Coach Raffo On the Line-Up

Coach Tommy Raffo goes over the Arkansas State Red Wolves’ roster by position and the batting order.

Catcher

We start with Stuart Levy and behind him we have Tyler Hardy, Dan Journey and Dalton Lovell. Stuart had a great fall and a fantastic approach to the game. I think he is excited about his senior year. The other young men need to play a role to help play behind him and keep improving.

First base

You have Matt Burgess; you’ve got Zach George and Tanner Ring with JD Rainwater Brett Nickle behind them. The top three are probably more candidates to play every day at this point and time. They are interchangeable, the top three; probably more athletic with George and Ring.

Second base

We moved Joe Scrimp over. He has really done a wonderful job with adapting to the role at second base as captain of the infield. Obviously, paying his dues last year has been a big help for us. (Eric) Wilcoxson is over there. And one thing we have been able to do is interchange all five of our middle infielders. They can all play the positions.

Shortstop

So when you look at the three shortstops you have got two freshmen over there in Jeremy Brown and Timmy Seldomridge and the old veteran (Lucas) Feddersen. So with those five they actually can all play short and the way we did our fall is we had all five do both positions as much as we could because we wanted to be interchangeable. There is no Dustin Jones on the team so we wanted to have flexibility. We thought Jeremy Brown came on in the fall. Timmy Seldomridge is a really good young athletic player who can play all three infield positions. Feddersen has done second, third and the outfield. That is the neat thing about the team I think there is some flexibility there.

“When the (freshmen) are facing a hard slider guy who is throwing a 92 it is going is a tough test. Now 86, 87 he can handle him. Zach George you are not worried about him at all. He can handle any pitcher. You have to protect Jeremy and the short game becomes a factor. To protect him you move runners, do things to have some success so it does not carry over into something else.

Third base

Tanner Ring, Zach George and Brett Anderson, who is a freshman and of course all the middle infielders play third too. I think we approached the fall as given every opportunity for all the positions to be learned within our system. I like it. I like what we are doing with the depth for that.

"We have Ring, George, and Burgess and then you have the combo at short with those three. For Brown to be a freshmen and will get a chance to play every day. Feddersen has got a little bit of experience. Seldomridge is athletic as heck. All three are great candidates for us.

"We have just started experimenting with Timmy in the outfield because we think he can help the team. He’s got some learning at the plate but he does so many things with his running ability, his athleticism; we are trying to find a way for him to help the team."

Designated hitter

You have George, Burgess and Ring then a second tier DH with Nickel, Hardie, Anderson and any of the outfielders. You have Group One then you have who is going good (at the time).

The outfield

"You have Austin Baker in center and Ty Michelotti and Colin Massenalli at the corners. Ty White has been a transfer coming in to the program who can play center and Derek Birgenski played last year. And transfer Garrett Rucker is playing this fall and will be redshirted. That was a good pickup for us. We need him. He’s going to be a good player for us."

Batting order

"We do have left right balance if we choose to go that route. I think the question as a coach do you choose to go matchup or do you choose to go with your best 10 guys or how do you approach. Does that pitcher have a difficult time with different hitters or do you roll with what you have going at the plate at that part time.

“I think we have a variety of options. I think there are still jobs to be won. In the outfield I think there are, and potentially in the infield too. Shortstop needs to get hammered down; we've only have two shortstops in 6 years, so that is big.

"I think there are probably 5, 6 or 7 guys at this point that have kinda proven they can hit any kind of pitching. For the most part, every coach in the country probably feels that way. Now what are the role guy’s roles, what guys come out of the bushes? Who are they are going to be? I don’t think you really see just 9 guys on every team. Someone is going to funk out on you and have a bad year.

“We are in middle of 6-7-8 hitters, that are really pretty good offensive players. The challenge is to keep developing within and have others step up.

Last year’s surprises

Wilcoxson, Feddersen helped some. Burgers was second in the league in RBIs. That was a big surprise. Wilcoxson, no way he was going to helps us last season. Who is that person who is going to take off? I think they are in the program. We like the guys we have, just need to keep teaching; keep getting after it.

Playing at Kell Field

You have to have some speed. You can’t sit there with 9 guys who can’t run in this park. You can’t, you have got to be able to pressure, do some things. You just can’t wait for 3-run homer.

The Sun Belt

I don’t care where you are ranked, 8, 9, 10 and 11 can beat 1, 2 and 3 with the exceptions of one team last year, Lafayette. We have been rated 8, 9 and 10 and done well. It comes down to your health and when you catch teams. Are you playing good or are they playing poorly?”