After seven years of some ups and some downs, Jeremy Gigliotti's lifelong dream has finally come true.
Gigliotti, formerly of Pleasant Valley High School and East Stroudsburg University, was drafted in the 19th round (593rd overall) by the San Diego Padres in the 2011 Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft on Tuesday. The selection made him the highest pick in school history.
The Saylorsburg native was actually out golfing when he received 'the call.'
"I froze," Gigliotti said. "I got a call from a scout and my phone said Andrew Salvo from the Padres was calling. I got really excited and froze. My brother had to tell me to pick it up.
"I picked it up and he said 'Hey, this is Andrew. I just want to congratulate you. We picked you up in the 19th round. I will give you your itinerary soon and let you know when you are leaving.'"
Coming off of shoulder surgery in 2010, Gigliotti rebounded in a major way and made the most of his senior season at ESU. The left-hander tied or set single-season school records for hits allowed per nine innings (4.6), batting average against (.151) and shutouts (3). His 1.04 ERA ranked him third in all of Division II baseball and it was the lowest average at ESU since 1985. In fact, up until his last game in the Atlantic Regional Gigliotti carried a seasonal ERA of 0.69.
Gigliotti also had elbow surgery back in his days at Pleasant Valley, but it was work on a bone plate and had nothing to do with any ligaments or tendons. Six years and one surgery later, the PSAC East and Atlantic Region Pitcher of the Year admitted that the long journey has made the whole process a little bit sweeter.
"It was hard to come back from the second surgery," said Gigliotti. "Obviously I had to take a medical red shirt (in 2010). I thought I was ready and I wasn't. It was a great decision to red shirt. Now having somebody interested in me because of my senior season is great. I guess I came back as best as I ever could.
"I didn't think a season like this would have come about at all. And now getting drafted is still an outer body experience for me. I still don't know what is even happening."
On top of his amazing 2011 numbers, Gigliotti also has the pleasure of saying that he has thrown a no-hitter. On May 9th, he struck out ten batters and walked just two en route to blanking Mansfield, 2-0. It was a day Gigliotti will never forget.
"It was my first no-hitter ever at any level," said Gigliotti. "I had a lot of one and two hitters that got broken up late in games. The funny thing is that some of the kids on my team didn't even know it. After the last strikeout my catcher gave the ball to the umpire and had no clue.
"It was an exciting atmosphere. Once I got the last strikeout the fans went crazy. Even the Mansfield players came out and clapped for me. I thought that was nice."
Gigliotti is in the top four in ten different career pitching categories at ESU and holds the all-time record for strikeouts (238) and starts (tied at 39). His career batting average against (.225) is the lowest since 1991. Other eye-popping stats include his ERA (3.31), wins (18), shutouts (4) and strikeouts-per-nine innings (9.8).
Some other notable accomplishments from Gigliotti's senior season included pitching seven complete games, having a 5.7 strikeout-to-walk ratio (80:14), allowing zero homeruns, and surrendering five-or-fewer hits in eight of his tens starts.
Last Friday Gigliotti flew into Peoria, Arizona and has since started workouts with the Padres' rookie league team.
The full video interview with Gigliotti can be seen at: http://sportssanctuary.blogspot.com