Hear Mike Batesole out: The player who most reminds the longtime Fresno State baseball coach of Everett AquaSox catcher Carter Bins is another one of his former players, New York Yankees star right fielder Aaron Judge.
Judge is distinguished not only by his strapping 6-foot-7, 282-pound frame and mammoth home-run power, but also for his gap-toothed smile and gentle personality off the field. Bins can’t compete with Judge’s size, power and magnetic smile, but each player’s propensity to shift personalities on and off the field is uncanny, Batesole said.
“A lot of times the tough guys look like they’re chewing on nails all the time and the guys that are happy and smiley don’t compete hard enough,” he said. “It’s tough to find someone that’s a tremendous competitor that is still able to smile and laugh and enjoy the game. Those are rare guys and I don’t get to coach many of those.”
Bins, an 11th-round pick by the Mariners in the recent major-league draft, was pegged as one of the best defensive catchers available and the 92nd overall prospect according to Baseball America. But he fell to the third day of the draft.
What may have scared teams, Bins surmised, was his serious consideration of returning to Fresno State for his senior season.
But with players as highly regarded as Bins, these types of things have a way of resolving themselves. The Mariners nabbed him 336th overall and negotiated a $350,000 signing bonus, a fifth-round value, according to MLB Pipeline’s Jonathan Mayo. What’s more, the Mariners are footing the bill for college tuition, Bins said. He plans to finish his degree in the offseason.
— Jonathan Mayo (@JonathanMayo) June 11, 2019
“We were all anticipating it being a little earlier, but everything happens for a reason,” Bins said. “Being picked in the 11th by the Mariners, I couldn’t be more excited to be (in Everett) and in this organization.”
Bins’ best tool is his defense. It’s something he said he knew was important ever since he was a young catcher.
“I knew that being a catcher, you have to be defensively sound, but I give a lot of credit to my coaching staff in Fresno,” Bins said. “They really took my game to the next level.”
Bins added that the tutelage of assistant coach Ryan Overland — the catcher for the Bulldogs’ 2008 national championship team — was a major factor in his development.
Batesole said Bins deserves more credit than he’s willing to admit for blossoming into one of the best college catchers in the nation.
“(He was) very advanced for a high school player …,” Batesole said. “After his freshman year, I didn’t have to coach him. He’s always where he needs to be, he’s always prepared. He’s ahead of the game. He figured out Division 1 baseball and he’s ready to work for the next step.”
Dan Wilson, arguably the best catcher in the Mariners’ history, was in Everett for the first week of AquaSox practices. Wilson, Seattle’s minor-league catching coordinator, said his first impressions of Bins were positive.
“It’s hard at this point having seen five innings from (the Everett Cup), but from what I’ve seen, he’s a kid that looks like he has nice soft hands in receiving and that’s a big emphasis we have here,” Wilson said. “He’s a big, flexible body and very athletic behind the plate. I’m expecting to see him develop into something very special defensively, and we’ll see how that goes.”
The biggest concern of the scouts who saw the 6-foot, 200-pound Bins in college was his hitting. MLB Pipeline graded his bat a 45 on the the 20-to-80 scouting scale. It’s something Bins is aware of, but from his perspective, it’s not a major worry.
“There’s always people out there that think you are less than what you are,” said Bins, who hit .280 for Fresno State this spring, with six home runs and 28 RBI in 57 games. “I don’t really pay attention to all that. I just think that if you’re a defensive catcher, there is always going to be a spot for you.”
Batesole agreed Bins’ bat shouldn’t keep him from reaching the big leagues. In fact, the coach said, the intangibles Bins brings to the table will rocket him to the majors.
“He’s not just going to get to the big leagues, he’s going to be a 10-year big-leaguer,” Batesole said. “And that’s because of his character and his work ethic and his heart. A lot of guys have tools and he certainly has outstanding tools, but it’s the intangibles that make him special.”