Elizabeth Thomas, News Correspondent
Northeastern catcher Jon Leroux officially signed a professional contract with the New York Mets on Tuesday morning and will forgo his senior year at Northeastern, he said in an exclusive interview with The News.
“It really came down to what [the Mets] offered, and they basically gave me an offer I couldn’t refuse,” Leroux said. “I wasn’t very sure if I would have gone [pro], but this offer was the main reason. It may have not come around again and it could have been a better offer next year, but I just couldn’t dwell on that and I knew it was the right thing to do. I wasn’t sure if it would ever happen to me, so when it did I just had to do it.”
The Mets selected Leroux in the 32nd round of the 2012 Draft on June 6. Tuesday night, Leroux joined the team’s rookie affiliate, the Kingsport (Tenn.) Mets of the Appalachian League, for his first professional game against the Princeton (W. Va.) Rays. He did not play.
The would-be senior catcher, who said the Mets may also ask him to play first base and outfield, said he consulted many people before making the decision not to return to Northeastern.
“It was mainly a family decision, but I talked with a few of the boys [on the team] and they all know that this chance doesn’t come around very often to go out there and play professionally, so they were all very supportive,” he said.
Leroux said he fulfilled a lifelong dream by going pro.
“All I want to do is just go out there and play,” he said.
Leroux said he has already begun working with Kingsport’s coaching staff to improve his mechanics and hopefully earn a spot in the lineup.
“It really is a one-day-at-a-time thing. I’m just talking with all the coaches and learning everything I possibly can to be the best hitter,” Leroux said. “I’m just trying to soak up everything and really just learn the ways of everything. It’s a lot to handle over a short period of time, but I hope to be in the lineup [within] the next two days.”
The Auburn, Mass., native had an outstanding career as a Husky and a breakout year in 2012. He finished the season with the team’s second-highest batting average (.347) and led the team with 12 home runs, good for third-most in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA). Leroux also ranked second in the CAA with a .647 slugging percentage en route to being named to the All-CAA First Team.
Leroux credited the Northeastern coaching staff for his progression and improvement during his time as a Husky.
“The coaches helped me tremendously through my three years [at Northeastern], and they are the main reason why I had such a great season this year,” he said. “Just working with them day in and day out is what helped me get drafted and I really do owe it all to them. They helped me become a great baseball player.”
Head coach Neil McPhee and assistant coach Mike Glavine could not be reached for comment.
He knows he has a long way to go, but so far, Leroux said, he is happy and excited to be a part of the Mets organization.
“It’s just an amazing experience,” Leroux said. “I am so happy to be here with this organization. They really take care of their players well. It’s a great place for me to be.”