The Major League Baseball Draft is often a tense time for college baseball coaches.
University of Maine baseball coach Steve Trimper lived through that dynamic over the last two days as he waited to find out which of the potential Black Bear players would be selected in the major league draft.
The expected occurred on Wednesday as Andrew Noviello, the most highly regarded of UMaine’s 2015 National Letter of Intent signees, and Jeremy Pena both were drafted.
Andrew Noviello, a left-handed hitter and pitcher from Bridgewater-Raynham High School, was selected by the Boston Red Sox in the 25th round. He was the 741st player taken overall.
Noviello, a versatile, 6-foot, 205-pounder, was the top-ranked senior player in Massachusetts by Perfect Game and is the No. 10 prospect in New England according to New England Baseball Journal.
Trimper said Noviello has indicated that he likely will sign for the maximum $100,000 offered to players drafted after the 10th round.
Noviello has demonstrated plenty of pop with the bat and also throws in the low 90s (mph) off the mound. He made the switch to catcher this season to fill a key position for coach John Kearney.
Noviello, who also has played second base in the past, batted .490 (25-for-51) with six home runs and 21 runs batted in to help the Trojans post a 19-2 regular-season record this spring. Bridgewater-Raynham is scheduled to play an elimination game on Wednesday in the Division 1A Super 8 tournament.
Pena, a shortstop from Providence, Rhode Island, was taken in the 39th round by the Atlanta Braves, No. 1,170 overall. The 6-foot, 175-pound standout at Classical High School in Providence is the son of former major leaguer Geronimo Pena.
However, Trimper indicated the Penas had told a handful of teams that Jeremy did not intend to sign for $100,000 and were surprised that the Braves ultimately picked him.
Shortstop Danny Casals of Miami also was reported to be under consideration, but apparently did not intend to sign and wants to attend UMaine starting in the fall.
Casals (6-0, 185) hit .393 with a homer, 12 doubles and 29 RBIs this season. He was named the Class 8A District 15 Player of the Year and helped coach Joe Weber’s Christopher Columbus High School squad (27-5) win the state title.
“This is one of the better recruiting classes we’ve had,” Trimper said of the trio and he is hopeful at least two of them will wind up at UMaine.
Trimper also suggested that Scott Heath of Westbrook, who completed his career this spring, could sign a free-agent deal.
Heath was a unanimous pick for the All-America East First Team as a utility player this season. He batted .308 with a team-leading six homers along with 18 doubles and 29 RBIs.
On the hill, the left-handed Heath posted a 6-4 record and 4.32 earned run average. He gave up 100 hits in 81⅓ innings with 65 strikeouts and 27 walks.