Kevin Magee credits St. John’s coach after Orioles draft him in Round 9

Kevin Magee came to the St. John’s baseball team in 2014 with a point to prove, but he leaves this spring with an opportunity to fulfill his dream of playing professional baseball.

The 6-2, 210-pound southpaw from Pompton Lakes, New Jersey, became the first New York City collegiate player selected in the 2018 MLB Draft, when he was grabbed in the ninth round (265th overall) by the Baltimore Orioles on June 5. He has reported to the team’s rookie camp in Sarasota, Florida, and will likely begin his pro career either with the franchise’s Gulf Coast League affiliate or with Aberdeen in the New York-Penn League.

Not bad for a kid who wasn’t highly recruited coming out of Pompton Lakes High School. Magee was one of six Johnnies taken in this year’s draft, along with righthander Michael Lopresti (Round 18, Pittsburgh Pirates), second baseman Josh Shaw (19, St. Louis Cardinals), third baseman John Valente (21, Detroit Tigers), outfielder Jamie Galazin (22, Chicago Cubs) and catcher Robert Boselli (37, Cincinnati Reds).

“I envisioned having a chance of playing pro ball by going to St. John’s,” Magee told amNewYork from Florida. “Coach [Ed] Blankmeyer is a Hall of Fame coach, and he inspires all of his players to pursue a professional career.”

Still, Magee’s journey wasn’t easy. St. John’s was the only Division I school to offer the hurler a scholarship, even after he posted a 27-4 record and 1.26 ERA for back-to-back Passaic County high school champions. After missing most of his freshman and sophomore seasons in Queens due to injury, he was able to make 23 starts over his last season-plus with the Red Storm, pitching to an 11-4 record and 2.59 ERA. With St. John’s eliminated by Clemson from the NCAA regionals on June 3, he finished his senior season with 92 strikeouts (10th on the program’s all-time single-season list) and earned second-team All-Big East honors.

Off the field, he was a member of the school’s prestigious President’s Society, an honor for academic achievement. A homeland security major, Magee had applied for a job with U.S. Customs and Border Protection. He was awaiting a response to his application when he was drafted by Baltimore.

Those plans have been put on hold, for now, while he pursues his major league dreams.

“St. John’s absolutely helped me get to the next level,” he said. “The coaching staff instills a disciplined, well-organized, fun and competitive approach to our workouts that allows players to grow both on and off the field.”