News came out that last year’s backup catcher, Joe Mercurio has just signed with University of Maine.
From Lower Hudson Online:
For much of their childhood, Joe Mercurio and Myckie Lugbauer were the best catchers their age in Putnam County. Their skill eventually extended far beyond the county’s borders; as seniors they were two of the best players in Section 1 period.
Back then Mercurio and Lugbauer were friendly rivals. Now they are teammates as Mercurio, a Kennedy graduate from Brewster, has signed with the University of Maine, completing a transfer from the University of Illinois.
I wonder about Mercurio’s timing. Long time backup catcher Aaron Ifft has graduated and of course, Big Ten Player of the Year and last year’s full-time catcher Lars Davis was snatched up in the First Year Player Draft. From my perspective, he would have had a shot at the #1 spot behind the plate. But Joe had his reasons:
Mercurio said he was promised playing time alongside junior catcher Lars Davis but the rotation never unfolded the way he hoped. Mercurio played in just 11 games (three starts) and Davis, an all-American, won the Big Ten player of the year and was drafted in the third round by Colorado.
“I wanted to go there and get better,” Mercurio said. “I felt I got worse when I got there.”
With the record season that Lars Davis was having, I don’t think Mercurio’s mother would have advocated a platoon situation.
Seriously, it’s too bad Joe will be gone. I enjoyed watching him play. In his rare starts, he always seemed to make a difference. I wish him the best at U of Maine.