The catcher position on a baseball diamond is incredibly unique. Where everybody looks in at the batter, the catcher looks out. Nobody on the field reads the play quite like the catcher, and nobody has to make complex decisions more quickly. Whereas an infielder or outfielder must always be on guard in case the ball comes their way, a catcher is involved in every single pitch, often from different pitchers over the course of a game.
That means the catcher is, at times, a coach as much as he is a player. He relays pitch selection from the dugout and processes what to do to a batter on every throw. He has a relationship with the pitcher that not even a coach can have, the type of bond that comes from being a batterymate.
At the same time, only one can play, which means the pressure of the position falls on a single person, almost more than it does the pitcher actually delivering a pitch.
Most teams would hope to have one catcher capable of playing and starting, the type of cornerstone to build around. At Boston College, they have two or three options who could fill a starting role.
Senior Stephen Sauter enjoyed a breakout season in 2015. In 35 games, he hit .272 with 17 RBI and three doubles while establishing himself as one of the more clutch players on the Eagles. His .320 batting average in conference play ranked only behind Chris Shaw and Logan Hoggarth, and his .393 on-base percentage was second best among ACC games behind only Shaw. Playing in 35 games, he split his time between catching, where he was didn't commit an error in 100 chances, and playing as the designated hitter. On any other team, Sauter would likely be a candidate to start every game, especially in ACC play, for the Eagles.
But at BC, Sauter found himself the second string catcher behind Nick Sciortino. Starting 41 games at catcher, Sciortino was one of the ACC's best defensive mainstays. He tied for fourth in the ACC by throwing out a combined 22 runners (17 stealing, five picked off) and committed one error on 381 chances. The team leader in putouts, he threw out 335 runners and assisted on 45 others. In ACC play, some of those numbers jumped, highlighted by his catching 14 of 25 runners stealing.
Even though he was only a .235 hitter (.198 in conference), Sciortino still displayed ability in the clutch. His 21 RBI tied for fourth best on the team with Johnny Adams, and his nine RBI in ACC games tied for third best with Michael Strem.
For any team, having those two players would be incredibly impressive. But this season, Mike Gambino was able to recruit a third catcher capable of being a potential star in the ACC: Gian Martellini of Bishop Hendricken (Rhode Island) High School.
Martellini enters BC as the Gatorade Player of the Year in Rhode Island for both of the past two seasons. A 2015 Honorable Mention All-American selection by Perfect Game, he was an All Region First Team selection for the Northeast and the best recruit coming out of the state of Rhode Island...period. Martellini was the 24th best recruit nationally at the catcher position, and the Eagles picked him up while outrecruiting Clemson, Coastal Carolina, Florida, Florida State, North Carolina State, and others.
In Martellini, Boston College picked up the 204th best recruit in the nation (and a top 25 recruit at his position), the best-ranked position recruit in the Class of 2015 in his home state, and a big body (6'2", 200 pounds) capable of providing some pop in the lineup.
If there's a position the Eagles recruited successfully, it's catcher. They'll bring in a new player each of the next two seasons, each of which are at or near the top of their position. Jake Goodreau is committed for next season, a Class of '16 recruit who is already the seventh best recruit in Massachusetts (third best catcher) in his class.
That sets up 2017, when they'll bring in the second best recruit in Connecticut: Aaron Soucy. Soucy's a top 75 national position recruit and the best catcher coming out of the Nutmeg State.
Future Depth Chart:
|Stephen Sauter - Sr.||Nick Sciortino - Sr.||Dominic Hardaway - Jr.|
|Nick Sciortino - Jr.||Dominic Hardaway - So.||Gian Martellini - Jr.|
|Dominic Hardaway - Fr.||Gian Martellini - So.||Jake Goodreau - So.|
|Gian Martellini - Fr.||Jake Goodreau - Fr.||Aaron Soucy - Fr.|