Most top baseball pitching prospects starred as their high school ace before being drafted; no matter what role they ultimate assume in pro ball. Not James Pugliese.
The right-hander grew up in New Jersey and attended Steinert High School. Instead of starting, he was the team’s dominant closer.
Following graduation, Pugliese enrolled at Mercer County Community College in New Jersey. His talent was so apparent that the team decided to convert him into a starter. It turned out to be a great decision for everyone involved.
Pugliese spent just one season with Mercer, but it was one for the ages. He went 6-2 in 65.2 innings with a 1.51 ERA in 2011. He also struck out 77 batters while walking 25. He seemed to get stronger as the season went on, as during one 40.1 inning stretch, he allowed just 16 hits and three earned runs.
Pugliese’s college repertoire included a low-90s fastball, changeup, slider and, surprisingly, a knuckleball. (more…)
Filed under: Down and Dirty - Interviews, On the Farm - Prospects | Tagged: Chicago Cubs, Interview, James Pugliese, Knuckleball, Mercer County Community College, Prospects, Theo Epstein | Leave a Comment »