MT Minacci’s childhood dream hasn’t wavered over the years. He wants to play professional baseball.
The former North Florida Christian pitcher/shortstop and Florida State signee may get that opportunity very soon.
Minacci, 17, is considered by professional scouts as one of the area’s top high school-aged players eligible for Major League Baseball’s first-year player draft that starts Thursday night.
“When I first started playing baseball, like any other player, my goal is to be a professional baseball player,” Minacci said.
“Everything has been happening so fast, and it is a dream come true being in this position. A year ago, I would have never thought any organization would have been this interested (in me) going into the draft. I never thought in a million years this might happen.”
While Minacci, a lean 6-foot, 170-pounder, signed as a two-way player for the Seminoles, he said professional teams have scouted him strictly as a pitcher.
The right hander’s fastball has been clocked in the low 90s – he touched 94 against Columbus (Ga.) High this past season – and his secondary pitches include a slider and change-up.
Minacci made 13 relief appearances for the Eagles this year with a 1.27 ERA. He also hit .351 with 21 RBIs.
“His velocity just got better and better and it was like watching him evolve as a pitcher,” NFC coach Mike Posey said. “He has such a live arm, a real quick arm, and his ball has a lot of late movement. Plus, he’s a 6.8 runner (60 yard dash) and a great athlete.
“It will be interesting to see how it plays out.”
The draft will take place over the course of three days with Thursday night’s phase covering the first, supplemental, second, and competitive balance rounds. Friday will cover rounds three through 10 and Saturday rounds 11 through 40.
FSU redshirt junior catcher Stephen McGee (392) and junior outfielder/designated hitter Marcus Davis (409) are the Big Bend’s lone-draft eligible players listed among the top 500 prospects by Baseball America.
Minacci, who played youth baseball at Levy and Myers Parks and in the Babe Ruth Baseball organization, has spent the past few weeks traveling for individual team workouts.
He threw at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg for the Tampa Bay Rays brass. He worked out for the Minnesota Twins in Atlanta. On Monday, Minacci was in Arizona for a workout with the Colorado Rockies at their spring-training complex.
Of course, Minacci also understands the Major League draft offers no guarantees despite being projected by scouts as a top-10 round selection. Variables include bonus money.
That’s why Minacci also is excited about attending FSU and playing for the hometown Seminoles.
FSU is at Howser Stadium this weekend against Indiana in an NCAA Super Regional. The winner of the best-of-three- series advances to the College World series.
“I am lucky that Florida State is an option,” Minacci said. “If the draft doesn’t end up the I way I want it be, or hope it to be, I have a game plan.”