South Jersey Players Could Make an Impact in MLB Draft

by Marc Narducci | May 29, 2018
South Jersey Players Could Make an Impact in MLB Draft

This has been a strong year for South Jersey high school baseball and there are several local players who are candidates to be selected in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. This year’s draft is June 4-6. The first day consists of the first two rounds, with compensation and competitive balance picks.

All told, there will be 78 players selected on the first day.

On June 5, rounds 3-10 will take place with the final 30 rounds on June 6.

The two South Jersey players who have drawn the most attention are Seneca centerfielder Nick Decker and Pennsville centerfielder Max Dineen and Eastern centerfielder Jack Herman. (It’s a great year for centerfielders in South Jersey).

Paul VI righthander Will Gambino and Haddonfield catcher John Cristino are among others who could hear their names called. And there could be even more than that.

Leading the way is Seneca’s Decker, who has signed with the University of Maryland. Decker has played in many high profile off-season showcases and he has enjoyed a strong senior season. He is a strong defensive player with excellent speed and has good power.

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In addition, he has been pitching effectively, although Decker profiles as a centerfielder by teams. It just never hurts to have pitching as an additional skill., among the most respected baseball websites, had Decker being selected 43rdoverall in its most recent mock draft of the first round with compensation picks and Competitive Balance A selections.

MLB has assigned bonus values for each pick. That doesn’t mean a team has to sign a player for that amount, but it is recommended.

The pick value for the 43rd selection is $1,664,200, according to

If a player is selected that high, it would be difficult to turn it down, especially since MLB also has provisions for players who bypass college to pay either partially or fully for their education.

So if Decker is indeed drafted at or near where fangraphs projects, our guess is that he would begin his professional career.

Dineen has helped himself with a great senior season. He began the week hitting .570 with a single-season school record 15 home runs and 47 RBI.

Herman has been a South Jersey fixture since his freshman year. He began the week with 142 hits, the most in Eastern school history.

Like Decker and Dineen, he has great speed and has great range in the field while being dangerous at the plate.

In addition, he and Dineen are also pitchers, but like Decker, they project as centerfielders.

Paul VI’s Gambino, is a hard-throwing righthander whose fastball touched 96 MPH this spring. He has signed with the University of Kentucky, but is keeping an open mind on the draft.

So is Haddonfield’s Cristino, who entered the week batting .600. He has a scholarship to Rhode Island, but like Gambino and really the rest of the South Jersey players, he has an open mind if drafted.

There could be other South Jersey players drafted as well, but these are the headliners in a very talented list of local prospects


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Author: Marc Narducci


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