The closer had recently capped off his college career as one of the most successful pitchers in the school's history.
In 2008, Squatrito struck out 66 while walking only 10 in 51.2 innings. He followed that record setting season with 45 strikeouts compared to only eight walks in 38.2 innings this spring. This season he not only led the Tigers in saves with seven but also tied for the team lead with seven victories. In two years at Towson, Squatrito set the school records for saves in a season, 10, and a career, 17.
Before his two celebrated seasons at Towson, Josh attended Community College of Baltimore County. Before leaving Cantonsville, he set the school record with 84 strikeouts in a season.
It is known that the Cardinal organization regards summer league play highly when evaluating draft prospects. During Shenandoah Valley League play last summer, Squatrito recorded 73% of his outs by the strikeout. If you are scoring at home, that is 19.7 K/9, a stat that had to catch the eye of the team's statistical evaluators.
In 2007, the Baltimore native played in the up-and-coming Cal Ripken Senior Baseball League. He posted a 3-1 record with one save and a 0.72 ERA for the Maryland Orioles. With the season on the line, Josh pitched a two-hit shutout in championship game of the AAABA Tournament, leading the Orioles to their fifth straight national championship. During the championship game, he recorded nine strikeouts while allowing only two walks.
Originially, Squatrito had chosen to attend Southeastern Louisiana University.
After his first professional game, Josh was kind enough to take time to answer a few questions.
Dustin Mattison: Can you tell me about draft day?
Josh Squatrito: Draft day was pretty hectic; I was expecting to go on day two for sure. I was just listening to the draft with my family.
DM: Were the Cardinals the team you expected to pick you? What other teams were in the mix? JS: I definitely did not expect to be a Cardinal. I did not hear from them the week before the draft like other teams. I got a call from the Red Sox in the 20th round; I thought they were going to take me.
DM: When/how did a Cardinals' scout first come into contact with you?
JS: I got a text about 5 minutes after I was taken. It was a very emotional time for me since this was my dream.
DM: Can you give me a scouting report on Josh Squatrito including your repertoire?
JS: I like to attack hitters with the fastball in all counts. The fastball (89-92) is my best pitch no matter what the situation. I also throw a slider and a splitter.
DM: You had good strikeout numbers this spring after putting up ridiculous strikeout totals the previous year including the summer. What was the difference?
JS: The difference for the strikeouts this year was the hitters and the opposing coaches knowing what type of pitcher I am.
DM: You've had quite a bit of success in the summer leagues. How has the experience playing in wood bat league helped you?
JS: Summer baseball gives a player a chance to get away from home and be on my own. It also shows a player the different type of competition that is out there.
DM: What do you think of your team so far? JS: The pitching staff on the team looks real good. I don't get to see the hitters too much other than BP.
DM: What was opening night like?
JS: Opening night is a time I'll never forget.
DM: I know you were a reliever in college, is that what the Cardinals have planned for you?
JS: Yeah, I am in a relief role now.
DM: When not playing baseball, how do you like to spend your time?
JS: When out of season or not playing ball I like to play video games, lift weights and play street hockey.
DM: I am sorry but I have to ask, what is the origin of the name of Squatrito? It is very unique.
JS: The last name is Italian, more specifically, Sicilian.
DM: Tell Cardinal fans something about you that they probably don't know but probably should know.
JS: I was in Hurricane Katrina when I attended Southeastern Louisiana University in 2005. (Laughing) Is that good enough for you?
Dustin can be contacted at email@example.com.