One of the strongest, deepest and most successful programs in Central New York high school baseball is now linked with one of professional baseball’s most celebrated and tradition-rich franchises.
It happened Monday when former Baldwinsville standout Jason Savacool, who just finished his junior season at the University of Maryland, was selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in the sixth round of the 2023 Major League Baseball Draft.
When Savacool left B’ville in 2020, he did so as one of the most successful pitchers in the program’s history, a real feat given that Jason Grilli, Scott Blewett and many others have starred on the mound for the Bees.
Of the 20 decisions Savacool had in high school, 17 were wins, 11 were complete games and four were shutouts, including a no-hitter. He struck out 245 batters and walked just 48, compiling a 1.34 earned run average.
Even in a 2020 season eliminated by the COVID-19 pandemic, Savacool was named the Gatorade New York State Player of the Year and was also a part of the Under-18 United States national team.
Savacool immediately had an impact, with a team-best seven wins and 52 strikeouts in 72 1/3 innings, garnering first-team Big Ten All-Freshman honors. He got the starting nod in the Terrapins’ NCAA tournament opener against Charlotte.
Things got even better in 2022. Pitching 107 2/3 innings, Savacool amassed 123 strikeouts, going 8-3 in 17 starts and achieving a career-best 2.93 ERA as Maryland won the Big Ten championship.
During his junior year, Savacool struggled at first, but with a mid-season mechanical adjustment to his delivery was able to have some strong starts late in the spring.
Maryland again won the Big Ten in 2023 and again reached the NCAA tournament, where the Terps were eliminated in the regional round by no. 1-ranked Wake Forest, who was ousted the College World Series semifinals by eventual champion LSU.
Now Savacool, drafted 185th overall, could receive a signing bonus in excess of $300,000 if he forgoes his senior year and goes right to the Cardinal organization.
For nearly a century, the Cardinals have won as much as anyone in the National League, winning 11 World Series championships (second only to the New York Yankees’ 27) and 19 league titles.
The Cardinals last won a World Series title in 2011 in seven games over the Texas Rangers, but has appeared in the post-season all but two times since, though St. Louis is currently in last place in the NL Central division.