By Scott Eddy, Assistant Sports Information Director
Each Friday, GoBonnies.com will have a new feature story about a current student-athlete or coach or member of the Bonnies alumni family. Today's feature takes a look at the rise of St. Bonaventure baseball alumnus Marc Tramuta and his appointment as Director of Amateur Scouting for the New York Mets.
Baseball has taken Marc Tramuta to places that most who love the game could only dream of.
It allowed him to play at the Division I level at St. Bonaventure University, then it took him to the professional ranks after being drafted in the 1991 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft. After his playing days were through, the game became his career – first as an assistant coach with the Bonnies, then working as a MLB scout.
The game recently took Tramuta to a new place – to his new role as Director of Amateur Scouting for the New York Mets. The position is a promotion for Tramuta who previously served as the Mets Assistant Scouting Director and National Crosschecker. In 2014, he was honored as the Crosschecker of the Year by Mid-Atlantic Scouts Association (MASA) for his role as a roving, senior scout who reviews prospected flagged by area scouts. He previously served as a national crosschecker for the Toronto Blue Jays and was also an area scout for the Baltimore Orioles.
"I'll have more on my plate now managing a staff of 18 area scouts and six crosscheckers throughout the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico," Tramuta said. "I'm trying to see as many of the Top 100 players in the country – high school, college and junior college. Other responsibilities include guiding the staff in terms of our evaluations and all information pertaining to the players."
Once one of those young players that he now scouts looking for the next stars of the game, Tramuta played at Bonaventure from 1988-91. He became the first player to play for head coach Larry Sudbrook to hear his name called on draft day, being selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 45th round of the 1991 draft after making the Bonnies squad his freshman year as a walk-on.
Later, he returned to Bona as an assistant baseball coach. He has fond memories of his days in Brown and White and keeps in close contact with many of his former teammates.
"Coach Sudbrook had the biggest impact on me during my time at Bonas. He was hard on us, but he was fair," Tramuta emphasized. "He made me a better player and a better coach and I still carry with me the baseball knowledge I learned at St. Bonaventure."
In his new role, Tramuta will communicate directly with Mets general manager Sandy Alderson and other front office members regarding the team's potential draft picks.
During his career in scouting, Tramuta has been a part of the selection of current Major Leaguers such as Noah Syndergaard, Marcus Stroman, Anthony DeScalfani, Danny Farquar, Daniel Norris and Michael Conforto. Many of the Mets top prospects also were brought into the system under Tramuta's advisement.
The Fredonia native will be key to the Mets draft plan this summer once again – one team executives have been working on since last June's draft.
"Really it never ends," he says of the preparation, adding that he and other scouts visit summer high school showcases and summer baseball leagues around the country as well as Team USA College and 18-Under teams. Scouts then create reports on prospects they deem draft-worthy with those player reports going into a Mets database of draft-eligible players with notes from area scouts overseeing different parts of the nation. Area scouts report on players with certain grades, signaling regional and national crosscheckers to watch for their impressions. Tramuta now sits at the top of that chain of command.
For fans who have read "Moneyball," some of the ins and outs of amateur baseball scouting might be familiar. But there's more that goes into formulating a draft plan than most fans ever imagine. Unlike some other major sports, baseball requires scouts to project what players might be five or more years down the road and how a teenager could develop on a long road through the Minor Leagues.
"With hitters, we look at bat speed, strength, length of swing, exit velocity, how the player's hands and eyes work together, their ability to center the ball, pitch recognition and plate discipline," Tramuta described. "Pitchers, velocity and life to the fastball, ability to spin a curve or slider, their control and command, but also very important are the delivery and arm action.
"We have a very detailed report on the makeup of the player. The journey through the Minor Leagues can be a long one, so it's important to draft kids with a certain makeup, dedication and work ethic."
And analytics, which have changed the face of the game over the past decade, also play a role.
"I'm a believer in analytics and have been for many years," Tramuta said. "Evaluation of players has evolved and every club is trying to gain an advantage. Sandy Alderson was basically the first baseball executive to bring Sabermetrics to the forefront of player evaluation. We are investing in 18-to-21-year-olds, so why wouldn't you explore all of the information you can find?"
If the task of keeping tabs on a nation's worth of baseball players coming out of high school and college sounds like hard work, that's because it is. Tramuta says he spends over 200 days a year on the road, including 25 days per month from February through August. He credits the sacrifice of his wife, Tanya, and daughters Callie and Gia along with his parents, Janice and Joey, for him being able to rise through the ranks of professional baseball.
"All of them put up with a lot and sacrifice in order to let me chase this game," he says. "There's a lot of hotels and iPad FaceTime."
While Tramuta travels the country scouring baseball fields for the next top prospects, he looks back on the place where it all started with fond memories.
"I was just on a group text conversation the other day with former teammates and as usual it was hysterical," he says. "We went around with a bunch of stories from our playing days. It's amazing to see what a lot of my teammates have accomplished, from baseball to politics to business and finance. I'm very proud to say that I went to St. Bonaventure."
Do you have a suggestion for a GoBonnies.com Feature Friday story? Email Scott Eddy, Assistant Sports Information Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.