If only the Red Sox had a coach who had some experience recruiting George Springer.
"You could say that," Peter Fatse said with a chuckle. "That's absolutely right ... I hear you."
It turns out, they do.
It is Fatse, the Red Sox' assistant hitting coach, who stakes claim to having gone through the recruiting process for George Springer -- currently one of baseball's most coveted free agents -- once before.
Appearing on the Bradfo Sho podcast, the 33-year-old Fatse remembered when he was tasked with showing the New Britain (Conn.) High star around the Storrs campus.
"I actually hosted George on his recruiting visit," Fatse -- a Hampden, Mass. native -- noted. "He stayed with me and my roommates up in school my sophomore year. Coincidentally, I also had Nick Ahmed as well so we had a pretty good run in our quad there in terms of recruits. From Day 1 he is just such a special athlete. Everybody gets to see him on a national stage now but coming from a small Northeast school, he was just so talented. One of the first thing I remember him doing is backflips on the field before practice. I know he had a gymnastics background. He was my catch partner my junior year, his freshman year. We hit in a lot of same groups both being outfielders at the time. He was my lifting partner. So we spent a pretty good amount of time together early on in his college career. He was just able to do things most college players across the country guys couldn't even imagine doing."
The Red Sox coach added, "His father played football at UConn and I know he was either committed or he was extremely serious about going to UConn. When I got him it was more just exposure to the campus, taking him to practice, some of the meetings with some of the other guys we had. Just regular recruiting stuff. It was relatively easy at the time."
Fatse wasn't so bad himself, ultimately being drafted by the Brewers in the 24th round of the 2009 MLB Draft after starring alongside Springer in the Huskies' outfield.
Springer, conversely, would be taken two years later with the 11th overall pick by the Astros.
To say both have come a long way is an understatement, with some adjustments along the way. For Fatse, it was morphing from player into coach. Springer's evolution ultimately paved the way for what figures to be one of the biggest paydays this offseason.
"I remember when we were in college he was really, really violent with his swing," Fatse remembered. "His intangibles were off the charts in terms of athleticism and all of that. But his swing, he had a really violent swing. I remember at the time some of the evaluators said, 'Well he's going to have to tighten that up.' I was interesting to see the transition over his minor league career, getting to the big leagues and making adjustments, just simplifying things. He still had those same aggressive, athletic moves, but obviously he has been able to put it into something that is extremely consistent and something that is able to do a lot of damage at the major league level which is great to see."
On the podcast, Fatse discusses much more than just Springer. He goes into detail regarding his first season on a major-league staff, earning the trust of the Red Sox' hitters, a look at Jackie Bradley's late-season surge and where hitting in the major leagues is headed.