Baseball has been a big part of Chris Bianchi's life since he started playing
T-ball when he was 4, and he hopes it always will be. The Canyon Crest Academy senior says he wants to be involved in the game after he hangs up his spikes for the last time and is mulling a career as a professional sports agent.
His vision of the profession, however, is far from the one commonly associated with cut-throat negotiating and greed.
"You don't want to be like Scott Boras where everybody hates you," Bianchi said. "You want to do something that's in the best interests of the player and the team. You want to be able to make that connection."
Bianchi, a Trinity University (San Antonio)-bound catcher, is making a name for himself as an agent of change.
His consistent hitting, solid defense and leadership have propelled the Ravens to new heights.
CCA, a school known more for academics than athletics, played Bishop's of La Jolla on May 18 with at least a share of the Coastal League South title at stake. The Ravens (4-3 in league, 12-13 overall going into May 18), were seeking their first baseball title since the school opened its doors in 2005.
The Ravens are coming off a forgettable 2-5-1 league campaign last season.
"Hopefully we can start a new tradition," Bianchi said.
Bianchi leads the team in several offensive categories, including batting average (.389), slugging percentage (.528) and on-base percentage (.494).
He has a solid defensive skill-set that CCA coach Ryan Sienko — himself a former minor league catcher — believes will develop exponentially in a college setting. Sienko also credits Bianchi for shepherding a much-improved pitching staff.
The Ravens boast a 3.50 team ERA. Matt Malott, who is 5-2 with a 1.58 ERA, leads their staff. Malott is bound for Occidental University in Los Angeles.
Although he hasn't garnered much attention from professional scouts yet, Sienko believes Bianchi will develop into a professional caliber player at Trinity.
"Chris is one of those players who has stepped up taking on a leadership role and hopefully he's going to lead this team to a championship," Sienko said. "He loves the game, and once he gets into a system where he gets consistent work he'll thrive because he's such a hard-working kid."
Bianchi says he developed leadership skills as a Boy Scout, where he's been honored for assisting the elderly and building homes in Tijuana.
He's won elections for Patrol Leader and Troop Leader and owns a Life Rank.
Sienko described Bianchi as an excellent all-around athlete with above average speed for a catcher, something Bianchi attributes to playing a variety of youth sports, including football and basketball.
Bianchi's career highlights include hitting a two-run single in his varsity debut as a freshman call-up, and playing at Petco Park earlier this month — albeit in a 12-3 loss to Francis Parker of San Diego on May 9.
"Playing on a professional field was an amazing experience," he said.
Bianchi said playing baseball professionally has been a lifelong dream.
And although he probably wouldn't forgo a college scholarship if he were to be drafted next month, he said it would be a nice confidence boost he could use to boost his draft stock in college.
"My dad told me 'If you love what you do, you never have to work a day in your life,' " Bianchi said. "I would never consider baseball work, just getting paid for something I love."
Bianchi believes his most valuable tools are his leadership and some intangibles, tools that he admits aren't readily apparent to professional scouts who sit in the bleachers with radar guns and stop watches.
"The intangible things are a little bit tough to show a coach that hasn't seen you play a whole lot," he said. "The throws to second, running times, and hitting well, that's something that's easier to prove.
"That's something they can put a number on."
Count on Bianchi pointing out those numbers on behalf of his future clients.
Bianchi, who plans to major in business administration, says he'll work with teams when he can if he becomes a sports agent, but vows not to let anybody bully his players.
"You still want to get the best deal possible, so you obviously have to push, but hopefully you don't have to drive people up the wall," he said.