and especially since the draft will be televised this year. But Porcello won't be doing any of that.


"Probably out at the baseball field," is where Porcello says he'll be.


Porcello is projected anywhere between the third and seventh pick in the first round. He was recently chosen to play in the high school All-American game in Albuquerque, but that depends on Seton Hall's tournament status.

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