CARLSBAD — One of Carlsbad High School’s best is now a ranger.
Well, a Texas Ranger. Thomas Saggese, a senior shortstop at CHS, was drafted in the fifth round, the 145th pick, by the Major League Baseball club during the league draft on June 11.
Saggese’s senior season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but he hit .440 with three home runs and nine RBI in seven games. As a junior, Saggese was a force, hitting .422 with 10 homers, 26 RBI and seven stolen bases.
This year’s draft was modified from its usual 40 rounds to just five.
“It was surreal,” Saggese said of being drafted. “It’s been a lifelong dream of mine. I have worked very hard for this and I am so thrilled to get my career started.”
Saggese transferred to Carlsbad High two years ago and became the focal point of the culture and work ethic Lancers coach Jake Savicki wanted to bring to the program.
“Having him around, you just kind of knew,” Savicki said. “He had a real impressive junior year. As it happened last year, everybody felt like they were part of something special.”
With his selection, Saggese is one of the highest draft choice in school history, behind former Anaheim Angels star Troy Glaus, who was selected in the second round by the Padres out of CHS in 1994; and Tom Eshelman, who was picked in the second round by the Houston Astros in 2015.
Saggese has committed to Pepperdine University.
Savicki said his star shortstop should project as a shortstop at the next level, too. The coach, in his seventh year, said Saggese’s arm strength needs a little work, but he is confident that over the next several months or year Saggese will improve in that area.
While Saggese is described as a grinder who puts in long hours after practice and games, Savicki said the game comes naturally to the teenage prodigy. The effort Saggese puts in, the coach said, is due to the love of the game.
And while Saggese is riding high, MLB and the players union are at a crossroads and the 2020 season is in jeopardy due to the pandemic. Additionally, Minor League Baseball, which is independent of MLB, has released hundreds of players and its 2020 season is also in jeopardy, according to an ESPN report.
Saggese saw his pro stock skyrocket over the past year, with some publications and baseball pundits projecting he would be drafted as high as the third round.
“He’s a baseball guy and has everything else,” Savicki said. “For a program, it’s fun for us. We’re real proud of him.”