Early Season Top Players in WAC Baseball

Inside Sparta baseball editor Don "Bozar" Starks takes a look at the top players in the WAC so far in the young 2010 season.

I know, it's a little early but I thought this would be more interesting than the usual game recaps. I'll do those too but I was curious who was doing what to whom throughout the WAC. I found some pretty interesting stats for some players. I have to add this proviso: It seems everyone on NMSU is hitting close to .500 with 30 homeruns. Those of you who follow WAC baseball know also that the Aggies play in a wind tunnel so the inflated averages need to be taken  with a grain of salt. However, some can't be denied as you will see. Please feel free to comment and add players whom you believe I missed. It could be possible. Me? Wrong? Never! Just ask my wife.

The names and positions below are the players and their respective schools which is followed at the end by details on each player and any comments I have.

Position Player School Year
C Trent Garrison Fresno State SO
       
1B Shaun Kort Nevada SR
1B Ben Harty New Mexico State SR
       
2B Kolten Wong Hawaii SO
2B Joey Ford Louisiana Tech JR
       
SS Ryan Aguayo New Mexico State JR
       
3B Josh Powers Sacramento State SR
       
OF Jordan Ribera Fresno State JR
OF Jason Martin San Jose State JR
OF Brian Barnett Nevada JR
       
DH Brock Stassi Nevada JR
DH Will Alvis Louisiana Tech JR
       
SP Brock Stassi Nevada JR
SP Blake McFarland San Jose State JR
SP Josh Slaats Hawaii JR
SP Sam Spangler Hawaii JR
       
RP Zack Jones San Jose State FR
RP Gene Escat Fresno State JR
RP Cory Hill New Mexico State SR

Catchers

This has been a fairly weak position offensively for the WAC in the past few years. Many of you know my position on catchers (come on now, no wise cracks). I think most coaches will sacrifice Johnny Bench-like production if they get Johnny Bench-like defense and handling of pitchers.

Trent Garrison - Fresno State
Trent is hitting a healthy .348 with 3 homeruns to go along with 15 RBIs which is among the leaders on the mutts. I found few others who could match this output.

First Base

There was no shortage of first basemen who could hit in the WAC. I chose the following two since they were quite productive for their respective teams last year also.

Shaun Kort - Nevada
Shaun has been one of my favorites for a few years as he has been one of the mainstays of the Wolf Pack offense. Shaun is hitting .391 with 3 homeruns and 22 RBIs. Nevada beat up on two non-D1 teams so I don't know how much he padded his stats if at all.

Ben Harty - NMSU
How do you sift through all those hitters on the Aggies lineup? Everyone hits in that wind tunnel. Ben is hitting .430 with 11 homeruns (the lead in the WAC) and 37 RBIs. Can't say no to that. He and his pals will be visiting San Jose this year so I'll be very interested to see how they all do on the road.

Second Base

Kolten Wong - Hawaii
Last year's Freshman-of-the-Year in the WAC is continuing to impress. He played outfield last year and has since switched to second as I think he's been told that will be a better bet for him in the pros. Kolten is hitting .344 with 2 homeruns and 9 RBIs and I have no idea how he has taken to his new position defensively. He continues to hit and against premier opposition.

Joey Ford - Louisiana Tech
Joey is hitting .388 for the Southern dogs along with 2 homeruns and 16 RBIs for another team known for its offense.

Shortstop

Last year's two monsters at short are gone as San Jose State's Kyle Bellows went pro and NMSU's Bryan Marquez has graduated. NMSU's new shortstop just steps in and takes off where Marquez left off.

Ryan Aguayo - NMSU
Ryan is hitting .427 with 8 homeruns and 28 RBIs which is second in the WAC for homeruns, I believe. Will NMSU lead the country in homeruns again this year? Probably.

Third Base

I thought Louisiana Tech's Mark Threlkeld would be one of this position's all stars and it was hard leaving him off. He could be All-WAC by the end of the year as he plays for a team that has plenty of offense. The following player is Sacramento State's lone entry.

Josh Powers - Sacramento State
Josh is hitting .347 with 4 homeruns and 16 RBIs for the Hornets. SacState has a tough OOC schedule and their stats and record don't look too good but I think they could be a force to be reckoned with during the WAC season.

Outfield

Here's a position that had many candidates and it was pretty tough to choose so if any of you readers want to hype someone else for the team, have at it.

Jordan Ribera - Fresno State
Jordan is more than carrying his weight with Fresno as he is hitting .361 with 7 homeruns and 16 RBIs. A couple of his homeruns have been game winners so he also hits the dingers in the clutch.

Jason Martin - San Jose State
Jason just keeps getting better and better. He's having a monster year for a team that has not hit its hitting stride as of yet. His only drawback is lack of power but, so what, look at his numbers. Jason is hitting .422 with 0 homeruns and only 8 RBIs.

Brian Barnett - Nevada
Brian is having a solid year with the Wolf Pack as he is hitting .347 with 4 homeruns and 23 RBIs while playing right field.

Designated Hitter

Brock Stassi - Nevada
Brock is one amazing guy. He is doing it all for Nevada and I mean all. He is hitting at an amazing .411 with 3 homeruns and 12 RBIs and pitching lights out as well (see below). If he continues at this pace they'll have to name a new award for his accomplishments.

Will Alvis - Louisiana Tech
Will is having a solid year hitting .368 with 2 homeruns and 12 RBIs.

Starting Pitchers

Josh Slaats - Hawaii
This guy has to be the number one starter in the WAC. He is 2-0 with an 0.40 ERA in 22.2 IP with strikeouts to walks being a great 25/6. Can't get much better than that. Remember that Hawaii has a very tough OOC schedule even if many are at home.

Blake McFarland - San Jose State
Blake is in his first year with the Spartans and has emerged as the number one starter in a depleted staff. He has been solid from the start as he is 3-1 with an ERA of 1.39 in 32.1 IP and 27/8.

Brock Stassi - Nevada
Here's that guy again. Brock is also excelling on the mound as he is 3-2 with a 2.64 ERA in 30.2 IP and 25/7. What a player to have on your team.

Sam Spangler - Hawaii
Sam is one of two pitchers from the Hawaii team which spells trouble for the rest of the WAC. He is 2-3 with a 3.67 ERA in 27 IP and 31/10. Sounds like a power pitcher.

Relievers

Zack Jones - San Jose State
The Spartans' marvelous freshman is rather like Brock Stassi. He's great on both sides of the field. He's turned out to be the closer but don't discount that he may start a game or two in the future. Zack is 1-0 with an ERA of 0.00 in 6 IP and 6/1. Not much in the way of numbers but he's been lights out when he's on the mound.

Cory Hill - New Mexico State
Cory is 0-0 and 0.77 in 11.2 IP and 13/6 and that's for a team that prides itself in being able to crush the opposition with offense so a good pitcher or two really stands out as he does. Teammate Tyler Mack wasn't too far behind.

Gene Escat - Fresno State
Gene is cleaning up any messes the mutts' pitchers have left to the tune of 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA in 11 IP and 5/8.

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Don Starks is the Baseball Editor of Inside Sparta. You may contact Don with any questions, comments, or tips at don@insidesparta.com

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