Newcomb emerges as elite prospect

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Sean Newcomb says the pressure doesn't get to him. Pitching each weekend in front of dozens of scouts and executives -- including an occasional MLB general manager -- is just normal now. Fun, actually.

That's how it was for the Hartford left-hander's final home start of the year against UMBC. Despite the bleachers packed full of fans and a multitude of men holding radar guns behind home plate, the Hawks' ace threw nine scoreless innings while giving up just two hits and striking out nine batters. Newcomb's mid-90s fastball caused continuous swings and misses and he utilized a strong curveball and changeup throughout.

It was a performance that, once unheard of, is now typical for the 6-foot-4 Newcomb. And it's why he's projected as a likely mid-to-high first-round pick in Thursday's MLB draft. (In fact, Keith Law has him going to the New York Mets with the No. 10 pick in his most recent mock draft.)

"It's exciting and feels a little surreal," he said. "But I'm not going to get too caught up in [playing professionally] until it actually happens."

There's no need to rush the moment, Newcomb admits, because it wasn't supposed to happen in the first place.

Unlikely emergence

Coming out of Middleborough HS in Massachusetts, he had only one total scholarship offer: Hartford. It was actually the only official visit given to him at the time. Some bigger schools showed interest, but just the Hawks decided to take a gamble on Newcomb.