Tournaments | Story | 7/21/2020

Jonathan Santucci: A Student-Athlete

Brett Greenberg        
Photo: Jonathan Santucci (Perfect Game)

MARIETTA, Ga. – Jonathan Santucci is one of the more intriguing players in the 2021 class with his 6-2, 190 pound frame. He is the second ranked outfielder in Massachusetts and the 61st ranked player in the U.S., who is committed to play college baseball at Duke. He is from Leominster, Massachusetts and attends Phillips Academy, a boarding school for high school student athletes and is one the premier academic high schools in the country. Santucci says academics played a big part in his decision to play college ball at Duke.

Santucci primarily plays in the outfield, but also is a big lefty pitcher for his high school team. He made it clear to the Duke coaches that he is willing to play wherever they need him, and coaches will allow him to play both positions. Again, a match made in heaven. He was not always a highly ranked recruit, in fact Santucci says he was not getting any recognition or looks until late last summer.

“Last year, I wasn’t getting the recognition I wanted,” said Santucci. “I went to the Jr. National Showcase late last summer and that’s where I started to get more offers and looks.”

The recruiting process for Santucci initially began during his freshman year summer when he attended a summer baseball camp at Duke. He got to perform in front of the Duke coaching staff and stayed in touch with them until he committed there last September. It was not a hard decision because Duke has been Santucci’s dream school ever since he was a young boy. He says the coaching staff is very personable and also fell in love with the Duke campus. As Duke is one of the premier academic universities in the country, Santucci says he plans on majoring in business and finance because his dad is a financial advisor in Massachusetts.

“Attending Phillips Academy is easily the best decision I have ever made,” said Santucci. “The things I have been taught and the people I have met from all over the world has prepared me for life and to play baseball at the next level.”

Santucci also mentioned that he is eager to get back to school for his senior year and compete for a championship with his teammates. He was unable to compete in his junior year season due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Originally, he was supposed to head down to Florida with his Phillips Academy team to compete in a spring training season before summer but was not able to do that. After getting word that his season was cancelled, Santucci quickly realized that he needed to use this time to get better on his own. He was able to get onto a field almost every day and work on his fielding as well as throwing long toss daily in order to keep his arm in shape and being in condition for the summer season. He acknowledged that he is lucky to have been playing for a month now, because all of his friends from up north have not been able to get onto a field.

“I have been working on getting my legs stronger,” said Santucci. “My dad also owns a batting cage facility near my house, so I was able to hit almost every single day during the quarantine.”

The fact that he has only been playing competitive baseball for a month, Santucci is focusing on a couple of things in particular to improve upon before he heads back to high school. He says getting hitting reps is his biggest focus because he was not able to see any live pitching during the high school season.

“I just want to get as many at bats as I can and get the most experience possible,” said Santucci. “I have seen great pitchers and unbelievable competition in my short time down here so I am excited about that because it will make me a better player.”

In 17 games, Santucci has forced 14 base on balls while maintaining a .393 batting average. He says it has been a combination of being patient at the plate and not getting a pitch to hit that has allowed him to get on base so often. He also mentioned he has been seeing the ball exceptionally well, something he attributed his success to. He has film of Robinson Cano and Ken Griffey Jr. in order to watch their swings and see how they approach at bats.

When he is not playing baseball or training, Santucci spends time with his friends, something he believes is very important because it is good to get away from the game every once in a while. He also mentioned that staying up late playing XBOX allows him to talk with teammates that he has not seen in months.

Santucci offered some advice to those younger: “Just try to get better every day. Keep doing what you’re doing because the small things will take care of the big things.”

Jonathan Santucci and the rest of the Team Elite Scout Team look to win their final game of pool play before bracket play, which begins Wednesday, June 22nd.

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