|OF||Dusty Robinson||Fresno State||.319||15|
|INF||Mark Threlkeld||Louisiana Tech||.307||5|
|INF||Anthony Bona||San Jose State||,343||0|
|INF||Josh Silver||San Jose State||.377||2|
|INF||Alex Wiliams||Louisiana Tech||.265||7|
|C||Justin Lamb||Sacramento State||.265||7|
|P||Jesse Darah*||Sacramento State||9-2||5.64|
|P||Jeb Stefan||Louisiana Tech||4-5||6.39|
|P||Josh Poytress||Fresno State||2-2||4.25|
|P||Derek Benny||Fresno State||4-4||5.09|
For those of you who follow my "stuff" you may remember that I wrote an article about the state of the Western Athletic Conference freshman class during the mid-season. Freshmen are much more important for a college baseball program since they will be around for at least three years, if not the full four years. A serious fan of baseball can watch the development of a player from being a highly rated freshman to the final days of a distinguished college career. A good example is San Jose State's Kyle Bellows and Sacramento State's Tim Wheeler - who was taken in the first round of the recent draft. What would it have been like if Bellows had left after one year? After all he was a freshman All-American. I don't think the Spartans would have been as good as they were the last two years without him. I'm glad he was here and I hope he feels the same. For those of you who watched the College World Series I'm hoping you noticed that more than a few players who played significant roles for Texas and LSU were freshmen.
The above players mirror the strong points and the weak points of the WAC. There are some pretty strong hitters what with Dusty Robinson, Kolten Wong, and Nick Melino leading the way. The pitching was led by two freshman All-Americans, but I don't feel they were top-of-the-line pitchers for their teams. However, they will be around for at least two more years and should improve. Louisiana Tech will have much improved pitching this coming year as they will have a sophomore-heavy rotation, as will Fresno State.
The outfield is loaded with standouts Wong, Melino, and Robinson. Both Wong and Melino were leading hitters for their respective teams and Robinson certainly discovered the beauty of the long ball. Louisiana Tech's Threlkeld and Williams nailed down the corners with the Spartans' Bona not a bad backup at first. Will Bona find a position this year?
You will notice I put 'INF' and not 'SS' or '3B'. I did that because I had troubles finding a good freshman shortstop but other positions were more than well represented. We'll see what freshmen will emerge at that position next year as the Spartans and New Mexico State both have vacancy signs at shortstop. The same could be said for second base and I'll leave it at that. The corners were represented and the middle positions were not
I struggled mostly with catcher. It should be interesting to see if any freshmen catchers will emerge next year. In fact, it's always fun to see what freshmen emerge as budding stars. There are always the bonafide all stars but the under radar players I find most intriguing. It looks to me that Louisiana Tech, San Jose State, and Fresno State are leading the way in freshman for the future. I'll have more on that at a later date.
If you have suggestions on who should be added to the list please post them on Phil's Spartan Athletics Message Board.
Don Starks is the Baseball Editor of Inside Sparta. You may contact Don with any questions, comments, or tips at firstname.lastname@example.org
Better yet, join the rest of the Inside Sparta community in discussions of this article, and more, on the Inside Sparta Discussion Forums!