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Allen Lessels' On Baseball: The journey begins for NH minor leaguers
The next group of New Hampshire standouts looking to work its way through the minor leagues and ideally up to Major League Baseball gets down to the business of playing for pay this week.
All three had their names called last Saturday in baseball's draft and went to Florida to their organization's spring training headquarters within a few days and by midweek all three had signed.
McGowan, a 6-foot-6 and 215-pound right-handed pitcher, and Mathieu, a 6-foot-7 and 265-pound first baseman, both were drafted and signed into the New York Mets organization. McGowan was picked in the 13th round and Mathieu in the 16th.
Fransoso was the America East's Player of the year as a senior and led Maine to a 37-22 record and the league's regular season championship.
Mathieu was still at the Mets' spring training site at Port St. Lucie, Fla., on Saturday.
McGowan said he's been told he will likely be a starting pitcher, but the first order of business is to acclimate to a new throwing program and it may be a couple of weeks before he gets into a game.
"The scout who signed me (Chris Kline) said they'd probably keep me there until I proved I couldn't do it," Fransoso said.
"There used to be a lot of critics," he said. "I was too small: I heard that a lot."
He was 5-foot-5 and about 130 pounds early in high school and by the time he was a senior - and helped Portsmouth High School to a second straight undefeated state championship - he was about 5-foot-9 but still only 150 pounds.
For now, Fransoso will take the same approach that led to Player of the Year honors, four home runs and a team-leading 49 runs batted and a .352 batting average this season and an outstanding career.
It's gotten him this far.
"It's been the dream since I was a kid," Fransoso said. "My mother found an English journal from fifth grade and everything in it had to do with baseball. What I liked playing. What I wanted to be doing in 10 years. What I wanted to be when I grew up."
"It didn't really sink in until my Dad dropped me off at the airport and I was flying to Bradenton," Fransoso said.
Fransoso and McGowan and their families are looking forward to when their teams come to Lowell, Mass., to take on the Spinners, the New York-Penn League entry of the Red Sox.
Fransoso and the Jammers are at Lowell July 13, 14 and 15.
McGowan's Cyclones hit Lowell on July 23, 24 and 25.
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Southern New Hampshire University pitchers Junior Mendez, a junior, and Jon Massad, a senior, were picked by the Oakland Athletics in the draft and both have signed.
The New Hampshire Fisher Cats close out a five-game homestand this afternoon at 1:35 against Erie. New Hampshire is due to send right-hander Marcus Stroman (2-1, 4.95 ERA) against righty Warwick Saupold (4-3, 2.56).
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