Long Islanders Make Noise in MLB Draft

Dennis O’Grady of Floral park throws a pitch for the Blue Devils.
dennis ogrady
Dennis O'Grady of Floral park throws a pitch for the Blue Devils.

Another MLB Draft has passed, and once again Long Island has made an impressive showing.

Seven players with Long Island ties have been offered the opportunity to play professional baseball. All are eager to embark on a career in baseball.

In addition to Stony Brook University’s Nick Tropeano and Chaminade’s Matt Colantonio, the other Long Islanders were snatched up in the later rounds of the draft.

Dennis O’Grady—a right-handed starting pitcher from Duke University—was selected by the San Diego Padres in the 34th round. Duke has now had at least one player chosen in the draft for five straight years.

“When my name came up, your heart kind of jumps a little bit,” says O’Grady, who was surrounded by family and friends when the pick was made.

O’Grady attended Archbishop Molloy High School in Briarwood, Queens. The Floral Park native was Duke’s most reliable starter during his senior season and led the Blue Devils in wins, starts and innings pitched. He joins Colantonio in the Padres farm system.

dave kubiak
Dave Kubiak of Southold throws a pitch for the Great Danes.

The Chicago Cubs used their 35th round pick on Northport High School’s Ian Dickson. Dickson is currently a junior at Lafayette College in Easton, Pa.

Though the six-foot, five-inch righty relief pitcher was injured this season, he has tremendous upside with his imposing frame. Dickson is the first Leopards player to be selected in the MLB draft since 1999.

In the 36th round, the Tampa Bay Rays selected University at Albany right-handed starting pitcher Dave Kubiak. Kubiak was born in Southold and played for the prestigious Long Island Titans summer baseball program.

“The Long Island Titans was at the time and still is one of the—if not the best—summer high school baseball programs there is,” says Kubiak.

The six-foot, six-inch senior is the seventh player drafted in Albany history. He led the Great Danes with 73 strikeouts in 82 innings this season.

ian dickson
Ian Dickson of Northport throws a pitch for the Leopards.

Kubiak was a draft prospect last year but feels he matured as a baseball player with an extra year in college. He looks forward to “being a sponge” in absorbing the knowledge of his minor league coaches.

While Tropeano was selected on the second day, his battery mate—junior Pat Cantwell—also received the honor of being drafted. The Baltimore Orioles picked Stony Brook’s catcher in the 39th round.

Also like Tropeano, Cantwell played at West Islip High School. He was honored with a first team All-America East Conference selection this season.

Finally, Adelphi University’s Robert Nixon—another right-handed starting pitcher—was the last Long Island player selected. He was the Cleveland Indians’ 46th round draft choice.

After an 11-2 senior season with a 1.43 ERA, the Ontario native put himself on the map. He leaves Adelphi as the school’s all-time leader in wins (28) and strikeouts (256).

These seven prospects now have a chance to make their hometown proud, after another successful MLB Draft for Long Island.

“Long Island baseball is very up-and-coming right now,” says Kubiak.