Telecommunication’s Josh Palacios is set up for a big finish to his senior baseball season after an injury-plagued start.
The Stony Brook-committed centerfielder is back in the running to be picked in this spring’s Major League Baseball first-year player draft. The Yellow Jackets are unbeaten in league play and is one of the favorites to win the city title after losing in the Public School Athletic League semifinals last season.
“A lot of people thought what we did last year was a fluke,” Palacios said. “I believe the statement that we made in the PSAL so far shows them that it’s not a fluke. This is a team that’s contending — a team to reckon with.”
The speedy Palacios, a five-tool player with a cannon for an arm, had to wait until the seventh game of the regular season to hit the field due to a preseason ankle injury. Palacios said it hurt not to be on the field with his teammates, but it also pushed him to be ready when his time came.
“It didn’t make me worry too much. Still, there is always a little bit of doubt. But doubt is what makes you want to work harder and come back better,” he said.
Palacios, who has a 3.0 grade point average, returned to the field and is having the best season of his career so far. He is hitting .692 in eight league games in 26 at bats. Palacios has scored 12 runs, driven in 14 and has struck out just once. He went 5-for-5 with two home runs and hit for the cycle in a win over Franklin D. Roosevelt.
“What a difference,” Telecom coach Ed D’Alessio said. “He’s an all-city player. He’s playing like an all-city player. He’s trying to carry the team.”
His tremendous play brought the professional scouts back to Telecom last week. D’Alessio, who believes Palacios is draftable, said the Detroit Tigers, Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies have shown interest.
The Tigers, which signed Palacios’s uncle Rey in 1982, sent former Yankees general manager Gabe Paul to check him out. More teams will be coming out soon according to D’Alessio. Palacios said their presence doesn’t distract him.
“There’s no difference,” he said. “They’re not pitching to me. I’m just doing what I usually do.”
Palacios hopes that will be good enough to earn Telecom a city title and leave him with the choice of playing college baseball or going right to the pros at the end of the season.
“It will be pretty tough [to decide],” Palacios said “We all have our dreams and our goals.”
Right now he’s well on his way to accomplishing them.Reach reporter Joseph Staszewski at jstaszewsk