After commit Gustavo Sosa was picked earlier in the day, Rutgers closer Serafino Brito heard his name called in the 28th round of the 2019 MLB Draft by the Cleveland Indians.
From starter to closer, Brito was a workhorse on the #RBaseball staff the past four years!— Rutgers Baseball (@RutgersBaseball) June 5, 2019
Finished career ranked tied for second in program history with 86 games pitched, tied for fifth with 13 saves & eighth with 171 strikeouts. Logged 225 innings overall.#MLBDraft @Indians pic.twitter.com/lOVAz2FW7K
Serafino arrived at Rutgers from Indian Hills High School and made 10 starts as a true freshman. As a sophomore he moved into the weekend rotation, and showed flashes of brilliance when he could command his fastball or throw his slider for a strike early in the count. Once he gets ahead of batters, it’s difficult for them not to chase his two-seam fastball up in the zone. At the next level, command will be even more important, as Brito does not possess elite velocity.
In his 2019 senior season Brito started the season opener, but immediately returned to the closer role where he thrived in 2018. His experience throwing multiple innings out of the bullpen is a skill that major league teams covet now more than ever. He finished his career in the top 10 of several pitching categories at Rutgers with 86 games pitched (2nd), 13 saves (5th) and 171 strikeouts (8th). He’s the first RU pitcher selected in the draft since Howie Brey in 2016.
The Scarlet Knights were very thin in the bullpen in 2019, relying heavily on Brito and Steven Acosta to throw a lot of innings. Other than Brito, the rest of the arms have eligibility remaining and should be better next year. The team needs it to avoid breaking down late in the Big Ten schedule.
Others continue to wait
Despite his draft stock getting a major boost in recent weeks, Junior Tevin Murray was not selected. Murray struggled mightily with control earlier in his career and early this year, but it clicked for him midseason and he ended up Second Team All-Big Ten. He could elect to try and sign as a free agent somewhere, but another year on the banks could transform him into a Day 1 or Day 2 pick if he takes another leap.
Tyler McNamara also broke out in 2019. Teams always need catchers and he probably is yet to reach his potential, so he could catch on in a major league organization if he chooses to pursue it. Tyler had more than twice as many hits and runs as a senior than his previous three years combined. His leadership and toughness will also make any organization happy to have him.
Other than Sosa, no other RU commits were chosen. At the moment all are expected on the banks, although that could change as the team continues to search for a new head coach.
More to come on these players and the impact to the program moving forward!