Boston College baseball senior Joe Cronin and junior Nick Sciortino were voted captains by the rest of the program for the upcoming 2016 season, per a release from BC athletics and head coach Mike Gambino.
Cronin begins the season as one of the most tenured Eagles on the roster and one of the squad's defensive stalwarts. A .238 career hitter, he hit .223 a year ago while tying for the team lead with 47 starts. Of his 37 hits, 14 were for extra bases, including nine doubles and four homers. He drove in 20 runs and scored 25 on his own. In the field, he recorded 226 putouts and 55 assists while committing just seven errors, establishing himself as one of the team's best defensive players.
Sciortino, meanwhile, hit .300 early in the season before finishing the year at .235. Despite what looked like a drop-off, he seldom went hitless, save for a three game stretch against North Carolina. Established as the team's catcher a season ago, he had a .997 fielding percentage that included 14 putouts against Hartford and 13 against UMass. He started the season without an error in the first 25 appearances. It was his only error of the season.
This past summer, Sciortino displayed a knack for gunning men down, throwing out 17 on the base paths while accepting the Chatham Angler Ed Lyons Coaches Award, given to the player who went above and beyond the coaches' expectations.
The 2016 will be an interesting season for the Birdballers, who start the season without arguably their biggest bat in Chris Shaw. Shaw, drafted in the first round in his first draft eligible year by San Francisco, signed following a massive season with the Eagles. Although BC will miss his obvious presence in the middle of the lineup, they'll be able to gravitate towards a much more rounded style built on stolen bases and aggressive base running. BC recently finished up their fall ball practice and annual Fall Ball World Series, which ended with the Gold team defeating the Maroon team in the first three games over the past couple of weekends.
This will also be one of the deepest seasons for Boston College on the hill, thanks in part to the return of Mike King and Justin Dunn. King started eight of his 14 appearances and became firmly entrenched in the Eagle weekend rotation before the end of the season. He finished the year with 62.1 innings thrown, striking out 52 to just 12 walks.
Against Georgia Tech, he threw a complete game one hit shutout with eight K's and nary a walk as the Eagles won, 1-0. In his next outing, against North Carolina, he threw another eight innings, striking out five to just two walks. But he gave up one run, which was all the Tar Heels needed in a 1-0 victory over the Eagles. Before his last outing against Notre Dame, King has a 2.17 ERA, having not gone over the 3.00 mark until he gave up seven in his final outing of the season.
As for Dunn, he showed flashes of dominance throughout the year. Against Wake Forest, he threw 4.1 innings of shutout ball in a 10-7 victory. He only had three or four bad outings, including one against national powerhouse LSU, as he developed over the course of the season, resulting in a 4.94 season ERA. He did not surrender an earned run in 11 outings, including six in a row at the tail end of the season.
In addition, BC welcomed a top-50 recruiting class this year with 13 incoming freshmen. Among those will be Gian Martellini, a lightly-regarded catcher out of Bishop Hendricken High School in Rhode island. Martellini was a first team All-American Northeast Region selection and the best recruit out of the Ocean State. He is regarded as one of the best defensive recruits brought in by BC in recent memory and, as a freshman, may see some time as one of the team's three catchers, along with Sciortino (who can also play the infield) and Steve Sauter, who was named one of the Jayhawk League's top prospects.
Also in the list is Jacob Stevens, a Philadelphia draft choice this past summer from Darien, CT. The Choate Rosemary Hall product is a 6'3" right handed pitcher selected in the 33rd round and the top prospect out of Connecticut. He was a top-100 pitching prospect in the nation and has a fastball capable of topping out in the mid-90s.
The Eagles will open the season in February, though the full schedule has not been released.