Biasi earns rookie honor
HAZLE TWP. — If Sal Biasi was back in elementary school and his teacher asked him to do an essay about his summer, he’d have plenty to write about.
From earning All-Big Ten honors at Penn State to getting drafted in the 11th round by the Kansas City Royals to being named the organizaton’s Rookie Pitcher of the Year for his performance for the Burlington, North Carolina, team of the Appalachian League, the former Hazleton Area High School two-sport standout enjoyed a summer to remember.
“There were definitely a ton of new experiences and new opportunities to take advantage of,’’ Biasi said. “I met a lot of great guys and developed some new relationships with people.’’
Biasi was honored Thursday as part of the Royals’ Futures Night program at Kauffman Stadium.
“After my last outing of the season my pitching coach said, ‘You’re most likely to win Rookie of the Year,’ ’’ Biasi said. “I won (the organization’s) Pitcher of the Week multiple times and won the Pitcher of the Month (in August), so I knew winning (the award) was possible . ... It should be a sweet ceremony ... and a fun time.’’
In his first few months as a professional ballplayer, Biasi went 4-2 with a 2.41 ERA, 54 strikeouts and 23 walks as a pitcher with the Royals’ Rookie League teams in Arizona and North Carolina.
“Going out there, I really didn’t throw a change-up in college and I threw tons of change-ups this summer as the developmental part of pro ball,’’ he said. “I learned ... how to pitch to guys and ... about the game in general more and more.’’
Biasi added that working as Penn State’s ace against Big Ten competition last spring prepared him for his first stint as a pro.
“The hardest adjustment was going from a seven-day schedule to a five-day rotation (schedule),’’ he admitted. “It was making sure your arm was ready to go on that fifth day and go out and give your best stuff.’’
Used primarily as a starter, Biasi allowed only 38 hits and 15 earned runs over his first 56 professional innings. Opponents batted just .190 against him.