Observers Compare Cal Commit Sam Wezniak to Marcus Semien, Tony Renda

New Cal baseball commit draws heady comparisons to Bears middle infielders of the past ...

The California baseball team has been busy this summer, and ended the recruiting season with an Aug. 30 commit from 2017 shortstop Sam Wezniak

During his July trip to Berkeley, Cal coaches compared Wezniak to former Bears Marcus Semien and Tony Renda -- both high-round draft picks, with Semien currently playing just down the road for the Oakland Athletics, and Renda knocking on the door of a big league debut next season. “They were describing my swing and his (Renda's), and we both swing extremely hard and put 100 percent of our body into it, and we just let it fly," said Wezniak earlier this week. "I originally got that from my brother, who’s a big influence on me. He swings just like that, and it’s been great for me.”

“I actually went home and did a little research on them (Semien and Renda), and it seems like it’s definitely nice company to be in.”

Wezniak -- who's brother is currently playing at the JuCo level -- has a live arm, a balanced swing and an up-the-middle approach at the dish, with a short, direct stroke. He was also an alternate for the the Team USA National Team Developmental Program 17U team this summer.

The shortstop out of Carlsbad (Calif.) Sage Creek is a versatile middle infielder, who's really aggressive offensively, and can develop into a middle-of-the-order type hitter. Scouts have described him as just a pure baseball player, who's a "hustler, a grinder."

“I take the most pride in my hitting," says Wezniak. "That’s my strong suit, since I was a little kid, and playing short. Honestly, I love playing anywhere in the infield – second base, third base, shortstop – I’m comfortable at all three. I just love being on the field, playing ball. It’s my favorite thing to do, and I want to do it for as long as I possibly can.”

Wezniak received interest from USC, Northridge, UCLA, Kansas State, Michigan, Iowa, Cal Poly-SLO, Arizona, Washington, Nebraska, Stanford, Duke and Ole Miss, with offers from the Trojans, Corn Huskers, Huskies and Wildcats before scoring his offer over the summer from the Bears. “They started recruiting me after I played at the J.O.’s (Junior Olympics) in Arizona, which was at the end of June," Wezniak recalls. "They contacted me while I was playing there, after they saw me play the first three games of the tournament, and my coach had me call him. Then, we talked a couple times here and there, and we set up a visit for the middle of July, and I committed at the end of August.

“It did move extremely quickly. They were the last one in the bunch for me, personally, and I went up there, I loved it up there. I think, ever since I stepped foot on that campus, I kind of knew that’s where I wanted to be, and that’s where I wanted to go.”

Wezniak visited Berkeley with his mother, and was instantly blown away with David EsquerBrad Sanfilippo and the rest of the Cal staff.

“I think, honestly, the biggest part was the coaching staff. I talked with coach Esquer a few times, and I really just love the philosophy he has as a head coach," Wezniak says. "He’s someone I’m extremely excited about playing for, and the campus feel. It was really open, it was really welcoming, very accepting. It’s a place I could call home for four years."

What, in particular, about Esquer -- himself a former shortstop -- helped sell Wezniak? “He lets his players play," Wezniak says. "Hitting-wise, for example, he just lets them swing the bat, and that’s what I do. He doesn’t try to bring you down. He lets you do your thing, lets you swing the way I’ve been swinging my whole life. The day that I was talking to him on the phone, he and his infielders were going to go to a racquetball court to work on their hands, and that’s something that really appealed to me, because I’d never heard of anything like that. I think it’s really cool to work with your hands somewhere other than just on the diamond. It’s just bare hands and racquetballs. That’s a really cool philosophy.”

Wezniak's July 20 visit opened his eyes to the direction of the program, and to what it could provide for him -- a home. 

“I went up there with my mom, she loved it, I loved it, coach Sanfilippo made me feel really welcomed, and made me feel like they really wanted me," he says. "I think that’s a really big part of picking a school. You obviously want to go to a school where you 100-percent want to be there, and be all-in, but you also want coaches that want you to be there, and are not just halfway with you. They made me feel 100-percent welcome. I loved it. It was a great fit, and I pulled the trigger.”

Wezniak -- who owns a 3.71 GPA -- joins Chris JoaquimDarren Baker and Sam Cachola as members of the 2017 recruiting class for the Bears, and is a big feather in the Bears' cap, having been named an alternate on the NTDP 17U squad, along with two of his Team California summer ball teammates.

“Me and three of my teammates were selected for that team. One of our right-handed pitchers, who just committed to Oregon State, made the actual team," Wezniak says. "Three of us made the alternate team. It was a cool deal. It was really nice to be recognized for something like that, Team USA. It’s something you can represent your country for, and it was just very cool.”

Wezniak learned a lot about his own game while playing in Arizona with the National Team program, and when talking about the experience, certainly sounds like Renda. “You see all these great players all around the country, and you want to play your best," he says. "It’s good to know that you fit in, because you want to be the best, and you want to beat the best, and that’s where I was at, at the end of that, and it was an amazing experience – something that I’ll always remember.”

He also learned more about what he wants to work on over the next two seasons.

“I think I’ve got to be more consistent in the field," Wezniak says. "I’ve got pretty quick hands, and I want to make sure, on every single ground ball, that I’m fundamentally sound. I really take pride in my fielding, and I want to be sure I can be the best I can possibly be.”

Wezniak will be coming out for the Washington State football game for another unofficial, and will be joined by a friend of his -- catcher Korey Lee of Vista (Calif.) -- who's talking with the Bears, and was on the Team USA Alternate team, as well. Top Stories