Reports By Tyler Henninger
College Player Report Database
April 1 Notebook: Chase Silseth, Chandler Murphy
April 2 Notebook: Garrett Irvin, Vince Vannelle, Dawson Netz, Preston Price
April 3 Notebook: TJ Nichols, Quinn Flanagan
Players Covered: Jacob Berry, Branden Boissiere, Daniel Susac, Donta Williams, Kobe Kato, Ryan Holgate, Tanner O'Tremba, Jacob Blas
What Happened: The Wildcats went into Tempe and took two-of-three games against the Sun Devils. Arizona came out hot on Thursday night, defeating ASU by a score of 10-5, followed by a back-and-forth battle in game two where the Wildcats scored the go-ahead run on a game-winning hit by DH Jacob Berry in the eighth. Game three featured a pitcher’s duel where the Wildcats struggled to push across runs, despite managing to collect 11 hits. The offense performed well and the pitching had its glimpses, allowing the Wildcats to play three quality games.
Carrying Tool: A deep lineup. The Wildcats lineup features a long string of quality, dynamic hitters that can piece together tough at-bats. The top eight spots in the batting order are all filled by players that can provide value in various ways. Jacob Berry and Branden Boissiere have shown the ability to barrel baseballs consistently and reach base at a high level. Daniel Susac provides a power bat out of the cleanup spot. The freshman backstop shows above-average pop and can drive the ball out with thump. Donta’ Williams and Kobe Kato provide interesting speed profiles with some sneaky pop out the leadoff and eighth spot, not to mention Ryan Holgate’s power out of the five hole. The deep lineup keeps Arizona in most games and has the ability to put up double-digit runs. It's dynamic and tough to pitch against.
Concerns: Consistent starting pitching. All three Wildcat starters struggled at some point during their start. Chase Silseth started out dominant, cruising through three innings. He eventually lost feel for his command and surrendered a five-spot in the fourth before being pulled. Before settling in during game two, Garret Irvin left a few too many pitches over the middle and got hit hard in the first inning, leading to three runs. TJ Nichols bounced back nicely with a quality start that featured some impressive stuff, but struggled with command all night and has been inconsistent throughout the year. The rotation shows promise, but needs to be more consistent start to start and inning to inning.
Best Player on the Field: DH/INF Jacob Berry. The freshman switch-hitter has been extremely impressive all year long. He has above-average bat-to-ball skills and the ability to find the barrel often. Berry has advanced strike zone awareness, allowing him to walk frequently. He can drive the ball to all fields and has an approach that uses the middle of the field. Hitting .433 on the year following the set with ASU, Berry is now on an 11-game hitting streak and will look to continue his dominant start to a college career.
Jacob Berry, INF/DH, 2022 Eligible
While Berry did not show the home run power that we have seen this season, the freshman did showcase why he is regarded as one of the top underclass bats in the country. Berry ended the weekend going 4-for-12 with two RBI including bringing home the winning run with a base hit up the middle on Friday night. The weekend performance now has Berry hitting a team leading .443/.543/.778 on the season.
The 6-foot, 212-pound switch-hitter shows the ability to drive the ball from both sides of the dish. During batting practice, he showcased above-average raw power with the ability to drive the ball over the wall. The swing is a bit stiff at this point, but has the ability to get the barrel to the ball often. The left-handed stroke is cleaner than the right-handed one, but both show potential.
Berry makes solid contact during games and has good strike zone awareness. He uses a line drive approach to drive balls to all parts of the park. The freshman makes for a tough at-bat as he showed the ability to draw a walk, racking up four base-on-balls in the three-game set. There is some swing-and-miss in the hit profile, but Berry showed advanced strike zone awareness and the strikeouts should continue to trend downward as he gains experience.
A question with Berry moving forward is where he will wind up defensively. Thus far, he has primarily seen time at the DH position. His bat is one that needs to be in the lineup anyway it can. During infield fungos, Berry displayed solid hands that can catch the ball, albeit with stiff actions that will limit him defensively. He showed a strong arm with on-line carry that could play at third. There is a lot of development to go, but he could end up a playable third baseman.
Berry has a bright future down in Tucson. He will be a bat the Wildcats can rely on to produce consistently as well as come up with the big hit when needed, which he showed he could do during the series with the Sun Devils.
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