College : : Story
College freshmen roundup
Tuesday, March 05, 2013
three weeks already in the books in the young college season, we
thought it was time to take a quick look to see what freshman are off
to fast starts in their collegiate careers. After all, we have seen
most of these young men for the past couple of years at events around
the country and got to know many of them, along with their parents,
very well. It’s gratifying to see so many jumping off to quick
starts and, subjectively, it seems that this group of freshman is
making its mark much more quickly than most classes.
Is there a team getting a broader balance of contributions from
freshman than Alabama? Outfielder Georgie Salem (.349-0-6, 8 BB),
middle infielders Mikey White (.289-0-6) and Kyle Overstreet
(.243-0-8) and right handed pitchers Ray Castillo (2-0, 2.92, 12 IP)
and Keaton Haack (0-0, 0.00, 8 IP) are all maturing quickly as part
of the Tide’s 8-3 start.
State: Right handed pitcher Trevor Williams is a near cinch
first rounder come June, but the Sun Devils next three best pitchers
are all freshman. 2011 PG All-American Ryan Burr is the team’s
closer (2 saves, 0.90 ERA in 10 innings), while lefties Ryan Kellogg
(2-0, 1.20 in 15 innings) and Brett Lilek (1-0, 2.08 in 13 innings)
have also been outstanding.
The Razorbacks have started out a disappointing 7-5 and it might
have been worse without the efforts of two freshman. Redshirt
freshman first baseman Tyler Spoon leads the team in virtually every
offensive category and is hitting .391-2-15. Right handed pitcher
Trey Killian has out-pitched junior top prospects Ryan Stanek, Colby
Suggs and Barrett Astin while going 1-1, 1.21 in 14 innings. Most
impressively, Killian has struck out 15 hitters without issuing a
Like their in-state brethren, Auburn has started the season 8-3.
Second baseman Jordan Ebert is leading the team in hitting at
.424-0-3 and no one who saw him hit over the course of the 18 Perfect
Game events he attended should be surprised by that performance.
State Fullerton: Does any team in the country have a younger
pitching staff than the Titans? Freshman and sophomores have thrown
every inning thus far except for the three innings that junior closer
Michael Lorenzen has picked up in save situations. When your top two
starters are freshmen right-handers Justin Garza (3-0, 1.27) and
Thomas Eshelman (3-0, 0.87), that’s not a problem. Neither is
CSF’s 10-1 record and team 2.08 ERA.
Florida: Right handed pitcher Zac Favre had a big sinking 90 mph
fastball in high school to go with a nasty 83 mph slider as an out
pitch, a perfect combination for a reliever. Coach Terry Rooney
seems to think so as well, as he’s used Favre seven times in UCF’s
first 11 games and Favre has posted a perfect 0.00 ERA in 8.1
2011 PG All-American Clate Schmidt has stepped right into the Tigers
starting rotation and is 2-0, 1.32 thus far. One wonders if he was
surprised when his younger brother, 2014 right-hander Clarke,
recently committed to rival South Carolina? Clate got the drop on
that future sibling rivalry, picking up the win last Saturday with
seven solid innings in a 6-3 Clemson win over USC.
The Gators’ early season pitching has been a mess and it would be
even worse without freshman right handed pitcher Jay Carmichael, who
has posted a 1-1, 0.87 mark in 10 innings on a staff where the next
most efficient hurler has a 3.38 ERA. Shortstop Richie Martin has
been equally as solid at shortstop, hitting .327, third best on the
team, while making only two errors at shortstop.
International: Infielder Edwin Rios (.400-2-14) has 12 extra
base hits in the first 12 games of his collegiate career. Plus he’s
versatile enough that when regular starting shortstop Julius Gaines
started a game at designated hitter, Rios slid over from first base
to take the shortstop position.
State: After red-shirting for football in the fall, 2011 PG All-American Jameis
Winston has been all over the baseball field in the spring.
Interestingly, his pitching (2 saves, 1.80 in 5 innings) has been
ahead of his offense (.217-0-1 in 5 starts) thus far.
Tech: While the rest of college baseball plays small ball and
hopes to be on the right end of a pitcher’s duel, Tech has been the
best hitting team in the country, averaging 9.6 runs per game while
hitting .350 with 12 total home runs. Freshman infielder Matt
Gonzalez has been a big part of that, hitting .391-1-19 and even
going 5-for-5 in stolen base attempts.
State: Coach Paul Maineri wasted no time putting 2011 Perfect
Game All-American shortstop Alex Bregman right into his veteran
lineup in the three hole and Bregman has responded, hitting .356-1-12
through the first 11 games. Perhaps even more important is that
Bregman, who missed most of his senior year in high school with a
hand injury, is also playing errorless ball at shortstop.
First baseman David Thompson has been crushing the ball in the
middle of the 10-2 Canes’ lineup, hitting .326-1-16 to go along
with seven doubles.
Carolina: It didn’t take much time for 2011 Perfect Game
All-American Skye Bolt to move into the cleanup spot for the
undefeated Tar Heels. Hitting .472-0-10 with five doubles and eight
walks through 10 games will do that.
Left handed pitcher Cole Irvin was the type of polished southpaw
pitching prospect coming out of Southern California last year that
you could have predicted immediate success for at the college level.
He’s done just that, going 3-0, 2.05 in three starts encompassing
22 innings while walking just three hitters.
State: The Beavers are a perfect 11-0 with a microscopic 0.90
team ERA. While they do have a veteran pitching staff, it appears as
two young freshman are leading the way. Right handed pitcher Andrew
Moore has moved right into the starting rotation and is 3-0, 0.42 in
21.2 innings, while fellow righty Max Engelbrekt has been near
perfect out of the bullpen, going 2-0, 0.00 with two saves, allowing
only two baserunners in nine innings of work.
Diego State: Right handed pitcher Bubba Derby hasn’t got much
love in the prospect circles due to his 5-foot-10, 185-pound frame
but he’s throwing in the low-90s with a nasty breaking ball.
That’s led to a 1-0, four save, 1.00 record in nine innings already
as Head Coach Tony Gwynn’s closer.
Stanford’s pitching plans early in the season were supposed to be
“Mark Appel and hope for the best.” Even with stud freshman
right handed pitcher Freddy Avis on the sidelines The Cardinal has
posted a team 1.74 ERA and a 9-2 mark thanks in large part to the
success of freshman right-handers Bobby Zarubin (1-0, 0.96 in 18.2
innings) and Daniel Starwalt (2-0, 1.00 in 9 innings).
The 6-5 Longhorns are still looking for a way to kick start their
offense, as they have scored only 37 runs in those 11 games without a
single home run. Freshman shortstop and 2011 PG All-American C.J. Hinojosa has been one of
the few bright spots, though, hitting .333, second on the team, to
go with a team leading three doubles and a .415 on-base percentage.
A&M: Right handed pitcher Grayson Long (1-0, 1.59 in 11
innings) has been very solid in the early going with his low- to
mid-90s fastball and improved slider. But the big surprise has been
walk-on freshman outfielder/first baseman Jonathan Moroney, who owns
the team’s only home run and is second on the team in both batting
average and RBI (.351-1-8).
Tech: While Tech junior top prospect right handed pitcher Trey
Masek is getting the attention he deserves for his 0.00 ERA after 24
innings, don’t sleep on freshman Matt Withrow. Two of Withrow’s
three starts have ended in shutouts and he’s posted a 2-1, 2.65
mark to start his college career.
The 12-1 Commodores haven’t needed much help from their vaunted
freshman class, but have got some nonetheless, including a walk off
home run by 2011 PG All-American Rhett Wiseman last weekend.
Infielder Xavier Turner (.314-0-7) has received nine starts already.
Top prospect right-handers Walker Buehler and Carson Fulmer (yet another former PG All-American) have
shown filthy stuff at times but are still struggling to locate their
plus stuff in the strike zone more frequently (17 walks in 16.1
The Cavaliers staff somehow coaxed left handed pitcher Brandon
Waddell out of Texas and across the country to the East Coast. Good
move. Waddell has been untouchable in the early going (2-0, 0.54),
striking out 27 hitters in 16.2 innings.
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