BOSTON (CBS) — The dream of becoming a Major League ballplayer is within reach for one North Andover teenager.
The sound of the ball hitting the catcher’s mitt is what has baseball scouts breaking out their radar guns and paying a lot of attention to a local prospect.
Central Catholic senior Steven Hajjar is a 6-foot-4 lefty who throws 90-plus.
“He’s blessed with tools, and with that, comes responsibility to be able to carry himself like a young adult,” Central Catholic head coach Marc Pelletier said of the young man.
Hajjar is projected to go around the seventh round in the June 4 MLB Draft. But first and foremost, despite all the hoopla, the kid has his head on straight.
“I don’t think of myself as anything more than just a high school baseball player at this point,” Hajjar told WBZ-TV. “I just try to approach everything the same. I don’t think of myself as bigger than I am right now. I just go out and play every day. I’m not going to get cocky because if you try to do that, the game will humble you.”
Hajjar does understand that he has an opportunity, and it’s something he shouldn’t let go to waste. There are not many who throw this hard.
“Being able to throw it by some guys in so many counts, it gives you a lot of confidence. And sometimes, you can feel the ball come out of your hand and it feels pretty fast. That feels good, I guess,” Hajjar says with a giant smile.
“Until you step into the box and actually see what a 90 MPH fast ball is — it explodes,” said Pelletier. “It’s a heavy ball. He throws a great slider and a great change-up to take that difference in miles per hour off. … I don’t know if you want to dig in.”
But every good pitcher needs a good catcher — the peanut butter and jelly theory. Hajjar has quite the battery mate in Dom Keegan, who he’s known since little league and the trust is always there.
“We’ve been together since we were nine years old, so he knows that if I go to a pitch and he’s unsure about it, he can call me off,” said Keegan. “It’s his game and because we’ve been together for so long, it’s like the chemistry has always been there.”
“It’s good to have him there,” said Haijar. “A lot of time I’ll have a pitch in my hand he will throw down the sign. So we are just on the same page.”
Central Catholic will finish out their solid baseball season and Hajjar will see where he goes in the draft next month. He’s also committed to Michigan, where he committed as a junior, if he needs to wait on his MLB draft.
Meanwhile, Keegan is off to college next year and will play ball at Vanderbilt.