ST. PAUL, MN (August 6, 2013) – Nick Ammirati didn’t play much for the St. Paul Saints, but his background at the College World Series with Mississippi State didn’t go unnoticed. It was that, along with the nearly month he spent with the Saints, that impressed the Seattle Mariners who purchased his contract.
The 22-year-old Ammirati played just five games for the Saints as the backup catcher to Dwight Childs. He recorded one hit in 12 at bats, but in his first game behind the plate, on July 12, he showed why he was so revered with the Bulldogs coaching and pitching staff, catching a shutout for the Saints. In his three starts behind the dish the Saints went 3-0 and allowed just five runs in 24 total innings. He also threw out one of four base stealers.
Ammirati becomes the fourth Saints player this year to have his contract purchased, but the fifth contract overall. Robert Coe (Diamondbacks twice), Connor Whalen (White Sox), Cole Nelson (Braves) and Craig Brazell (Hanshin Tigers) have all had their contracts purchased in 2013. The Saints have had 111 contracts purchased, by 105 different players, in their 21-year history. Six players have had their contracts purchased twice. He will head to the Mariners Rookie Level affiliate in Pulaski.
Ammirati hit .246 with one homer and 23 RBI during his senior season at Mississippi State in 51 games (49 starts). In 167 at bats he scored 23 runs, had three doubles, a .281 slugging percentage and a .321 on base percentage. He also threw out an astounding 41% of would be base stealers and had a .984 fielding percentage. Ammirati was instrumental in the Bulldogs having the 13th best ERA in all of Division I Baseball at 2.77.
In the run to the College World Series the Bulldogs pitching coach, Butch Thompson, said, “Nick Ammirati might be the most important person in our whole deal,” Thompson said. “Everyone sitting here talking about the bullpen and the relievers. He might be the most important deal to our pitching staff.”
In 2012 during his junior season Ammirati waited his turn behind Mitch Slauter who caught 62 games. After Slauter suffered a fracture to his metacarpal bone in his left hand this season, Ammirati filled in for good and earned the SEC Player of the Week honor for the week ending April 21. He hit .545 with three multi-hit games and was the third straight Bulldog to win the honor.
In his junior season at Mississippi State he played in 13 games, 10 behind the plate and was an SEC Academic Honor Roll. He collected three hits in 12 at bats.
Ammirati began his college career at Seton Hall University where he played 22 games, 18 starts and hit .217 with six RBI. He transferred to Panola (TX) College for his sophomore season in 2011 and hit .280 with nine RBI in 50 games (40 starts).