St. John’s baseball stars take next step

Photo credit: Athletic Communications

Photo credit: Athletic Communications

Troy Mauriello, Co-Sports Editor

Just a few days after their St. John’s careers ended earlier than expected in the Big East Tournament, two St. John’s baseball standouts got what many would call a nice consolation prize last week.

Seniors Thomas Hackimer and Ty Blankmeyer each had their lifelong dreams come to fruition when they were selected in the 2016 MLB Draft, continuing a streak of 10 straight years of St. John’s players being drafted into the league.

Hackimer became the highest St. John’s player to be selected in the draft since 2013, as he was picked up in the fourth round (123rd overall) by the Minnesota Twins, while Blankmeyer was selected in the 36th Round the following day by the Cincinnati Reds.

Hackimer, a side-armed reliever, was also selected by the New York Mets in last year’s draft but elected to return to Queens for his senior season, a decision that couldn’t have worked out any better for the Floral Park, NY-native.

During the 2016 season, Hackimer was nearly unhittable out of the bullpen for the Red Storm. He pitched to a 1.17 ERA in 28 appearances, going 7-3 and converting eight saves. He also led St. John’s with 71 strikeouts in just 53.2 innings.

Following his stellar performance, Hackimer was named Big East Pitcher of the Year by the conference last month and was named Third Team All-American. He was also named as a semifinalist for the Dick Howser Trophy, given by the NCAA to the college baseball player of the year.

Blankmeyer joined Hackimer the following day when he was selected in the 36th round by Cincinnati. The son of current St. John’s manager Ed Blankmeyer, Ty posted a career-high .241 batting average in 2016.

Blankmeyer finished out his Red Storm career with 18 starts in 24 games in 2016, and he appeared in a total of 128 games throughout his time in Queens. The middle infielder was also sure-handed with his glove, winning the 2015 Rawlings “Finest in the Field” Award.

Right-handed reliever Joey Graziano also will be playing professionally next season with a major league club, as he signed a contract with the Tampa Bay Rays in the days following the draft.

Graziano appeared in 12 games out of the bullpen for the Red Storm in 2016, pitching to a 7.88 ERA in 16 innings. The Berkeley Heights, NJ-native also made seven starts for St. John’s as a sophomore back in 2014.

With the departure of a stellar senior class as a whole, the Red Storm will be forced to reload going into 2017 as these three standouts begin their professional careers in the hopes of one day making it into the majors.