Prospects In Person: Hofstra University

March 10, 2024

Historically, Hofstra University hasn’t had the best track record of producing pro talent. Since 1965, they’ve had just 14 players selected in the MLB Draft — most notably Ken Singleton in the January draft back in 1967 — and a handful of UDFA pickups for teams, but it’s a hard path for players to get from the Pride to affiliated baseball.

While there are likely no bonafide MLB Draft prospects on this year’s team, a visit to Jack Kaiser Stadium on Sunday afternoon to see St. John’s host Hofstra in a surprisingly strong ballgame did show that there may be a handful of players who have the potential to one day get there.

The somewhat unfortunate side is that both players who stood out the most in the brisk conditions are grad student athletes, with the argument that they’re as polished as they are for a reason given their experience.

Santino Rosso is an undersized infielder in his fifth year of college ball at Hofstra, and showed an advanced approach from both sides of the plate, including a pull side homer from the left side. He covered the zone well, and showed he could truly handle switch hitting. Average runner and defender.

The 22-year-old has moved around the diamond during his time with the Pride, and has primarily been used at third base this season, but was at shortstop on Sunday. Hit tool-first smaller-sized versatile infielders aren’t particularly difficult to find, and Rosso would face an uphill battle to stand out among that pack to find a roster spot somewhere, but he would hardly be out of place, at minimum, in a starting role in a higher level independent league to show he can perform in pro ball.

On the pitching side, Mike McKenna had just 19 1/3 collegiate innings under his belt prior to this year, having not played in his first two years with Quinnipiac, and lost significant time to injury in 2022 at Hofstra. The back of his baseball card certainly won’t pop with mostly a rough go of it at the NCAA level thus far, but he made a strong impression, showing a quick, whippy arm that sat 91-93 with an effective more slurvy-type slider at 77-80 that he was able to get on top of well thanks in part to his arm slot.

The 5-foot-11, 193-pound righty has already graduated with his degree in biology, so he’ll be fine however it goes, but someone seeing him for the first time wouldn’t be wrong to think he has a place in pro ball after he was very effective at the back end of the bullpen.

Others who stood out on Sunday for Hofstra? Pride starter Carlos Martinez showed flashes as a 6-foot-2, 170-pound pitchability-type righty, touching 91 on the gun with his fastball and settling in at times to finish his outijng strong, but has largely struggled to find consistency in his collegiate career…Matt Pelcher impressed behind the plate with his blocking skills from the standard crouch, and had a nice day at the plate, but also showed a below-average arm behind the dish in-game…Alex McCoy provides an interesting profile as a center fielder at 6-foot-6, 260 and showed some pop with a pull side homer.

Mike Ashmore
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