PitchingThe pitching looks unbelievable so far: 81 innings pitched, 1.78 ERA, only two HRs given up, 75 strikeouts, and amazingly only 12 walks (our pitchers have managed to hit some batters, but some of that was caused by some obvious leaning into the pitch by a couple of batters). A 75:12 strikeout-to-walk ratio is very good, obviously.
Other pitching stats: 9-0 record, five saves, 26 runs allowed--but only 16 were earned, 66 hits allowed--but only 15 have gone for extra bases.
Infield DefenseDefense looks really strong, except for first base. Two freshmen have played there (Zac Welch and Spencer Pennington), and neither has looked completely comfortable in the field. Hopefully they'll come around.
Carlos Sosa at shortstop will catch anything he can get to and make accurate throws following the grabs; he had a severe Achilles tendon injury in the fall, and I'm not sure it's completely healed so his range is limited somewhat (but still not bad).
Brent Boyd at second and freshman Allen Rice at third both have made big plays at their positions.
Outfield DefenseScott McClanahan in CF will run down a whole lot of what would normally be hits. He made an over-the-shoulder catch on the dead run just short of the warning track in one of the games earlier in the season, and it was fairly routine for him. Scott already holds the school record for outfield assists.
Peter Stonard in RF (a sophomore) had always played the infield before coming to Alabama, and he still looks a little lost at times; his arm is outstanding, however, probably as good as McClanahan's.
Two players have played left field (JC transfer Travis Garner and Chad White, a sophomore who started some last year). They've both done fine, although neither have had many plays that would really test them.
The only errors during the Georgia Southern series were by the two first basemen and one by McClanahan (a questionable one) on a grounder that he bobbled enough for a runner to take an extra base.
Behind the plateJeremy Brown at catcher of course is superb, although teams have stolen some bases this year.
OffenseBeau Hearod is hitting .344 and Stonard is at .444, but the other hitters aren't producing a whole lot yet. Both Boyd and Brown are struggling, but since both are something like .360 in their careers this will end soon.
Sosa is hitting .333, McClanahan .303, Grant Redding .600, Zac Welch .429, Chad White .400 and Gabe Scott .333.
The only thing that concerns me about hitting is that I don't see a whole lot of power -- we've got seven home runs so far (2 by Hearod and 1 each by Sosa, McClanahan, Brown, Garner and Stonard. Stonard didn't hit any out as a freshman last season), no triples, and not exactly a basketful of doubles.
Bunting also was not good in the games I've seen.
ConclusionI think we have the chance to be really good because of the pitching, defense, and the best depth we've ever had. Nobody (with the possible exception of Hearod) is going to be a consistent long ball hitter, so all of them have to hit a few out.
EDITOR'S NOTE: It's doubtful that Alabama athletics has a more loyal fan than Grif Carden--certainly none more knowledgeable. He recently wrote this baseball scouting report for some of his friends, and then graciously consented to allow us to share it with our readers.