E.J. Exposito, right, and Brian Fitzpatrick.

E.J. Exposito, right, and Brian Fitzpatrick. Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan, Adam Rubin

It wasn’t an easy week for Long Island natives Brian Fitzpatrick and E.J. Exposito with the MLB Draft approaching, but they both tried to stay confident with a potential life-changing opportunity days away.

The nerves were certainly there as well – and understandably so. They’ve spent countless hours throughout their lives on a diamond trying to perfect their craft. But on draft day, they were powerless. They had to just sit and watch the picks come in, along with thousands of other draft hopefuls.

Luckily, they both received the news they were looking for as Fitzpatrick was drafted in the 10th round (No. 312 overall) by the Brewers on the first day of the MLB Draft on Monday and Exposito was selected in the 16th round (No. 485) by Atlanta on Tuesday.

“You put so much time and so much effort for this moment,” said Exposito, who played two seasons at LIU and one at New York Tech. “And when the day comes, there’s nothing else like it.”

Matt Archer, a Northport native and 21-year-old infielder, signed a minor-league contract with the White Sox and Matt Alifano, a Center Moriches High School graduate and 21-year-old infielder, signed with the Phillies after the draft.

Exposito, a shortstop from Central Islip and a 2019 graduate of St. John the Baptist, found out he was drafted while sitting on the couch with his family. The 21-year-old said his family has been instrumental throughout his career and he couldn’t imagine finding out the news any other way.

“It was very special,” Exposito said. “All the struggles I’ve went through during this process, they went through it as well so it was a relief for me and a relief for them. They’ve been right by my side. They’ve been my biggest critics and biggest supporters since Day One.”

Fitzpatrick, a lefthanded pitcher from Port Jefferson and 2018 graduate of St. Anthony’s, said his agent told him there was about a “50/50” chance he’d be selected on the first day of the draft. He was one of the final five picks on Day One.

“It was incredible,” Fitzpatrick said. “It’s a moment I’ll never forget for the rest of my life. As far as my baseball career goes, it was the best moment of my life.”

Fitzpatrick, 22, has dominated on the mound the last 12 months after a rocky start to his college career at Rutgers. The 6-7 southpaw had a 2.37 ERA and 0.84 WHIP with 24 strikeouts over 19 innings in the Cape Cod League in 2021. He brought that success to Rutgers and pitched to a 3.91 ERA and 1.17 WHIP over 23 innings before completely dominating this summer in the Cape Cod League, not allowing a run over 19 innings with a 0.68 WHIP.

“I didn’t want to make any excuses for whatever happened,” Fitzpatrick said. “If I pitched poorly, I owned it and I wore it and it was on me. If I pitched well, the same thing. I wore it and it was on me.”

Fitzpatrick and Exposito both feel they were drafted by stable organizations with a long history of developing prospects and winning at a high level. They both want to be a piece of that history.

“All these guys are professional for a reason, they’ve got it all,” Exposito said. “But if I can bring anything, I can just bring myself. I can bring my personality, I can bring E.J. And whatever they can take from me, they’ll take from me. Whether it’s glove, speed, bat, whatever they need, I’m there for it.”

“I don’t only want to make it to the big leagues, I want to play,” Fitzpatrick said. “I want to be a known player in the big leagues. That’s my goal. And once that happens, there will be a whole new set of goals. But this was a goal that was reached and achieved and now the goal is to make it to the big leagues and play there and stay there.”

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