When Manhattan College head baseball coach Jim Duffy cast his net to land his nine-player recruiting class for the upcoming season, he didn’t expect to haul in a class of players from such different backgrounds.
But sometimes not having a definite strategy is the better strategy.
“It wasn’t really planned like that,” said Duffy. “It’s just kind of the way it happened. Manhattan College is kind of a microcosm of Manhattan itself, of New York City. It’s kind of like a melting pot. There’s people of all kinds at Manhattan College, so with the baseball program I guess we can say that, too.”
Duffy’s class consists of three players from New Jersey, a pair from California, and one each from Maine, Indiana, Florida and Connecticut. Six of the recruits are position players along with three pitchers — two of which are coming from the California Junior College ranks.
“It’s kind of a unique class,” Duffy said. “We’ve spread our wings before, but we’re not only spreading our wings down south to Florida (a usual recruiting hot spot for Manhattan), but now we got a couple of California kids coming, and one from Indiana and another from Maine and we still have the Florida connection going.”
The class begins with Will Trochiano, a middle infielder out of Jersey’s Marlboro High School.
“I like him a lot,” Duffy said. “He comes from a great family, is a hard worker, and he’s the type of kid who will really excel in our program. We anticipate him coming in and contributing right away for us.”
Jacob Knop is another middle infield prospect out of Maine.
“He’s a very athletic kid,” Duffy said. “He was a football player and baseball player in high school. He’ll come in as an infielder, but he could transition to the outfield. He’s a strong, athletic kid, and he’s going to be another solid addition.”
Matt Fahey is one of two outfielders Duffy brought into the fold. Fahey played his prep ball at New Jersey’s Rumson Fairhaven High School.
“He has a ton of upside,” Duffy said. “He’s strong and big, about 6-(foot-)4 with long arms and long legs, and an extremely strong arm from the outfield. We’re expecting him to come in and really provide some pop in the middle of the lineup.”
Duffy dipped down to Orlando, Florida, to land his other outfield pickup in Matt Morgan.
“Matt played his travel ball for Chet Lemon’s Juice,” Duffy said of Lemon, a former Chicago White Sox star. “We saw Matt with his travel team up here in the area and we had him on campus and we are really, really fortunate to get him. He’s extremely athletic. It’s going to be hard to keep him off the field.”
The loss of both Tom Cosgrove — a 12th-round pick of the San Diego Padres in the recent Major League Baseball draft — and senior Joey Rocchietti left the Jaspers a little short in the pitching department. To remedy that, Duffy landed two arms in California — Logan Muratalla and Jacob Knight, as well as lefthander Shawn Roop out of Indiana.
Logan is a righthanded pitcher from California, Duffy said. “We’re excited about him coming here. He’s a hard-throwing righty, and he’ll be expected to come in and contribute to our staff right away. And Jacob Knight is another righthander from the junior college ranks in California. We’re excited for those two guys to be coming cross-country, and have an opportunity to come to New York and get their education.”
Ropp wound up as a Jasper after Duffy and his staff got to see him up close and personal at a Manhattan-sponsored baseball event.
“Shawn is a lefthander from Indiana, and he came to one of our camps and showed his skills, and we offered him a roster spot,” Duffy said.
Rounding out the class is first-base prospect Harold Calero from Patterson, New Jersey, and Santiago Riera, a late signee who is an infielder from Connecticut.
“I think it’s a nice well-rounded mix of guys coming from different parts of the country,” Duffy said. “It’s a good thing for Manhattan College.”