A college reliever with an ERA north of 5.00 and just 19 1/3 innings as a junior isn't likely to be a first-round pick, and might not be drafted at all, unless there are extenuating circumstances. In the case of Maryland reliever Mike Rescigno, there are extenuating circumstances.
Rescigno is a converted corner infielder. He was primarily a position player, showing the potential for the power and arm strength required of a collegiate third baseman. Because of his arm strength, Rescigno was given the chance to pitch.
"I pitched my junior year (in high school) a little bit just cause I could throw the ball faster than most kids could," he said. "Then my senior I started a couple games."
As a result, the Terrapins recruited Rescigno as a two-way player. In his freshman year in 2014, Rescigno did not pitch, but he did earn 83 at-bats and he batted .241. As a rising sophomore, Rescigno went 8-for-56 in the New England Collegiate Baseball League, though he did have four extra-base hits.
Then, during his sophomore season in 2015, Rescigno decided to transition to pitching full-time, a move that had recently paid off for 2014 teammate Jake Stinnett.
Stinnett had shown power as an underclassman before becoming exclusively a pitcher. Pitching with a fringe-average fastball, he was selected in the 29th round of the 2013 draft as a junior, but he chose to return to Maryland for his senior season. A year later, Stinnett blossomed in a starting role, and his velocity ticked up into the mid-90s. The Cubs then picked him in the second round of the 2014 draft.
"He was the same thing I was, a converted infielder with a good arm who made the conversion," Rescigno said.
When Baseball America had eyes on Rescigno in March, his fastball checked in at 89-91. Scouts reported seeing mostly low 90s velocity from him throughout the spring. Rescigno also threw a 12-to-6 curveball that showed promising shape but was still in its nascent stages. He's added a slider, but says that he mainly works off of his fastball and curveball.
This summer, pitching for the Baltimore Redbirds of the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League, Rescigno has enjoyed rapid growth. His fastball velocity has ticked up into the mid-90s and he's improved his command. In nine appearances this summer, Rescigno has tossed 12 innings, struck out 13, walked two and surrendered just one run on 10 hits.
The righthander was a 25th round pick of the Giants in this year's draft, and will have to make a decision in the coming days about whether he'll sign, with the signing deadline on Friday.
"We're still talking. We're still working it out," Rescigno said. "I have a couple more days to decide and we'll go from there."
Rescigno will have the opportunity to showcase his new stuff on Wednesday, when he's scheduled to pitch in the Ripken League All-Star Game, an event that is annually well-attended by Mid-Atlantic area scouts. If Rescigno shows well there and chooses not to sign, he could be a prominent prospect in next year's draft if his newfound stuff proves to be more than a flash in the pan.