The Magnificent 7: Pat-Med's Josh Knoth leads talented list of LI pitchers
The scouts will be watching and pointing their radar guns in the direction of a 6-foot senior righthander wearing a Patchogue-Medford uniform. Odds are, they’re going to like what they see.
Josh Knoth lives in the 90s with his fastball and can team it with a sharp slider. It’s the kind of stuff that can leave hitters swinging at air.
Long Island high school baseball is blessed this season with talented arms, and Knoth is at the head of the class.
He has committed to Ole Miss in the SEC, but he could very well be a high-round selection in July’s MLB Draft.
His 2022 season came with 107 strikeouts and just six walks in 48 innings. His ERA was tiny at 1.02. His WHIP? Tinier. Try 0.39. He threw a perfect game against Riverhead, complete with 20 strikeouts.
And he won the Yastrzemski Award, the prize given to Suffolk’s most outstanding player.
“What makes him so good is his rare blend of natural talent, work ethic and composure [beyond] his years,” Pat-Med coach Anthony Frascogna wrote in a text. “He has been focused on improving on his 2022 performance.”
Here are six more seniors among the many outstanding area pitchers to watch:
CHRIS BATUYIOS, Mt. Sinai
Batuyios has dreamed about being a major leaguer since he started playing baseball at the age of 8.
And he’s a pitcher who’s a Yankees fan.
Let’s connect the dots: Would this St. John’s commit like to be pitching one day in pinstripes?
“I would love to,” Batuyios said. “I’ll take any team, obviously.”
The 6-foot righthander went 7-2 with a 0.86 ERA and 72 Ks last season for Mount Sinai.
He said he has thrown his fastball up to 95 mph, which goes with a slider and then a changeup “to throw them off the speed.”
Batuyios said the goal is “to go two years at St. John’s and try to get drafted out of there.”
JT CARUSO, Mt. Sinai
Caruso has committed to the “U,” as in Miami, as in the place where his personal pitching coach since age 8, Neal Heaton, starred between his Sachem High days and his 12 seasons throwing in the majors.
“I sent videos down to Miami, Neal did, and they really liked it, and they gave me a lot of [scholarship] money,” Caruso said. “I just want to break Neal’s records at Miami.”
The 6-4, 180-pound lefty, who’s also a centerfielder, posted a 4-1 record with a 2.60 ERA in 2022 for Mount Sinai.
“I have lots of confidence in all my pitches,” said Caruso, who also hit .466. “I love battling.”
His velocity has hit 92 mph.
“I’ve been working on my mechanics,” Caruso said. “I put on 25 pounds this offseason. I’ve really seen it in my velocity and all my pitches and my mechanics.”
BRADY CLARK, Bayport-Blue Point
Clark is a Hansen Award-winning quarterback and a very good forward in basketball. But baseball is his thing.
“It was probably what I always saw myself doing past the high school level,” Clark said. “It was the first sport I started playing. It’s always been my favorite.”
He’s good at it, too. The 6-2 righthander topped out at 89 mph last summer after going 6-3 with a 0.91 ERA for Bayport-Blue Point.
“I feel like I kind of know how to pitch more than just stuff,” said Clark, also a first baseman who batted .373 with 30 RBIs.
Clark has committed to pitch for St. John’s. He cited several reasons: It’s close; he built a relationship with pitching coach George Brown; he knows other area players going there; and he likes the program.
Oh, and because of basketball.
“I’m a big fan of the basketball team, and I always have been,” Clark said. “So it’s kind of like a school I’ve always seen myself trying to get to."
JASON DECARO, St. Anthony’s
DeCaro received some nice news in December. Baseball America named him as the 52nd-best high school draft prospect in the country.
It was something he earned.
“Honestly, to me, it just means that my work has been paying off and that people are starting to realize that,” DeCaro said. “I always believe in myself, and so it’s good to finally see other people realizing that I can go out there and compete with the best in the country.”
The 6-5, 225-pound righthander from East Northport went 3-3 with a 3.02 ERA last season for St. Anthony’s. He was throwing 92-93 mph last fall. He’s hoping to reach 95-96 this spring.
DeCaro has spoken to 15-20 major-league scouts. But he will have a choice to make if he’s drafted: Go pro or go pitch for UNC.
“It’s a decision that me and my family have to sit and talk about,” DeCaro said. “But the idea of that happening is very exciting and the possibility is definitely real.”
ANDREW KOSHY, Kellenberg
The delivery by Koshy is out of the ordinary. The results can be extraordinary.
“I have a weird arm angle, low three-quarters,” Koshy said. “I throw sidearm and have a lot of tail on my fastball, moves horizontally a lot.”
The velocity has really picked up the last few years for the 6-1 righthander from Albertson.
Koshy has gone from throwing 79 mph to 93.
Last year, he pitched to a 1.75 ERA for Kellenberg. He fanned 57 and walked just seven in 36 innings.
Wake Forest wanted him to join the cause. Koshy, who also plays third or first, has committed to pitch for the ACC school.
“The goal in baseball is to obviously go to MLB, to be drafted out of high school or Wake Forest,” Koshy said. “I had a couple [of scouts] at my games recently. And so hopefully [there will be] some more over the spring.”
NICK RIZZO, East Islip
Rizzo can pitch and he can hit.
But what does he like better?
“I’d say definitely pitching,” Rizzo said. “You can control the game.”
The 6-1 lefty has excelled at it for East Islip. He went 6-1 with a 0.87 ERA as a junior.
“I’m able to throw multiple pitches for strikes and control the game at my pace,” Rizzo said.
Rizzo is also a first baseman. He batted .333 season with 18 RBIs in 2022.
But Stony Brook coveted him for his pitching ability. And that’s where he has committed. He praised the program and said he likes that it’s “close to home.”
“I feel like I’ve prepared myself well with travel and high school ball,” Rizzo said. “So I think I’ll do well.”