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Cam Schlittler throws a pitch for Northeastern

New York Yankees pick two Northeastern pitchers in MLB draft, led by Cam Schlittler

The 6-foot-6-inch redshirt sophomore became the highest drafted baseball player from Northeastern in six years. Photo by Jim Pierce for Northeastern University

Northeastern pitcher Cam Schlittler was chosen by the New York Yankees in the seventh round of the Major League Baseball draft on Monday, making him the highest drafted Husky in six years.

Schlittler is part of a sensational Northeastern freshman class of pitchers in 2019-20 that yielded three picks in the draft that concluded on Tuesday. It follows the selection of four Huskies in last year’s baseball draft. In all, 13 Northeastern players have been picked by Major League teams since 2018.

Schlittler, a 6-foot-6 righthander who went No. 220 overall, is expected to sign with the Yankees and leave Northeastern with a 14-9 record and a 2.62 earned run average in two full collegiate seasons. He totaled 180 strikeouts in 182 innings across 31 appearances, including 30 starts.

“I’m just really glad that it worked out the way I wanted it to,” Schlittler says. “They’re always a great organization and they’re really good at developing pitchers—the physical development side of it. They have a great amount of technology and I think they can help me a lot. And I think I can help them too.” 

On Tuesday, two more Northeastern pitchers were chosen in the closing stages of the draft. In the 18th round (No. 550 overall), the Yankees selected their second Husky in 6-foot-3-inch Sebastian Keane, who in 2019 had been picked by the Red Sox as a high school phenom but chose to attend Northeastern instead.

In the 15th round, Thomas Balboni was picked No. 450 overall by the San Diego Padres. Balboni, a 6-foot-4-inch righthander, has struck out 37 in 32 ⅔ innings at Northeastern. 

The Yankees called Northeastern baseball coach Mike Glavine Monday morning to say they were hoping to pick Schlittler, who last year as a redshirt freshman helped lead Northeastern to the Colonial Athletic Association regular season and tournament championships.

“The Yankees see our team play a lot—they come to our workouts, our practices, and I think I think they’re really comfortable with our program,” Glavine says. “Cam accomplished a lot for us. He worked hard, he did everything we could have asked and I’m really excited for him to get this opportunity.”

Schlittler throws his fastball comfortably at 93 mph with jumps to 95, says Glavine. He expects Schlittler to continue increasing his velocity as he grows stronger with the Yankees, based on the gains he made since arriving at Northeastern as a skinny pitcher from Walpole, Massachusetts.

“He needed to get in the weight room, get physically stronger and clean up his delivery,” Glavine says. “I saw a tough kid from a great family who had all the intangibles for us.”

Schlittler was named the CAA’s co-rookie of the year after going 8-1 with a 1.88 ERA in 2021. As a preseason All-American, he went 5-8 with a 3.44 ERA as the Huskies endured a frustrating 2022 season that came close to delivering a happy ending in the CAA tournament—a surprising postseason run that Schlittler helped drive with seven strong innings in a second-round upset of top-seeded College of Charleston.

As Schlittler looks to the obstacles ahead, he says he was helped by learning to pitch through difficult times last season. 

“I didn’t really have a name [in 2021] and everyone was like, ‘Who is this kid?’” Schlittler says. “This year I had a little bit of a name and I did struggle early on, I was able to find something in the middle [of the season] and get a rhythm back. And then I was able to help my team.

“Experiencing both [winning and frustration] before heading to professional ball is going to be very helpful.”

Balboni (1-3 with a 5.23 ERA overall) has also learned to battle while pitching mainly out of the bullpen as a closer. His potential is high, Glavine says. 

“Balboni is under the radar,” Glavine says. “He covers a lot of the metrics. It’s all there: a high spin rate, great breaking ball, all vertical fastball. Physically, he’s nowhere near what he’s going to be when he’s 25. It wouldn’t surprise me if he’s throwing 98 [mph] in two to three years.”

Though Keane is from North Andover, Massachusetts, he grew up rooting for the Yankees. Now, after going 14-7 with a 4.98 ERA at Northeastern, the former Red Sox draft choice will have a chance to pitch for New York.

“He’s a naturally gifted athlete who moves with grace and speed and has a fast arm,” Glavine says of Keane. “He can run his fastball up to 95 [mph] and he still looks like a young kid. I can only imagine what he’s going to be like when he’s 25 and he takes that next step physically.”

Glavine believes Schlittler also has upside.

“I see him as a guy that can be a big-league starter [throwing] at 95 [mph] as he gets even stronger and continues to improve his mechanics,” Glavine says. “He brings that toughness, that fiery competitiveness, that blue-collar attitude. I told the Yankees they’re going to get someone that’s extremely coachable. He’s going to be fully loyal to that organization and he’ll do whatever they ask him to do. So I think the sky’s the limit for Cam and his best pitching is still ahead of him.”

Schlittler’s early departure is a dream come true for Glavine and the Huskies.

“It’s great for recruits and current players to see that you go to Northeastern, there’s an opportunity to get drafted and make the big leagues,” Glavine says. “Cam gave us everything he had. He’s ready to move on and we wanted that opportunity for him, so it’s just a win all around.

“Guys who are that talented, they don’t want to come back,” Glavine adds. “They want to go and I tell them I’ll drive to the airport if they need me. It’s just exciting for the program.”

As a lifelong Red Sox fan, Schlittler is now looking forward to pitching for the nemesis Yankees—possibly at Fenway Park someday.

“I’m definitely going to try and beat them,” Schlittler says of the Red Sox. “If I ever get to that point, if I’m lucky enough that I can, that would be a dream opportunity.”

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