June 9, 2009
SECAUCUS, N.J. - Boston College junior catcher Tony Sanchez became the highest pick in the Major League Baseball Draft in program history when the Pittsburgh Pirates selected him with the fourth overall pick in the 2009 MLB Draft on Tuesday night.
Junior Mike Belfiore was also taken on the first night of the draft as he was selected with the 45th overall pick in Comp Round A by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Belfiore is the fourth-highest overall pick for BC in the MLB Draft following Sanchez, Chris Lambert (19th in 2004) and Gary Matz (38th in 1968).
The duo of Sanchez and Belfiore are the two highest picks BC has ever produced in the same year.
Sanchez became the second Eagle to ever be selected in the first round and is the first position player to be picked in the round in school history. RHP Lambert was the only other player drafted in the first round out of Chestnut Hill when he was taken 19th by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2004.
"You know that I like about cold weather players is that they still have a high ceiling ahead of them," MLB Network analyst Harold Reynolds said. "I really believe you don't always peak early. With him playing at Boston College, he is still growing and his bat is still coming along."
Sanchez is currently one of three finalists for the 2009 Coleman Company-Johnny Bench Award, presented annually to the nation's top collegiate catcher. He was also named to the 2009 Louisville Slugger All-America Third Team and was tabbed as one of 30 semifinalists for the Golden Spikes Award, presented annually to the nation's premier amateur baseball player. He was also the first player from Boston College to be voted to the All-ACC First Team.
Sanchez currently ranks eighth in the ACC in runs (63), ninth in home runs (14), 10th in doubles (19) and slugging (.614), 12th in total bases (140), 16th in batting (.346) and 17th in hits (79) and on-base percentage (.443). He has also thrown out the most runners in the conference this season, catching opponents stealing 19 times.
Sanchez's 63 runs this season are a Boston College single-season record. Steve Langone and Sean McGowan had shared the record with 60 runs, which they both reached in 1999. His 14 home runs are the third-most in a single season and his 79 hits are fourth.
Sanchez has established himself as one of the most productive hitters in BC history. He ranks fifth all-time at Boston College in home runs with 24 and RBI with 124, sixth in hits with 202 and eighth in runs with 125.
Belfiore played a significant role in leading the Eagles to their first NCAA Championship appearance in 42 years. He was also a semifinalist for the Stopper of the Year award and an All-ACC Second Team performer this season.
The Commack, N.Y., native started 59 games this year at first base and also served as the closer in the bullpen. At the plate, Belfiore hit a .273 clip with 11 homers and 62 RBI, which ranks fourth in a single season at BC.
Belfiore continuously came through in clutch situations, driving in half of his RBI with two outs in an inning. He batted .325 with runners in scoring position and delivered a walk-off grand slam on May 10 in a 10-6 win against Le Moyne.
On the mound, Belfiore posted a 5-1 record with nine saves and a 2.05 ERA in 25 appearances. He tossed 48.1 innings in 2009 and allowed 15 runs - 11 earned - on 44 hits. He walked 12 batters while punching out 59.
The most impressive performance of his career came in his last appearance this season in the Austin Regional versus Texas which lasted 25 innings - the longest game in NCAA history. Belfiore entered a tied game in the ninth inning, worked 9.2 scoreless innings and allowed just three hits. He struck out 11 in his outing, throwing 86 strikes and 129 total pitches.