October 8 - It appears that one of the nation’s top left-handed pitching prospects may have thrown his last pitch as a high schooler.
Nate Savino, the two-time NOVA Nine Team selection from Potomac Falls, is not enrolled at the Sterling school and is participating in what is described as an accelerated degree program with Loudoun County Public Schools. It’s unclear as to exactly when he would graduate and if his intentions are to enroll early for the spring semester at the University of Virginia - which would make him draft-eligible as a three-year college player in 2022 - or continue to train in preparation for the upcoming Major League Baseball Draft in June.
The 6-foot-3, 195-pound left-handed pitcher, rated as the No. 2 prospect nationally by Prep Baseball Report and the No. 4 prospect by Perfect Game, is projected by some as a potential first-round pick. He is reportedly being advised by agent Scott Boras and his representatives.
Potomac Falls coach Joe Terango in addition to Savino and his father, Ron, declined to comment for this story.
After taking some time off after shoulder stiffness cut short his tenure with the USA Baseball 18U National Team, Savino resumed workouts last month at the Pinkman Baseball Academy in Sterling and Rip City’s Power Train Sports Institute in South Riding.
Should he enroll at Virginia and postpone his professional career, Savino would follow a similar path taken by J.B. Bukauskas, another former Loudoun County pitching standout. Bukauskas graduated a year early from Stone Bridge in 2014 and pitched for three years at North Carolina before being taken 13th overall by Houston in 2017. Once enrolled at a four-year school, players are eligible after their junior season or once they turn 21, whichever comes first. In June 2022, Savino will be 20 years and four months old but would have completed his junior season at the Charlottesville school should he enroll for the upcoming semester.
Over his three years with the Panthers, Savino has gone 13-4 with a 1.25 ERA and 220 strikeouts to 45 walks in 112.1 innings, averaging 1.96 strikeouts per inning and posting 10 starts with double-digit strikeouts. He made four starts among eight appearances as a freshman in 2017, compiling a 19-inning scoreless streak and going 3-0 with a 2.96 ERA and 40 strikeouts in 26 innings. During his breakout sophomore campaign, the southpaw tossed a no-hitter with a career-high 19 strikeouts against Broad Run and went on to finish 7-2 with a 0.82 ERA and 109 strikeouts in 51.1 innings.
This past spring, Savino opened the season by fanning 18 in an impressive one-hit shutout of Riverside, needing just 81 pitches while carving up a team that would advance to the Class 4 state final. He would finish 3-2 with a 0.60 ERA and 71 strikeouts to just nine walks in 35 innings.
“Being on the same field with him and seeing how he goes about his business the way he does day-in-and-day-out, both on and off the field, was really a pleasure,” said Andrew Gerhart, his catcher with the Panthers over the past three years who is now playing at the University of Mary Washington. “I can’t wait to see what his future has in store for him.”
A three-year starter in the outfield when not on the mound, Savino finishes his prep career with a .376 batting average and .490 on-base percentage with 23 RBI over his three seasons.
This past spring, the prized left-hander was shut down near the end of the regular season to ensure he’d be rested and healthy for a busy summer. That slate included a stint in the Major League Baseball-sponsored Prospect Development Pipeline (PDP) League in Florida, the MLB High School All-Star Game in Cleveland, the Under Armour All-American Game in Chicago and the Perfect Game All-American Classic in San Diego.
Virginia won the national championship in 2015 and has reached the NCAA Tournament in 14 of 16 seasons under coach Brian O’Connor. The longtime Cavaliers skipper recently hired a new pitching coach, Drew Dickinson, who had served the previous eight years in the same capacity at Illinois. Dickinson replaces Karl Kuhn, the new head coach at Radford who oversaw pitching staffs that compiled team ERAs inside the top 20 nationally in nine of his 16 seasons.
Photo of Potomac Falls’ Nate Savino by Michael Ferrara