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Noah Dean left Pinelands High School as a skinny, 6-foot-2 strikeout artist hoping to make an impression during his college years at Old Dominion University.

Three years later, Dean is leaving Old Dominion a grown man with a 100-mile-per-hour arm and a spot waiting for him in one of the most storied franchises in all of sports.

On Day 2 of the 2022 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, the Boston Red Sox made Dean their fifth-round selection, submitting his name as the No. 159th overall selection of this year's Draft.

Dean is believed to be the first former Pinelands baseball player to ever be selected in the MLB Draft.

Pinelands senior Noah Dean. (Photo by Paula Lopez)
Noah Dean as a senior at Pinelands. (Photo by Paula Lopez)

Dean was a four-year starter at Pinelands and a three-time Shore Conference Class B South All-Division selection while serving as one half of a one-two pitching punch long with current Monmouth University rising junior Joey Ventresca. In his senior season, Dean led the Shore Conference with 12.35 strikeouts-per-seven-innings while going 3-2 with a 2.68 ERA, 60 strikeouts and 22 walks in 34 innings.

Upon arriving at Old Dominion, Dean made an immediate impression. He struck out 12 with two walks in 5 1/3 scoreless, hitless innings before the 2020 season was halted due to the COVID-19 outbreak. By the time he reached 2021, Dean was up to 100 miles-per-hour with his fastball and struck out 44 in 21 1/3 innings while posting a 4.41 ERA and nine saves.

This past spring, the Pinelands grad picked up where he left off last year by striking out 46 in 26 innings en route to putting up a 4.15 ERA and seven saves out of the Monarch bullpen.

Dean is expected to sign and start his professional career, with the expected slot value of the signing bonus for the No. 159th pick estimated at $343,800.

Noah Dean in action at Old Dominion. (Photo: ODU Sports/Stephen Blue, Sideline Media)
Noah Dean in action at Old Dominion. (Photo: ODU Sports/Stephen Blue, Sideline Media)

Monday marked the second time the Red Sox have identified and selected a left-handed pitcher from Ocean County in the draft within the last six years. In 2016, the Red Sox made Barnegat alumnus Jay Groome the highest pick ever out of the Shore Conference when they selected him with the 12th overall pick of that year's Draft.

Dean and Groome never faced each other as opposing pitchers, but Dean did pitch against Barnegat as a freshman during Groome's senior year at Barnegat in 2016.

Dean's scouting report highlights his premium velocity from the left side of the pitching rubber and enters pro ball with a breaking ball that is best classified as a slurve with the potential to become a sweeping slider -- an en-vogue pitch in the Majors right now, particularly for relief pitchers.

By pitching at Old Dominion and hearing his name in the draft, Dean follows in the footsteps of a group of Monarchs players that went before him, most noteworthy two-time Cy-Young-Award-winner, 2011 American League MVP and Houston Astros right-hander Justin Verlander.


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