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The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

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Northeastern baseball star Mike Sirota poised for top pick in 2024 MLB draft

Mike+Sirota+steps+up+to+bat.+In+the+2022-23+season%2C+Sirota+tied+for+first+on+the+team+in+home+runs+with+18.+Photo+courtesy+Jim+Pierce
Mike Sirota steps up to bat. In the 2022-23 season, Sirota tied for first on the team in home runs with 18. Photo courtesy Jim Pierce

“Adapt or die in the box.” 

These six words mean everything for Mike Sirota, center fielder for the Northeastern Huskies baseball team and current top 2024 Major League Baseball draft prospect.

Despite the center fielder’s inherent hitting prowess — a collectible that proved its capability through Sirota’s first two seasons at NU, consisting of 1.060 OPS and two summer seasons in the Cape Cod League (.942 OPS), the current third-year was used to being overlooked.

Sirota, who was obscure to much of the baseball world in high school, fell hard in the 2021 MLB draft, and despite a late selection — 492 overall in the 16th round — landing him with the Los Angeles Dodgers, he chose to pursue a different route. 

“When I got picked up by the Dodgers, I thought it was best that I come to college,” Sirota said. “I felt I was a little overlooked in the draft process out of high school, so coming to Northeastern definitely helped me in seeing how I stack up against better competition.”

Sirota’s decision to attend Northeastern proved pivotal for the 20-year-old’s baseball career. In addition to honing his skills on the diamond, it served as a platform for him to establish himself as a standout player in college baseball.

Since his arrival as a freshman in 2021, Sirota has not looked back.  

In just two seasons, the center fielder has secured his spot on the record books as the Northeastern baseball program’s record-holder for runs in a season with 73 in 2023.

For the 2023 season, Sirota was also selected to the ABCA/Rawlings All-America Third Team, ABCA/Rawlings All-Region Northeast First Team and NEIBA Division I All-New England First Team

In the midst of the mounting pressure that continues to accompany his journey as a highly-touted baseball prospect, Sirota reaffirmed that, for him, it is all a mental game.

“I’m just focusing on winning and focusing on not trying to be a selfish player,” Sirota said. “Obviously, baseball is a very statistical game, so it’s easy to get caught up in yourself and how you’re performing. But I think when you’re focusing on the team, it elevates everyone else, and it also alleviates some pressure for you.”

Sirota rounds the bases for Northeastern. The center fielder broke the program record for most runs in a season with 73 as a sophomore in 2023. Photo courtesy Jim Pierce

Regardless of Sirota’s predicted departure from Northeastern to the MLB, the junior remains steadily grounded in his roots. 

“The biggest thing for me as I’ve been improving is just focusing on my guys and elevating them and not taking advantage of the team culture we have here,” Sirota said. 

Sirota articulated that his multifaceted skill set as a center fielder and all-around player has undeniably bolstered his professional pursuit. 

“I think I have really good discipline in the zone, and I’m really good at making adjustments at bat,” Sirota said. “The phrase I go by is:  ‘adapt or die in the box.’ If you’re not adapting and if you’re not adjusting, other people are going to catch up to you skills-wise and pitchers are going to get the best of you.” 

Mike Glavine, Northeastern baseball head coach, originated the phrase Sirota aims to encompass when on the field and believes that his center fielder has succeeded in embodying it. 

“[Sirota] is a very talented player,” Glavine said. “He does a lot of things really well on the baseball field: he can run, he’s a really good defensive player, he has a great arm, his power and speed. He’s sort of a prototypical full package as a baseball player.” 

Throughout Sirota’s two seasons as a Husky, the center fielder has accumulated crucial intangibles, including an ability to defy pressure and emanate a poised and unparalleled leadership style. 

“Mike has a great ability to rise up to the occasion. The bigger the spot, the bigger the moment, the bigger the game,” Glavine said. “From a leadership piece, I think he calms the moment down. He talks to guys, and he’s able to help them think about what the pitcher’s trying to do to them in a big spot or what the pre-game plan should be.”

Sirota’s assets have also proved beneficial not just for Glavine’s players, but also his coaching staff. 

“As coaches, we rely on Mike,” Glavine said. “We often talk to him about, ‘Hey, what do you see?’ ‘What do you think?’ There’s a really great relationship and trust factor from the coaches to Mike.”

Beyond the statistics, Glavine believes that the MLB prospect’s tenacious and unwavering work ethic sets Sirota apart as an athlete.

“Behind the scenes, Mike is a really hard worker. He’s a perfectionist, in my opinion,” Glavine said. “He really challenges himself to be the best player he can be on a daily basis, and by him doing this, and always working on trying to be the best player, it goes throughout our culture. When one of your best players is one of your hardest workers, you have a real team.”

The team celebrates as Sirota crosses home plate. Northeastern baseball started its season Feb. 16 with a weekend series against Arizona. Photo courtesy Jim Pierce

Glavine emphasized Sirota’s relentless drive to perfect his craft is what continues to reaffirm the Huskies’ identity as a baseball team. 

“If Mike is not on the field doing some extra practice, he might be down in our batting cage, taking some extra swings or working with guys behind the scenes,” Glavine said. “Anytime we have extra hitting, he’s there. If it’s optional, he’s there. If we’re doing other practices where players can leave early, he stays. He really just adds so much to our culture and what we’re trying to do, not just from a playing standpoint, but just his overall work ethic.” 

Jack Doyle, junior infielder for the Huskies, believes that, above all, Sirota is the epitome of an ideal teammate. 

“He’s always looking to support everyone else whenever they’re on the field, whether it’s on the mound or in the box,” Doyle said. “He is challenging everyone and pushing them to be their best. He’ll let you know what he’s thinking about your game. He will be brutally honest. But it really is best for the team.” 

As the MLB draft quickly approaches in July, Doyle emphasizes that while Sirota’s talented skill set will take him far when playing professionally, he has one other asset that will propel him even further.

“He has the confidence,” Doyle said. “It’s obvious when you look at him that he truly believes, with every fiber of his being, that he’s the better beneficiary whenever he steps into the box.”

In what Glavine says to be a “Hall of Fame legacy,” Sirota has undoubtedly etched his name deep within the Northeastern baseball program. 

“He has absolutely left a legacy with us, and even around college baseball a little bit, by staying here and fulfilling his commitment to Northeastern, to our program, to the coaches and to his teammates,” Glavine said. 

As Sirota and the Huskies gear up for the highly-anticipated 2024 season, Coach Glavine underscores the legacy the junior center fielder is set to leave behind.

“Mike proved that you can do it,” Glavine said. “You can stay, you can be successful, you can be happy. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. And, I think that will be right up there with his playing legacy.” 

About the Contributor
Juliette Piovoso, Deputy Campus Editor
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