FORMER SWEET SWING ATTENDEE NOW CHICAGO CUBS ORGANIZATIONAL ALL-STAR
Credits Sweet Swing as major influence on his success

John
John Andreoli, former Sweet Swing Attendee

John Andreoli has a philosophy when it comes to baseball that has carried him all the way from the varsity diamond at St. John's High School (Shrewsbury) to the University of Connecticut to the Major League Baseball draft and up to the Double-A level of the Chicago Cubs organization.

"You can never take anything for granted," he says. "You have to make the most of every day."

It's that philosophy that has driven the 23-year-old outfielder as he's relished every moment through the high school, collegiate and pro ranks, and has tried to keep learning along the way from experienced coaches at every level.

It's a philosophy that he traces back to the Sweet Swing Hitting Academy where he first began to learn the game at 8 years old.

Joh Andreoli Head Shot
IMPACT OF SWEET SWING STAFF

"Those are guys who could forget in a day more than most people learn about baseball their whole lives," said of Andreoli of the Sweet Swing coaching staff that includes his grandfather and former MIT coach Fran O'Brien, as well as his uncle, Kevin O'Brien, a former Toronto Blue Jays scout who played in the New York Yankees organization. "They taught me so much about how to hit how to use my legs, how to figure out which pitches to hit and which pitches not to hit."

Andreoli said he learned those lessons throughout his 6 years at the camp where each March he would make the trip from Shrewsbury to Sweet Swing's former home in Newton. This year's Sweet Swing Hitting Academy will take place at Belmont Hill on March 8, 9, 15 and 16.

"Sweet Swing came right before high school season so it always prepared me for the first days of practice," Andreoli said. "You were always there for 1 to 2 hours and you were always getting ready. You were never sitting around doing nothing. It was an up-tempo pace that involved a lot of hitting."

RISE FROM HIGH SCHOOL

Andreoli was ingrained about the value of a strong work ethic at an early age. He has not forgotten. Cubs' front office people note his "off the charts make-up" noting that his attitude and work ethic rank at the very top of baseball. He has been the classic over achiever, something that continues to drive him today. Andreoli attended St. John's in Shrewsbury where he was also the starting quarterback on the 2006 DI Central/Western MA Championship team. He was a Boston Globe All Scholastic track athlete (55M Dash) which helped his speed and competitiveness. He was recruited for both baseball and football and chose to attend UCONN (Business School) where he went from an unheralded freshman to earn ALL BIG EAST, NCAA Tournament All Star and NSCA All American honors. His 2011 UCONN team may be the very best college team ever in New England history. Ten players of that team were selected in 2011 MLB Draft of which seven are now playing professional baseball. Included from this team were Matt Barnes (top Red Sox prospect) Mike Olt (reached majors with Rangers, currently with the Cubs) George Springer, first round pick of the Houston Astros and fellow Massachusetts natives Nick Ahmed (4th Rd Atlanta Braves), and Scott Oberg (Colorado Rockies).

John completed is degree in Finance from the University of Connecticut during the off-season in 2011/2012. During his sophomore and junior summers John played in the Cape Cod League, being named to the All-star Team and playing in Fenway Park.

ESPN SPORTS CENTER

John made one of the great fielding plays in college history by robbing a South Carolina hitter in the 2011 Super Regionals that ESPN featured on SportsCenter's Top Ten.

Andreoli was selected in the 17th round of the 2011 amateur draft and went on to become a two-time Florida State League All-Star, leading the league with 55 stolen bases, and drawing 75 walks. In 2013, he was called up to the Chicago Cubs' major league camp and marked his big league debut against the Chicago White Sox and Texas Rangers. In the weekend series Andreoli was 2-3 with 2 RBI including, a pinch-hit 2 run HR in the ninth inning against the White Sox.

"That was pretty cool," he said. "It was an unbelievable experience. I hope I can enjoy it again this spring."

ALWAYS PREPARING

In late January, Andreoli was preparing to head out to the sunshine of Arizona for this year's spring training and he looks to continue to rise up the ranks of the Cubs organization. Last year, he began last season once again with the FSL Champion Daytona Cubs in high Single-A ball before finishing the year at Double-A helping the Tennessee Smokies to a second half Southern League championship. Between the two levels, he combined to hit .305 (highest average in the Cubs' Minor League system with 23 doubles, 8 triples, 40 stolen bases, 55 walks and a .379 on-base percentage in 465 at-bats.

He was named a two-time MiLB Chicago Cubs organization All-Star in 2012 and 2013.

"The difference when you jump up in class is pitchers can command their secondary pitch," he said. "Everybody has a good fastball. At the lower levels they all rely on their No. 1 pitch which is usually a fastball. But as you move up, you start to see a lot more cutters, a lot more pitches that try to get you to hit ground balls."

"It's a game of adjustments," he added. "The key to getting better is learning to make those adjustments on the fly."

And the key to that, he said, is knowing the game well enough that you can recognize what a pitcher is trying to do to you and you can react to it. He credited the Sweet Swing Hitting Academy for planting the seeds of that knowledge within him at an early age that he's been able to build off ever since.

FINAL COMMENTS ON SWEET SWING

Joh Andreoli Head Shot
"All the coaches there have a great connection to the game," he said. "You have guys who have coached at Division II, Division III. The instruction helped me so much.

"If you want to be a better hitter, I think it's one of the best camps you can go to in New England. They stress all the things that have helped me distinguish myself as a professional hitter--preparation, pitch selection, hitting the ball where it is pitched, bat speed and how continually improve. I always entered my high school season with a
huge jump because of Sweet Swing.

The number of swings under the watchful eyes of such great coaches helped me improve my swing tremendously. It really made such a difference. It is a great baseball environment."

JOHN ANDREOLI FILE
  • 2002-2010 - ATTENDS SWEET SWING EVERY YEAR
  • 2004-2008 - ST. JOHN'S (SHREWSBURY)
  • 2009-2011 - UCONN (ALL BIG EAST/ NCAA All Tournament Team/NAMED TEAM UNSUNG HERO/ALL Tournament/ NCAA Super Regionals vs SOUTH CAROLINA)
  • 2010, 2011 - CAPE COD LEAGUE (BREWSTER WHITECAPS AND WAREHAM GATEMAN)
  • 2011 - CAPE LEAGUE ALL STAR @ FENWAY PARK
  • 2011 - SIGNED BY CHICAGO CUBS
  • 2012 - FLORIDA STATE LEAGUE ALL-STAR/Minor League Organizational All Star
  • 2013 - FLORIDA STATE LEAGUE ALL STAR/Minor League Organizational All Star
  • 2013 - PROMOTED TO CUBS' AA TEAM. TENNESSEE SMOKIES
  • 2014 AA All Star Winter League All Star