Sean Newcomb grew up in Middleboro, Mass., as a Red Sox fan watching Pedro Martinez hurl his way into the Hall of Fame. It seems clear he was paying close attention.
Martinez, of course, was the master of the fastball, the power curve and the changeup. Newcomb, now a majorleaguer in his second season for the Atlanta Braves, also uses that same trio of pitches to attack hitters.
Newcomb’s formation as a pitcher began in earnest at the University of Hartford back in 2011. When he arrived, the only thing he knew for certain was that he was a baseball player.
Jeff Calcaterra had recruited Newcomb to Hartford as a pitcher and first baseman. Newcomb had excelled at both as a standout player at Middleboro High School. However, when Calcaterra was replaced by Justin Blood — a former pitching coach at UConn — Newcomb was anointed as a fully dedicated starting pitcher. As a 6-foot-5 left-hander, Newcomb was a rare physical specimen and he was gifted with a most useful teacher in Blood.