Calhoun alumnus Zach Goldstein, a utility player at Southern New Hampshire University, is anticipating this year's MLB draft, for which he is now elligible.
For Zach Goldstein, 23, of Merrick, the quintessential memory of American youth could be found in the lively landscape of baseball games he attended with his father, David. He recalled the smell of cotton candy with undertones of beer stench and hot dogs. He would relish watching Derek Jeter at Yankee Stadium, and dreamed of stepping onto the same field one day. Goldstein said that his childhood was a mosaic held together by memories of baseball. “I was born to play it,” he added.
Starting with his experience on Merrick’s 9-10-year old Williamsport Little League team, which won the New York State Championship the year he played, Goldstein has gotten used to playing for winning teams. He became the captain of Calhoun High School’s team in Merrick and took the Colts to the New York State Championships in 2012. This success cultivated his dream of playing professionally. His goal may come to fruition this June, as Goldstein, now a utility player at Southern New Hampshire University, is eligible for the Major League Baseball draft.
Goldstein is in his graduate year at SNHU and captain of the school’s baseball team, the Penmen. He became eligible for the draft his junior year on the team and registered his senior year. SNHU has had 11 players drafted since 2004, five of whom became free agents. A free agent is a player who is eligible for the draft, but not selected by a team.
Goldstein wasn’t recruited his senior year in 2016 and had a decision to make; he could become a free agent or continue to play at SNHU. He had just earned a Bachelor’s degree in sports management, but had no interest in continuing to pursue business. “So I did a 180,” Goldstein said. He began pursuing his graduate degree in counter-terrorism and homeland security, subjects that always interested him. He stayed a Penman and became captain of the team.
Since he became eligible, Goldstein said that his work ethic has spiked. He started training harder, working out more and spent a summer playing for the New England Collegiate Baseball League. Former NECBL players have moved on to join teams such as the Boston Red Sox. “It’s just a matter of putting up numbers and that’s what I’m doing,” Goldstein said. “This year I’m trying to hit 400 so [a team will] have to take me.” A 400, or .400, refers to a player’s batting average and can be determined by dividing the player’s total hits by their total times at bat. According to statistics published by the NCAA, only 34 current collegiate players have earned a .400 batting average or greater. Goldstein’s batting average is now .392.
Goldstein works out at the Professional Athletic Performance Center in Garden City along with other baseball players from Long Island. One of these players, Alex Katz, 22, of Herricks, has been a good friend of Goldstein since they played against each other in high school. When Katz was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in 2015, it reaffirmed Goldstein’s goal of playing professionally. “You try to surround yourself with people who have the same work ethic as you,” he said. “[They] want to be where you want to be and have the same goals.”
This year the MLB draft will be held on June 12 by conference call among the 30 Major League Clubs. “I would play for any team that gave me the opportunity,” Goldstein said and added, “But it would be really cool to play for the Yankees. I’d be the hometown kid— it would be a dream come true.”