Baseball scouts call them five-tool players - athletes who can run, throw, hit for average, hit for power and excel defensively.
Tussey Mountain High School outfielder Jordan DeLuca developed all those assets during a four-year high school baseball career that saw him attract attention from professional baseball scouts and college baseball programs.
On Wednesday, DeLuca fulfilled a personal dream when he was selected in the 47th round of the Major League Baseball draft - as the 1,412th overall pick in the draft - by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec
Tussey Mountain’s Jordan DeLuca was in school Wednesday when the Pirates called to inform his family of their selection.
"They've always been my favorite team,'' DeLuca said of the Pirates. "I've always been a fan. This is very, very exciting.''
The 6-foot-1, 175-pound DeLuca had a private tryout with Pirates regional scouting supervisor Rob Guzic two weeks ago at McConnellsburg High School - "I threw, hit and ran a 60-yard dash,'' DeLuca said - and impressed Guzic enough to get a call from the Pirates Wednesday morning informing him that he had been drafted.
"The Pirates called my cell phone at around 11 o'clock in the morning, and I didn't get the message because I was still in school,'' DeLuca said. "I didn't find out until around 4 p.m., when my parents [Charles and Jeannie] notified me.''
Tussey Mountain baseball coach Rob Reed, who brought DeLuca up to the Titans' varsity as a freshman and coached him all four seasons, said that DeLuca brings plenty of baseball skills to the table.
"He has developed into a very good all-around player,'' Reed said. "His biggest attributes are his speed and his arm, but he also runs real well, and he has developed into a good all-around hitter who has been hitting with more power.''
DeLuca hit .490 (25-for-51) in his senior season this spring, with six homers, five doubles, a triple, 34 RBIs, and 24 runs scored. DeLuca, who can run the 60-yard dash in 6.4 seconds, collected 96 hits in four seasons at Tussey Mountain, and carded a .569 batting average last year as a junior.
DeLuca had originally committed to play collegiate baseball at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, but isn't sure what his next move will be now.
"I'm going to talk things over with my parents and go from there,'' he said. "This all really hasn't hit me just yet.''
DeLuca said the prospect of someday playing baseball for the Pirates' Class AA affiliate Altoona Curve at Blair County Ballpark would be "a huge honor.''
Reed said that DeLuca has drawn the attention of some major league scouts for quite some time.
"We knew that there had been some teams showing interest in him,'' Reed said. "He had been on the radar for some teams. We certainly hoped that he would be selected. He's a kid who has put in a lot of hard work, and this is a nice reward for him.''
DeLuca said his pro workouts have always gone well, but he was still delighted and surprised when the Pirates came calling Wednesday.
"I thought it was a huge honor just to be doing the showcases [tryouts],'' DeLuca said. "I really didn't know if anything was going to come through or not.''
DeLuca, who was also a basketball standout at Tussey Mountain, is playing baseball this summer for the Red Bull team in the Greater City Baseball League's AAABA division.
Along with DeLuca, three other players with area ties who were picked in the Major League Baseball draft. They included pitcher Nick Gillung of Mercyhurst College, who played for the Johnston Realty team in the Altoona AAABA and was selected in the 19th round (590th overall selection) by the St. Louis Cardinals, and Brook Hart, a former State College Area High School pitcher who was picked in the 23rd round by the Colorado Rockies. Penn State University junior third baseman Jordan Steranka was picked by the Houston Astros in the 30th round.