Barrington family shares baseball talents

Baseball roots run deep for Tanous family

By MIKE SCANDURA
Posted 9/29/20

Arguably Tom Tanous and his three sons could be classified as Barrington’s “First Family of Baseball.”

Tom is the New York Mets Vice President of International and Amateur …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Not a subscriber?


Start a Subscription

Sign up to start a subscription today! Click here to see your options.

Purchase a day pass

Purchase 24 hours of website access for $2. Click here to continue

Day pass subscribers

Are you a day pass subscriber who needs to log in? Click here to continue.


Barrington family shares baseball talents

Baseball roots run deep for Tanous family

Posted

Arguably Tom Tanous and his three sons could be classified as Barrington’s “First Family of Baseball.”

Tom is the New York Mets Vice President of International and Amateur Scouting, a position he’s held since 2017. He oversees both the Major League amateur draft and international player evaluations. (He played college baseball at AIC and CCRI).

His oldest son, Sam, would have been the starting shortstop for the Barrington High baseball team this past spring and will be enrolling this fall at American International College on a combined baseball and academic scholarship. As a junior he hit .337, grounded into zero double plays and was voted First Team All-Division II.

Middle son, Gabe, was a two-year starter on the middle school basketball team and also played shortstop and pitched for the Route 2 Blue Sox, an AAU baseball team.

Youngest son Luke played on the 2019 Barrington Little League All-Stars who won the state and regional championships and advanced to the Little League World Series. A slick-fielding first baseman, he was voted the Rhode Island Player of the Game after Barrington’s 6-1 victory over Bowling Green, Kentucky. Luke also plays third base for the Junior Bay Sox, a travel team based in New Bedford.

Before Tom Tanous was appointed to his current position, he was named the Mets Scouting Director in 2012. That year’s draft, the first under his direction, produced 11 major league players.

In the 2014 draft, the Mets selected Michael Conforto (he hit a career-high 22 home runs last season) and in 2013 Jeff McNeil. In the 2016 draft, the Mets picked Pete Alonso who became a National League All-Star in 2019 as a rookie while also won the 2019 Home Run Derby. Alonso set a Major League record for rookies by belting 53 home runs.

Since drafting players is an inexact science, Tanous looks for specific traits.

“Number one, we’re looking for a track record whether it’s a hitter or a pitcher,” he said during a recent interview. “We’re looking for a history of success and then a multitude of skills and athleticism. Each position is broken down differently. A shortstop’s check list is different from a center fielder’s check list.

“We’re trying to be as consistent as possible whether it’s mechanically or by statistical analysis.”

Not surprisingly, what’s been even more challenging to Tom is working with his three sons.

“I’ve worked with every one and have had the luxury of coaching them in the fall, Sam and Gabe especially,” he said. “It’s very difficult. I think parents, especially me, you have to be careful when you’re coaching them.

“I find hitting coaches have the same philosophy that I have. When they come back, I tinker with them. The brunt of the work is done outside.”

Tom’s philosophy is both subjective and objective.

“Both my wife (Beth) and I feel the most important thing is to be a good teammate,” he said. “As far as playing the game, I’m a huge believer in there isn’t one way to hit and field. I chuckle when I see coaches try to teach hitting the same way.

“The only rule I have as a hitter that I have is that they must control the strike zone and get a good pitch to hit. It’s predicated on their bodies and all three are different.”

Given Tom’s background he must tread lightly when analyzing each of his son’s performance.

“I made a rule that after a game or practice the first question is ‘What do you feel you did well (?),” he said. “So, the conversation starts out with a positive.

“My next question is ‘What do you think you could have done better?’ Ninety percent of the time they know the answer.”

What makes Tom’s position with the Mets bearable is the unflagging support of his wife.

“In past seasons I’m on the road 200 days a year,” he said. “My wife deserves a lot of the credit. She’s basically a single mom.”

Sam’s unique skill set

While most major league players don’t have a clue when it comes to bunting, Sam Tanous is particularly adept at what has become a lost art.

Not only is he able to drop down a bunt for a hit but he’s solid when called on to drop down a sacrifice bunt. In addition he has excellent range at shortstop.

“When (AIC) coach (Nick) Callini was recruiting me he said he really liked my baseball IQ, the intelligence I had on the field and my ability to lay down a bunt,” said Sam. “He said I reminded him of a lot of players on his team.”

Bunting was a skill Sam developed over time.

“Growing up I wasn’t really strong and couldn’t drive the ball,” he said. ‘My dad helped me develop other strengths so I could stay in the game. He taught me how to bunt. As I got older I used the bunt as a weapon.

“Now, I have the ability to drive the ball to the outfield and bunting helps my game.”

Sam Tanous transferred to Barrington in the fall of 2018 and approached the following season with some trepidation.

“When I transferred to Barrington, I was a little nervous at first but coach (Vin) Scandura made me feel welcomed,” he said. “We had a great year making it to McCoy (for the Division II finals). Being able to play with my teammates was my favorite part because I’ve played with them for years (at other levels).”

Sam Tanous has a firm grasp on what he must do in order to succeed at the college level.

“I’m going to have to keep going to the gym in order to get bigger and stronger,” he said. “I’ll have to prove that I can hit the ball well against college competition and stay with my ability to bunt.”

 Two-sport athlete

Whether he’s draining 3-point shots or driving to the basket, Gabe Tanous was the lead guard as an eighth-grader on the Barrington Middle School basketball team. But he’s equally as proficient if not more so at baseball.

In this day and age, when emphasis is placed on participating in one sport in order to maximize a skill set, how difficult if at all is it for Gabe to play two sports?

“I think it’s an advantage because it gets me more athletic and gets me more in shape,” he said. “I’ll drop basketball in order to focus on baseball because it’s my number one sport. I find it’s more fun and I feel I’m better at baseball.

“My components with baseball are better. I use that to an advantage.”

While older brothers tend to look down on their younger siblings, that hasn’t been the case with Sam and Gabe.

“Even though Sam is about four years ahead of me, he’s definitely been pretty tough on me,” said Gabe. “He takes me out to work, coaches me and has had a positive effect in the way he coaches me.”

Playing on an AAU baseball team also has benefitted Gabe Tanous.

“I think the AAU competition is really good,” he said. “Playing against really good competition is an advantage when you go to your other team.”

Gabe isn’t shy about sharing what has worked for him.

“Get a good pitch to hit and hit the ball hard,” he said. “That’s what my dad says.”

A bright future

Whether he was pitching or playing first base, Luke admittedly benefitted from playing for the Barrington Little League All-Stars.

“The competition was really good – better than any other I’ve faced,” he said. “It always helps when I face better pitchers.”

The same could be said of playing for an AAU baseball team.

“It helps me get ready for my regular season because I play against older players,” he said. “It’s more difficult because they’re bigger than me. You have to deal with it because it gets you ready for the regular season (i.e. Little League).

“By the end of the year I feel better.”

Since Luke is the youngest boy in a baseball family, he benefitted in several ways which otherwise might not have been the case.

“My dad helps me with my baseball IQ and my brothers will go outside and play catch with me,” he said. “We’re very competitive and will stay competitive.”

2020 by East Bay Newspapers

Barrington · Bristol · East Providence · Little Compton · Portsmouth · Tiverton · Warren · Westport
Meet our staff
Scott Pickering

Scott Pickering has been on the East Bay Newspapers team for more than two decades, since starting as a reporter for the Sakonnet Times. He's been editor of most of the papers, was Managing Editor of all the papers for many years, and became General Manager in 2012. Today he can be found posting to EastBayRI.com, steering news coverage, writing editorials, talking to readers, working with the sales team, collaborating on design, or helping do whatever it takes to get the papers out the door. Reach him at spickering@eastbaynewspapers.com.