A Long Island native, from West Islip, pitcher Frank Valentino grew up a Mets fan, watching some of his favorite players: Mike Piazza, David Wright, John Franco, Tom Glavine and Pedro Martinez.
A “die-hard” Met fan, Valentino began his collegiate career at Suffolk Community College. There he posted a 5-2 record in 55 innings with a 1.31 ERA. In 10 appearances, including one save, he struck out 84 batters.
The right-handed pitcher went on to pitch for two seasons at New York Institute of Technology. At NYIT, he threw 126 ⅓ innings in two years there with a 5.49 ERA holding opposing batters to a .271 average.
“My two years at NYIT were pretty good. Numbers were okay, but I was doing, I was doing pretty well for the northeast. Had some few people, few teams talking to me, um, come draft time name, didn’t get called. So I wasn’t really sure what to do. Um, went to a few Indy (independent ball) workouts, just kind of kept moving forward,” said Valentino.
Going undrafted in 2017, Valentino played independent ball for two years before the Mets picked up his contract while he was playing for the Florence Freedom in the Frontier League. He made his debut with the Mets on June 30.
“I heard it through my coach and when they said Mets, you know, I couldn’t have been happier,” said Valentino.
In his debut he pitched 5 ⅓ innings against the Lowell Spinners allowing three runs (0 earned) on seven hits with five strikeouts. His 5 ⅓ innings came after pitcher Justin Wilson pitched the first inning as part of a rehab start in a 6-4 loss to Lowell.
In his second home start Valentino pitched six innings allowing 0 runs on two hits with seven strikeouts in a 9-0 win against the Mahoning Valley Scrappers. After allowing a walk-the only one of the day- to the leadoff man, Valentino found more control.
“I didn’t think I was missing too much. Some of them were pretty borderline, so I didn’t want to, you know, get ahead of myself, just next pitchtry to continue working on the game plan that we put together.”
Valentino is 1-1 in four starts with a 3.33 ERA with 23 strikeouts and a 1.11 WHIP. He has only given up two home runs in 24.1 innings pitched while holding opposing batters to a .242 average.