Former Serra catcher Thomas McCarthy was added to the Posey Award Faculty baseball watchlist domestically
Thomas McCarthy has never met Buster Posey. But they have a few things in common.
Both catchers? Check. Are they both playing in San Francisco? Check. And now McCarthy’s name has been linked to the most prestigious amateur fishing award in the country. The senior from the University of San Francisco was added to the Buster Posey Award Watch List. He is one of 59 nominees for an award honoring the best NCAA Division I catcher in the country.
The watch list was announced on March 9th.
“I was super excited,” said McCarthy. “This is a great recognition and I am just so grateful to USF for all the opportunities they have given me. … It was a really great honor. “
As a 2017 Serra graduate, McCarthy is the USF’s starting catcher in his freshman year. However, he has not yet set a regular playing time as he was handicapped by a foot injury sustained during the Dons season opener at UCLA.
After starting the year on a 16-16 skid, McCarthy had his first hit of the season against Pepperdine last Friday. USF dropped the opener of the three-game series 16-2. It was his first start since March 7, after missing four games. It was also the Dons’ ninth straight defeat, the longest defeat since 2015.
“He was beaten up, so you haven’t seen much of him this year,” USF manager Nino Giarratano said ahead of the West Coast Conference kick-off against Pepperdine on Friday. “But we’re preparing to start the conference game … so let’s try to get him back to health this week and see what he can do to help us.”
After McCarthy was back behind the plate on Saturday, USF prevailed with a 7: 6 win over the losing streak.
“Oh, it was great,” said McCarthy. “We knew it was going to be a tough one. We had to struggle to get that first win after losing as many as we had just lost. … Hopefully we can carry this momentum into the next few weeks. “
McCarthy is part of the remarkable legacy of the Serra catchers from the 2010s. Three former Padres backstops – Collin Theroux, James Outman and Cameron Barstad – are currently playing professionally. A fourth Serra catcher, Michael Tinsley, played professionally from 2016-18.
“I think when I was with Serra it was just the mentorship,” McCarthy said of the staggering number of catchers at the school. “We have program-wide exercises with the freshman team throughout the university team. And you’ll just see how the boys go through “
For McCarthy, that guy was Outman who graduated in 2015 and is now in spring training camp with the Los Angeles Dodgers as a non-squad invitee.
“He was my mentor,” said McCarthy. “I always went to games and watched him because he was really good back there. And honestly, I just think it’s the mentorship … and the older ones give nuggets to the younger ones. And the younger guys only listen to them because these guys have so much respect for them. “
Giarratano attributes much of the Padres’ success to former Serra manager Craig Gianinno. After Gianinno left the 2017 midseason in Serra, he joined USF employees in 2018 as Director of Player Development. He now has a lead role in recruiting for the Dons.
“Oh yes, obviously we worked closely with him and recruited a lot of his players,” said Giarratano. “When we got the chance to catch him and make him part of this organization, we did it. He’s made us a better organization over the past four years. “
And Giarratano directly credits Gianinno McCarthy’s success.
“I think [McCarthy] played against really good competition and comes from a really good coach, ”said Giarratano. “You get a lot from the athletics side and you get a lot from the education side (at Serra). And he knows how to compete at a good level. His mind is what divides him, and how he conducts a game divides him. “
USF has also had its share of outstanding catchers in recent years. McCarthy’s nomination for the Posey Award watchlist marks the fifth year in a row that a Dons catcher has achieved the honor. Most recently, Robert Emery was nominated in 2019 and ’20. Emery is another WCAL product from St. Ignatius who signed a pro contract with the San Francisco Giants as an amateur free agent last year.
“He’s great,” said McCarthy. “He worked really hard. He was a great mentor of mine during my first three years at USF. “
Emery was a junior in 2020 with an additional year of college eligibility.
“[His departure] Thomas opened the door to catch every day here at USF, ”said Giarratano.
This, in turn, opened the door for McCarthy to reunite with an old Serra teammate in the USF’s inaugural series with UCLA. With McCarthy behind the plate, Bruins left fielder Pat Caulfield kicked the plate in the second inning.
“I said, ‘I really like your walkup song,’ said McCarthy. He said, ‘Thank you brother.’
“Just a really cool moment to share.”
The Buster Posey Award will be announced on June 7th. The award was formerly known as the Johnny Bench Award until 2018 when current Giants catcher Joey Bart of Georgia Tech was the recipient. In 2019, Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman became the first player to receive the award after the name change.