The Mets are making room for another Long Islander.
Glen Cove native and Chaminade High School alumnus Joe Suozzi signed a minor-league contract with his hometown team Monday night, according to Boston College, from which Suozzi graduated in May.
“I woke up this morning in a pinch-yourself moment,” he said Tuesday. “Everything in my room is Mets stuff — David Wright posters, Pete Alonso — so it really is a dream come true.”
Suozzi, an outfielder, is the son of Tom Suozzi, a Democrat congressman who represents parts of Long Island and Queens. He is the former Glen Cove mayor and Nassau County Executive.
Mets fandom runs deep for the Suozzis. They have seats from Shea Stadium in their home. Joe’s favorite player as a kid was Wright. He was 8 when he attended Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS against the Cardinals, remembered best for Endy Chavez’s catch, Yadier Molina’s homer and Carlos Beltran’s strikeout looking to end it.
“I was distraught when they lost the game, but it really opened my eyes up to what a beautiful sport baseball is,” Suozzi said.
An undrafted free agent, Suozzi was allowed to sign with any team as of Sunday morning. When John Kosciak, the Mets scout who covers high schools and colleges in Massachusetts, called with a contract offer, Suozzi had to pull over on the side of the road to gather himself, he said.
Suozzi is coming off a strong — if short — senior season. In 15 games before the sports world shut down, he hit .414 with a .471 OBP and .638 slugging percentage, plus 16 RBIs and 14 runs. He also had a 14-game hitting streak.
That marked the end of an unlikely college career. Unrecruited coming out of Chaminade, Suozzi as a freshman tried out for the baseball team at BC outside Boston. But he didn’t make it.
He spent the summer of 2017 working as a lifeguard and playing slow-pitch softball on Long Island. That fall, he tried to walk on again — and this time he was successful.
It didn’t take long for Suozzi to play his way into a bigger role for the Eagles. Midway through the 2018 season, his first, he became a regular in the starting lineup and hit .250. Suozzi took a step forward his junior year (.282 average, .423 slugging) and landed a spot on the ACC All-Tournament Team.
And now he joins the Mets, who are no strangers to welcoming Long Islanders to the team. Steven Matz (Stony Brook, Ward Melville) and Marcus Stroman (Medford, Patchogue-Medford) are staples in the major-league rotation. Anthony Kay (Stony Brook, Ward Melville) and Justin Dunn (Freeport) were climbing the minor-league ranks with the Mets before being traded and making it to the majors with other organizations last year.
This is not the first transaction between the Mets and a Suozzi. Fred Wilpon, Saul Katz, Jeff Wilpon and other members of Sterling Equities — the Wilpon/Katz family business that owns the Mets — donated a combined $26,912 to Tom Suozzi between 2016 and 2018, according to Federal Elections Commission data. There are no records of donations this year.
Now, the younger Suozzi will aim to make a name for himself.
“When I walked on to the Boston College baseball team, I wasn’t satisfied just being a walk-on. I really wanted to play,” Suozzi said. “I think I have that same attitude even amplified now. I don’t just want to say that I’m part of the Mets organization. I want to rise my way up through the organization, and I believe I can do that.”
Other Mets Undrafted Free-Agent Signings
* Cal OF Brandon McIlwain (also played quarterback at Cal and South Carolina to begin his college career)
* South Alabama RHP Drake Nightengale (lists Jacob deGrom as his favorite athlete)
* Central Oklahoma RHP Dylan Hall (spent the first half of his college career at Virginia Tech)
* Lamar RHP Austin Faith (pitched in just four games this season after two years in JUCO)
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