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College | Story | 5/9/2019

Scout Take: BYU

Connor Spencer        
Photo: Brock Hale (BYU Photo)

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BYU Cougars

What Happened: BYU battled back to win a crucial series at LMU giving themselves a little wiggle room heading into their final two conference series of the year. On Thursday night the BYU offense was struck down by the backbone of the LMU pitching staff in Codie Paiva and Nick Frasso, but on Friday the offense sprung back to life and never died down again, scoring eight runs. On Saturday the hits continued to pile up as BYU tacked on 10 more runs for a huge series win at LMU to move into sole possession of first place in the West Coast Conference. As of right now the magic number of wins to guarantee a tournament invite is 18. BYU is in full control of their own destiny heading into the final two weeks of the season.

Carrying Tool: Without a doubt it’s their offense. They have a team average of .283 and they have a premier bat and a few breakthrough offensive pieces that can carry them through droughts. They’ve outscored their opponents by over 100 runs and that’s no accident. This team is competitive up and down the lineup and will always give them a chance to crawl back into ball games if need be.

Concerns: Pitching. It’s good, but not great, and in regard to making a serious postseason run to Omaha, the Cougars are lacking depth in their rotation and bullpen. Easton Walker has been their best starter this season posting a sub-2.00 ERA, but he’s more of a pitch-to-contact type of guy, and they really don’t have a shutdown arm when they need one. They allowed a very mediocre LMU offense to score 13 runs.

Best Player of the Field: Brock Hale. He’s the most polished bat in the BYU lineup and an argument can be made that he’s the most polished hitter in the entire conference. This season he leads the team in average, hits, home runs, slugging percentage and on-base percentage, and this is technically a down year for the slugger. He has a ridiculous 1.065 career OPS at BYU and he plays a solid right field for the Cougars. What’s interesting is he’s shown major interest of playing at the next level and has showcased true consistency with his numbers throughout his college career. However, the biggest issue for MLB teams when considering Hale is his age as he turns 25 shortly after the June draft. A team that can look past his age may find themselves a diamond in the rough who at the very least may soar past the lower levels of the minor leagues given his polish at the plate.

Fearless Forecast: BYU will make the WCC tournament and then things get interesting from there. Their biggest roadblock to winning the conference tournament, and an automatic bid, is going to be Gonzaga, but even if Gonzaga wins the WCC tournament BYU has a high enough RPI (currently 32) to receive an at-large bid. Regardless of how they get in it seems likely that the Cougars will be playing in the postseason where they could play spoiler to a Regional host.


Players covered: Brock Hale, Easton Walker, Justin Sterner, Jackson Cluff.




Brock Hale
The biggest bat in the BYU lineup is without a doubt outfielder Brock Hale. Hale starts closed with a slightly wide stance and a neutral hand position. He has a small methodical bat wag back and forth behind his head before heading back into his launch. His load is simple and quiet as he simply lifts his foot, shifts his weight and takes a small stride towards the mound as his weight shifts through his swing. His hands go back and down into his load and his first movement with his hands and shoulders is strong immediately getting his barrel on plane.

Hale does a nice job of using his lower half, extending his hands through the hitting zone and he’s constantly barreling balls to all fields. His backside gets all the way through on his swing as his back foot lifts off the ground at contact, similar to Mike Trout. Hale also does a nice job of staying tall on his backside and he gets his elbow into the slot quickly.


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