RALEIGH — Appalachian State senior Rob Marcello wasn't drafted out of Royal Palm Beach (Fla.) High. He wasn't drafted out of Indian River State (Fla.) JC as a teammate of Padres 2011 first-rounder Cory Spangenberg. And he wasn't drafted as the Mountaineers' Sunday starter last year, after the 6-foot-3, 245-pound lefthander went 6-5, 5.31 with 48 strikeouts and 30 walks over 83 innings.
This year, his role has changed and has boosted his draft stock. Marcello is now in the closer's role, a move that has boosted his fastball into the 91-93 mph range and getting as high as 95.
"When I came in, I wanted strength in that 'pen and I saw him do some things a couple nights, where he was 90-92 and if he was really going to move forward, that was his ticket," Appalachian State head coach Billy Jones said. "But it had to be his idea because he's a high energy guy. He's a work in progress in that role because he's never had that role. So if he can develop that role for us, that's nice to know he's down there. My hat's off to him for accepting that role."
The move also pairs nicely with Marcello's aggressive demeanor on the mound.
"I think the move fits me well," Marcello said. "I like going out there, I like having the ball and I like being that guy."
Marcello got the save today against North Carolina State, pitching a perfect ninth inning with one strikeout.
"It felt great," Marcello said. "The ball came out of my hand great. No complaints. I think our coaches really set us up for perfection. The way they coach us, the way they got us in and out, and we got the job done. I'm proud of my team and I'm proud to go out there and get the save for my team."
While the size, velocity and mound presence are intriguing to scouts, how high Marcello goes in the draft will depend on whether he can improve his below average breaking ball and harness his control.
Below is video of the final out in the game, Marcello striking out North Carolina State outfielder Bryan Adametz.
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