Baseball Preview: Santa Clara Lineup

Santa Clara didn't expect to have one of the better offenses in the WCC after losing so many starters from 2009 but their younger players have come along quickly and they have gotten strong seasons from the three veterans in the lineup, although one of them is injured and will be out this weekend.

The Broncos lead the WCC in scoring, averaging about seven runs per game, AVG (.320), OBP (.405), SLG (.464) and walks.  Santa Clara is primarily a contact hitting and gap hitting team that is next to last in the conf in HR’s (with one hitter having 12 of their 32 HR’s) and have struck out the fewest times in the WCC, averaging a little over five strikeouts per game.  Most of the Broncos don’t bunt much, with two hitters accounting for 16 of their 24 SAC bunts, and they do a good job of stealing bases when they run (44-58 SB’s).

As you would expect with an inexperienced team, Santa Clara has struggled defensively and has committed 67 errors for a .963 FLD %, which is 7th in the WCC, and turned only 27 DP’s.  Much of the inconsistency has been due to the Broncos shuffling players around both in the infield as well as the outfield. 

 

Infield

After losing most of their infielders from last season, Santa Clara has been starting mostly newcomers with the exception of their catcher.

C – SR #27 Geoff Klein (Both – .339/.427/.519, 5-42-2; ’09 stats – .379/.432/.547, 5-56-1) is the only veteran in the infield and has had a solid SR season at the plate as the cleanup hitter and is in the top ten in the WCC in H, RBI, TB, 2B, BB and OBP.  Klein has had issues behind the plate and has allowed 62 WP’s/PB’s and baserunners are 55-69 on SB attempts.

1B – FR #17 Ryan Rieger (LH – .275/.326/.388, 0-12-1) was a part-time DH for most of the season but has moved into the lineup at 1B and hit 5th or 6th the last four games due to the season ending wrist injury to JR Curtis Wagner, who is leading the WCC in AVG (.404) and OBP (.533).

DH – FR #25 Pat Stover (RH –.297/.341/.436, 2-30-2) is a big guy with power potential who has played some 1B but has primarily been the DH and batted 5th or 6th.  He has seen less time lately while hitting .172 in conf games.

2B – FR #10 Drew Ozanne (RH – .333 in 39 AB’s, 0-12-0) was a backup for most of the season but has moved into the lineup the last few weeks and usually hits in the lower part of the lineup.  He has made four errors in limited play.

SS – JC transfer #6 Evan Peters (RH – .328/.399/.443, 2-21-1) has started every game and done a solid job while usually hitting 2nd.  He does a good job of handling the bat and is tied for the team lead with 8 SAC’s.  Peters has good range at SS but has made 13 errors.

3B – FR #7 Blake Leyva (RH – .299/.355/.315, 0-23-5) has been in the lineup most of the time but usually hits 8th or 9th because he doesn’t have much power (only 2 extra base hits).  Leyva has played well defensively and only made two errors.  Leyva and Ozanne could switch spots in the field this weekend during one or two games like they did at UC Davis on Wednesday.

 

Outfield

Santa Clara has a more experienced outfield than infield with some reserves after returning from 2009 as well as having their best player from 2008 coming back from a medical redshirt.

LF – JR #8 Tommy Medica (RH – .386/.465/.580, 12-54-14; ’08 stats – .342/.438/.509, 5-56-1) was a U.S. national team member in 2007 as a catcher and was expected to be drafted in the first few rounds last June before suffering a season ending shoulder injury a couple of weeks into the season and taking a medical redshirt.  He has returned this year as an outfielder and has returned with a vengeance.  Medica bats 3rd and is in the top three in the WCC in AVG, SLG, OBP, HR, RBI, R, H, 2B, TB and SB so he obviously is the best player for Santa Clara and one of the best players in their conference.

SR #33 Patrick Terry (RH – .322/.363/.470, 3-18-2) has been getting more playing time lately in LF and hitting 6th and when he is in the lineup Medica will shift over to RF.

CF – FR #15 Matt Ozanne (RH – .396 in 48 AB’s, 2-13-3) has only been in the lineup for the last few weeks but has been on fire and provided a spark for the lineup in the leadoff spot.

RF – Soph #4 Lucas Herbst (LH – .323/.375/.422, 3-12-9; ‘09 stats – .212 in 66 AB’s) handles the bat well and is tied for the team lead with 8 SAC’s.  He is also one of the faster runners on the team and is in the top ten in the WCC in 3B’s and SB’s.  He was starting in CF until the emergence of Ozanne there.