Waiting a year apparently paid off for Thomas Hackimer.
Hackimer, who was drafted in the 15th round by the New York Mets in 2015, moved up 11 rounds this year. The former Pittsfield Suns closer, who played at St. John's University, was taken in the fourth round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft by the Minnesota Twins. A senior, Hackimer will begin his pro career shortly.
"We'll see what happens as we come down the stretch. As of right now, I'm up here playing up until that point," Hackimer said last summer while he pitched in the Cape Cod League and waited out the Mets.
Hackimer, one of 20 former Futures League players drafted, was one of six college baseball players who have Berkshire County ties taken this past weekend by Major League Baseball teams. The other five were former North Adams SteepleCats.
"There are so many good ball players who go through the NECBL, and we see so much talent," SteepleCats president Dan Bosley wrote on his Facebook page.
One of those many players was due to come to North Adams this summer. Infielder Jim Haley could do what Hackimer did last summer, wait out the team that drafted him, or he could sign. Haley, who moved from shortstop to third base at Penn State, was taken in the 19th round by Tampa Bay. He was the only former SteepleCats player to go before the 30th round.
Pitcher Doug Willey from the University of Arkansas was taken in the 32nd round by the Los Angeles Angels. If his school is unfamiliar, it is because Willey pitched at Franklin Pierce when he played for North Adams.
Two former SteepleCats were taken in the 34th round — pitcher Jonathan Mulford from Adelphi was selected by St. Louis and outfielder Luke Maglich from South Florida was taken by Philadelphia.
Pepperdine first baseman Brad Anderson was the Angels' 40th-round draft choice, and could start his minor league career with Willey.
These draftees, should they sign, would all be assigned to short-season clubs. Teams have the option to send them to either the Arizona or Florida rookie leagues, or rookie-level, short-season Class A clubs.
Hackimer's first team would likely be the Appalachian League's Elizabethton Twins. Anderson and Willey could end up with the Pioneer League Orem Owlz or in Arizona. Maglich and Haley could end up as rivals in the New York-Penn League.
Philadelphia has a NY-Penn League team in Williamsport where Maglich could play, while Haley would likely go to the Hudson Valley Renegades of the NY-Penn League, a Tampa Bay affiliate. That team is owned by the Goldklang Group, owners of the Pittsfield Suns.
Mulford could end up anywhere from the New York-Penn League to Florida. St. Louis has an NY-P team in State College, Pa., and an Appalachian League team in Johnson City, Tenn. The Cardinals also have a Gulf Coast League affiliate.