Northeastern closer Thomas Balboni signed a contract with the San Diego Padres on Monday, bringing a trio of Husky pitchers to terms with the Major League Baseball organizations that drafted them last month.
“I’m someone that has the basic tools and I think they’re really excited to work with me and help me develop my body and my mechanics and put on muscle,” said Schlittler, who on July 18 became the highest-drafted Husky baseball player in six years as the No. 220 pick overall. “I’m really excited to work with them, so I think it’s going to be a great relationship.”
Schlittler leaves Northeastern with a 14-9 record and a 2.62 earned run average. He totaled 180 strikeouts in 182 innings across 31 appearances, including 30 starts.
The 6-foot-6 right-hander leads a sensational class of redshirt sophomore pitchers that yielded three picks while contributing to a larger trend of big-league opportunity at Northeastern. In all, 13 Husky baseball players have been drafted since 2018.
In the 15th round, Balboni was picked No. 450 overall by the San Diego Padres. Balboni, a 6-foot-4-inch righthander, struck out 37 in 32⅔ innings at Northeastern.
Keane, who was picked No. 550 overall by the Yankees, had previously been drafted in 2019 by the Boston Red Sox as a high school phenom but chose to attend Northeastern instead. Keane went 14-7 with a 4.98 ERA at Northeastern.
“We’ve always had a really good relationship,” Schlittler said of Keane and Balboni. “We’ve had the same goal to play professional baseball, and to see the three of us talk about it and work so hard for it, and for it to finally happen, it’s just amazing. We can’t thank each other enough for the work we put in together and competing against each other in all positive ways.”
Huskies coach Mike Glavine envisions all three hard-throwing pitchers continuing to develop physically while increasing their velocity to 95 mph or more.
“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 said.
Schlittler’s signing was postponed when he tested positive for COVID-19 during a routine physical exam with the Yankees. He experienced no symptoms and spent five days isolated in a hotel room in Tampa, the Yankees’ spring training headquarters.
“It was definitely frustrating,” he said. “But now it’s a change of emotions and I’m just happy to finalize something I’ve been working so hard for.”
Schlittler expects to remain in Tampa to work out with the Yankees for the next month. When the minor league offseason begins in September, he’ll return to Massachusetts and may continue to take classes at Northeastern. He’ll work under the guidance of Eric Cressey, the Yankees’ director of player health and performance, before returning to Tampa in February for his first spring training with the Yankees organization—which will lead to his initial minor league assignment in 2023.
Schlittler expressed gratitude for the coaches and teammates who helped him develop during his three years as a Husky.
“I love the people, I love the environment,” Schlittler said of his time at Northeastern. “Being able to compete at a high level and still be able to have the academic side of it was why I chose Northeastern and I’m happy I did. The experience I had there over the last three years is awesome. I’m really excited about the opportunity they gave me and everything they provided for me, and I’m just glad that I was able to take advantage of it.”