Countdown to First Pitch: Mitchell Kranson
With freshman slugger Nick Halamandaris still laid up after thumb surgery, and senior first baseman Devon Rodriguez still recovering from a fall shoulder injury -- likely to start the season at designated hitter -- it looks as though freshman Mitchell Kranson out of Concord (Calif.) De La Salle will be pressed into service as a corner infielder, as sophomore third baseman Chris Paul moves to first.
Kranson split time between third base and catcher this fall, showing a short, quick throwing action and a decent glove. He definitely looks like a catcher playing third, but he has a strong and accurate arm.
Kranson's biggest attribute is his bat. He has very quick wrists and stays inside the ball, able to generate power to all fields. He won't hit many balls out of the park, but he very rarely fails to square a ball up when he makes contact. He doesn't really have a true position in the field, but the Cal coaches are excited about Kranson's Tony Renda-like work ethic and his bat, which they liken to that of current St. Louis Cardinals star Allen Craig.
"His bat plays," said pitching coach and recruiting coordinator Mike Neu.
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