South Jersey native Shawn Semple advances in Yankees organization

Matt Leon
August 09, 2019 - 2:51 pm
Shawn Semple

Trenton Thunder

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Right-handed pitcher Shawn Semple has quickly moved up the ladder in the New York Yankees organization. He was recently promoted from High-A Tampa to the Double-A Trenton Thunder.

That promotion means Semple is back in familiar territory. A South Jersey native, Semple graduated from Paul VI High School in Haddon Township, and he remembers attending Thunder games growing up.

"I came with my father and my brother," he recalled. "I was always like, 'This is so cool, professional baseball!' Once I got drafted, I knew (the Yankees) had Trenton as a team, so I was like, I can't wait. One day, hopefully, I get there soon. It came pretty quickly."

The Yankees drafted Semple in the 11th round in 2017 out of the University of New Orleans. During his college days, Semple really started to feel like he was going to be able to go pro.

"I mean, that was the dream job. I want to be a baseball player," he said. "Then I got to college and had a decent first year, then the second year was all right.  

"But then my junior year, I just started throwing harder, the pitches were better, stuff like that. At that point, during that season I was like, 'I can get drafted. I can do this.' "

The 23-year old started this season with Single-A Charleston, then got promoted to Tampa before heading to Trenton in late July. During his time in Tampa, he also made one spot start for Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre. 

For the season, he has an ERA of 4.47 — which is lowered to 3.93 if you throw out that one Triple-A start where he allowed eight runs in 3 ⅓ innings. He's averaging nearly a strikeout per inning (102 K in 108 2/3 IP).

Semple, of course, is a Yankees prospect, but as you would expect from a South Jersey native, he grew up as a huge Philadelphia sports fan.

"I actually have a Philadelphia Eagles tattoo on my chest from after they won the Super Bowl," he said. 

But his Philly friends have adjusted to Semple becoming a Yankee.

"It's absolutely awesome," he added. "They're like, 'We're still going to be Phillies fans, but hey, we will root for whatever team you're on.' "

Semple and the Thunder open a home weekend series with Harrisburg Aug. 15.

You can follow Matt Leon on Twitter @MattLeon1060.