ST. PETERSBURG, Fla – For Johnny Caputo, leadership is something that comes naturally.
Watching the Canadian third baseman chat with younger players at Al Lang Stadium, showing them how to field grounders, and giving them advice on how to deal with the pressure of playing their first international game like a field general.
Caputo, a natural born leader, is an essential part of Canada’s national junior baseball program, and his intangible skill will be relied upon heavily if the team plans to make any noise at the upcoming world junior baseball championship in Seoul, Korea.
As a leader it is important to help younger players on and off the field, according to Caputo.
“I remember being new and that was tough, especially when you don’t have anybody there to show you the ropes,” he said following batting practice. “I think it’s important to get everybody involved, even when we are back at the hotel room, and making guys feel at home who don’t know everybody.”
The Toronto native has a tremendous work ethic and is a great teammate, says his under-18 head coach Ryan McBride.
“Johnny, who has a tremendous work ethic, is a leader in the clubhouse and younger players look up to him,” McBride said. “He is a natural leader who lets teammates know when they are struggling and tries to help them out.”
The 6-2, right-hander, who was a star for the Toronto Mets of the Premier Baseball League of Ontario, believes that Canada can be successful in Seoul if they stay consistent.
“With the WJBC coming up in August it’s all about consistency,” Caputo stated. “It’s about making routine plays by then and hopefully we will have enough experience.”
His play in the field, which includes two high school finals MVP awards for Bantam Nationals, has given him an opportunity to play Division I baseball coming up in the fall of 2012. Furthermore, he has committed and signed a letter of intent to play for Stony Brook University in New York.
“I am excited to go to Stony Brook, the coach is a great guy and I got along with him as soon as I met him,” said Caputo. “The coaching and academics were important because I wanted to go to a four-year school that gave me a solid degree.”
Caputo’s willingness to take on an additional role as a team leader demonstrates his ability to go beyond the call of duty.
This type of attitude will allow him to not only excel as a baseball player but as a leader.