Two MLB rookies from SWFL set to make Spring Training debut

Spring training is an exciting time of year for many reasons, but for SWFL products Sam Keating and Jeffrey Passantino, it has always been about being a fan.

After getting drafted last summer, however, it now means it’s time to go to work.

“It’s nice to get back and get back in the swing of things. I always say once the first of the year rolls around it’s kinda baseball time,” said Chris Sale, an FGCU alum.

Sale appears at ease, but this isn’t his first spring training. It is, however, the first spring training for Keating and Passantino.

“I felt for sure like I belonged. I still feel like I belong so I’m just excited to get out there and get going,” said Passantino.

Keating was a San Diego Padre right out of high school, foregoing his initial plan to play for Clemson.

“It kind of hits you in the face and you realize I’ve got to put some work in a little more than I used to be doing but definitely I’ve learned a lot from it and I’m excited,” Keating said.

As for Passantino, he’s joining an established franchise in the Chicago Cubs. He was the final pick in the 2017 MLB draft.

“I got drafted and that’s what matters. Mr. Irrelevant is just a funny little title I get at the end of the day and it’s nothing really more than that. I got drafted. It’s my dream and it’s coming true,” he said.

The best piece of advice both young players received echo one another:

“Just be myself.”

Reporter:Andrew Keesee