Baseball Preview: LBSU Lineup

Long Beach was a poor hitting team in 2009 when they hit .289 with a .370 OBP and .394 SLG % and averaged six runs per game (7th in the Big West in all of those categories) while hitting only 24 HR's (8th in the conference) and striking out seven times per game (3rd most in the conf).

The Dirtbags got off to a slow start at the plate this season and are hitting only .286 and averaging six runs per game in non-conf games.  Long Beach’s bats heated up once Big West play started and they hit a scorching .346 in their first five conf series and averaged nearly eight runs per game, both of which are second to Fullerton in conference games.  As a result of their recent hot hitting the Dirtbags have upped their team average up to .308 for the season (4th in the conf).  Long Beach doesn’t hit the ball out of the yard often with only 23 HR’s (next to last in the Big West) playing in cavernous Blair Field but they do have good gap power and are 2nd in the conf with 108 doubles.  The Dirtbags have long been known as a little ball team and were 2nd in the Big West in 2009 with 118 SB’s and 61 SAC’s and are still bunting quite a bit with 45 SAC’s but they aren’t running quite as much or as successfully this season with 52 SB’s in 87 attempts.

Long Beach’s defense was around the middle of the pack in 2009 with a .966 FLD % and 68 errors and the Dirtbags defense has been a little better this season with a .970 FLD % and 51 errors.  What has hurt Long Beach is they have tended to make untimely errors that have led to 48 unearned runs and turned several wins into losses, such as the final game of their series at Cal Poly when the Mustangs scored the winning run on an error.  The primary culprit has been infield defense with 40 errors by their infielders despite having an experienced infield.  The Dirtbags have very good outfield defense, which is necessary with the large dimensions at Blair Field, and their OF’s have committed only one error all season. 

Infield

Long Beach is the third straight conference team that Fullerton is playing that has an experienced infield.  The only new starter for the Dirtbags is at 3B.

C – SR #3 Kellen Hoime (RH – .220/.280/.275, 1-14-6; ’09 stats – .252/.338/.291, 0-19-5) started 16 of the last 18 games in 2009 after splitting time earlier in the year and has been the regular C this season.  He is in the lineup for his defense, will usually bat 9th and has 6 SAC’s.  Hoime has struck out nearly one-third of the time.  Long Beach has allowed 41 WP’s/PB’s and runners are 22-33 on SB attempts against Hoime.  He went 0-2 in the first game against Fullerton and is 0-7 in his career against the Titans.  Backup Joel Thys (Both – .171 in 41 AB’s) has started 11 games.

1B – SR #6 Steve Tinoco (RH – .349/.403/.430, 1-41-1; ‘09 stats – .343/.379/.543, 5-30-5) is 5th in the conf in RBI and was 2nd on the team in HR’s and SLG% in 2009.  He started off slowly in the run production dept but has gotten hot during the conf season and has 22 RBI in 15 Big West games despite usually batting 7th.  Tinoco is average defensively and has made five errors.  He went 3-4 in the first game against Fullerton and is 6-19 with an HR in his career against the Titans.

2B – Soph #8 Kirk Singer (RH – .325/.409/.544, 5-19-5; ’09 stats – .317 in 41 AB’s) didn’t play much last year and was still in a utility role earlier this year backing up at 2B, SS and 3B until his hot bat forced Long Beach to make a switch and Singer was inserted into the lineup at 2B.  He usually hits 2nd and is 2nd on the team in HR’s and SLG.  Singer has good range but is used to playing on the left side of the infield and has made eight errors.

Soph #4 Derek Legg (Both – .207/.280/.244, 0-9-1; ’09 stats – .304/.382/.376, 1-20-11) started last year as a FR and was starting earlier this season before the lineup was shuffled.  He has 7 SAC’s so he will usually be asked to drop a bunt down when the situation calls for it and will usually bat 8th or 9th.  He went 0-2 in the first game against Fullerton and is 2-15 in his career against the Titans.

SS – JR #5 Devin Lohman (RH – .415/.482/.565, 1-24-7; ’09 stats – .307/.409/.432, 4-36-14) has had an outstanding season, is projected to be selected in the first 5-10 rounds of the draft and is the latest in a long line of SS prospects at Long Beach. He will usually hit 3rd and is in the top ten in the Big West in AVG (2nd), OBP (2nd), 2B (6th), H (9th) and SLG (10th).  Lohman started the season off well and has gotten even hotter in conf games, hitting .455 against Big West opponents.  He was 2nd in the conf in 2009 with 48 K’s but has done a much better job of making contact and has struck out 25 times this year.  Lohman has struggled defensively and leads the conf with 14 errors.  He went 0-2 in the first game against Fullerton and is 2-13 in his career against the Titans.  Lohman is questionable for this weekend after injuring his hamstring in the first inning last Friday against Stanford and missing the rest of the series and the midweek game against USC.  If Lohman is unable to play, Singer would play SS and Legg would play 2B.

Soph #7 Joey Terdoslavich (Both – .326/.382/.500, 6-40-3; .293-5-25-2 in 2008) sat out last season after transferring from Miami and has been making up for lost time and is in the top ten in the Big West in HR (10th) and RBI (7th) while hitting cleanup.  He got off to a very slow start but has been hitting much better lately and has hit .371 with 2 HR and 14 RBI in conf games.  Terdoslavich has decent range at 3B but has made nine errors.  He went 0-2 in the first game against Fullerton.

Outfield

Long Beach returned all of their OF’s from last season so it was expected that this would be a strong area for the Dirtbags and their OF’s have delivered.

LF – JR #40 Jonathon Jones (RH – .317/.394/.469, 2-21-6; ’09 stats – .307/.388/.375, 1-23-15) has good speed and was the starting CF in 2008 and has been the LF the last two seasons.  He was one of several hitters who got off to slow starts but he has gotten hot in Big West games, hitting .352 with 11 RBI while usually batting 5th.  Jones handles the bat well and is 3rd in the Big West with 8 SAC bunts.  He went 0-3 in the first game against Fullerton and is 8-20 in his career against the Titans. 

CF – Soph #12 Brennan Metzger (RH – .331/.433/.479, 1-19-9; ’09 stats – .258/.389/.337, 1-9-11) has good speed and has been hitting leadoff after being a part-time player in 2009.  He is a scrappy player who will do whatever he can to get on base (leads the Big West with 17 HBP’s) and will run when he gets on base (10th in the Big West in SB’s).  Metzger has very good range in CF.  He went 1-3 in the first game against Fullerton.

RF – SR #23 TJ Mittelstaedt (LH – .323/4/.395/.500, 1-27-6; ‘09 stats – .316/.416/.551, 6-46-6) led the team in HR’s, RBI’s, BB’s, OBP, 2B’s, 3B’s and SLG in 2009 and was one of the few bright spots in a miserable season for Long Beach.  He got off to a very slow start and was hitting under .250 during the non-conf season but has heated up during Big West games, hitting .442 with 14 RBI despite hitting in the 8th spot in the order most of the time, although he has hit 3rd the last three games with Lohman out.  Mittelstaedt is average defensively but will make plays on everything that he gets to.  He went 1-4 in the first game against Fullerton and is 10-30 with 4 RBI’s in his career against the Titans, including 3-11 last season when all three hits were triples.

DH – JR #20 Jordan Casas (LH – ’09 stats – .308/.335/.362, 0-25-22) was the leadoff hitter and CF in 2009 and was 2nd in the conf in SB’s but he has struggled, been benched for awhile and is just now starting to play better after going 12-38 over the last 10 games.  Casas is 3rd in the Big West with 8 SAC bunts and will usually hit 6th but hit at the top of the order the last three games with Lohman out.  He went 0-2 in the first game against Fullerton and is 6-28 in his career against the Titans.