With their latest victory, a 20-2 trashing of Santa Clara (back to back 20 run games!), the Blue Boys go into Fresno this weekend on a 4 game win streak. The Spartans are getting contributions from every player that Sam puts in the game and that will be huge as the season goes on.
The everyday lineup and weekend rotation is pretty-much set. Here is a synopsis through 18 games:
STARTING POSITION PLAYERS
The team is now batting .313 with its recent offensive outburst.
In their last three games, the Spatans have outscored their opponents 59-6 and scoring them in bunches!
Travis Becktel, filling in for the academically-ineligible Jason Van Over in right has been more than a pleasant suprise so far. Becktel, a true freshman has taken over the leadoff spot and is hitting well over .300. He is a patient hitter, leading the team in walks, and has a knack for hitting the ball where the defense is not playing him.
Quintero, has moved up to the #2 spot in the order and is also a patient hitter. He sprays the ball and is a good bunter, which is key if one is playing "small-ball". He also is willing to take walks and get hit by pitches. Lopez, now the #3 hitter seems to be very comfy in that spot. He started out slow, but has been on fire lately, pushing his average to .330 with a team-leading 23 RBIs.
Shorsher has been nothing short but a model this year, hitting over .400 and leading the team in homers with 6 and 2nd in RBIs with 21. He looks MUCH more comfy at the plate than he did last year and is really driving the ball with authority.
The comparison of where he is at now with where he was last year at this time is night and day. Baker has been steady so far hitting near .350 and can definitely hit the ball to the opposite field. He tends to strikeout often, but you'll take it if he's hitting for a high average.
Zamora has also been steady at the plate. The Cerritos pipeline with him, Baker, and Lopez is a good one. Zamora is a gap hitter and hits to how he is pitched. One thing about the players Sam recruits is their ability to handle the bat and have a good eye. Adams has caught on of late and is driving in runs. He's a streaky hitter, but when he's on, good things happen.
Bergstrom has been solid, but not spectacular. Markum King, filling in for the injured Kevin Frandsen, has done the job quite nicely. He too, like some other hitters, can hit the ball to the opposite field.
He also has the knack for base hits by hitting the ball where the defense aint.
Rogelstad is #1 guy and has been dominant early on. He's pitched a complete game and is 4-1 in 5 starts. His ERA is a tiny 1.65 and his walks to strikeouts is an impressive 5-26. He mixes all his pitches and knows HOW TO PITCH to batters.
Opponents are hitting just .152 against him. Jahseam George has been quite nice as the #2 guy. He has also pitched a complete game and can go deep into a game if necessary. Its important to have him as a lefty in a weekend rotation to mix it up.
Mike Malott has picked it up of late, albeit against weaker teams. He has a good walk-strikeout ratio and looks better with each outing. Matt Durkin is a true-freshman, but he doesnt act like one on the mound. He is poised, confident, and will challenge hitters. He has a live fastball and is developing his offspeed stuff to keep batters off-balance. He may get hit around this year at times, but by next year, I see him as a legit #1 or #2 starter.
Don Gemmell has been ok so far. He hasnt been able to pitch deep into his starts which is of concern, but perhaps he might thrive in the long-relief area which we need on the staff.
Andy Cook has done a good job out of the pen. He has a cross-body delivery which will give some right-handed batters fits this year. The rest of the bullpen has not been up to par so far, and we will need maybe another 2-3 guys to bring more to the table.
Esposito has been mediocre as a lefty. Manzo and Minister have been getting hit around. Amiwero, Lewis, and Farrell will only pitch when its a blowout-type game.
Overall, the pitching has been good with the exception of the spotty bullpen.
Alot of the bench guys have been getting playing time with the recent blowout wins.
Corrick, Contreras, Kilby, Milton, Niheu, Bautista, and and Guy have all gotten into games. Although I cant say much of their defense so far, they have been hitting well.
In particular, Corrick and Kilby have been solid. Corrick will definitely be a good outfielder and potential starter for next year. Contreras looks smooth so far at short.
The Blue Boys have finished the pre-WAC non-conference portion doing quite well. They need to take their confidence into Fresno this weekend and show people that their 13-5 record so far is no fluke.
And lets not lose sight of which games mean the most, the CONFERENCE games. I think we will turn some heads this year against WAC teams, if not already.