Baseball Season Wrap-Up

A 50-win season, a Pac-10 Championship, now five consecutive appearances in the College World Series, and a second place finish in Omaha. 2003 was a season to remember for the Stanford baseball program. Included in this wrap-up is a look back at the season that was for Stanford, all the final stats and notes, what's on tap for the summer, and an early 2004 season outlook. Here is the complete baseball season wrap-up that you won't find anywhere else ...

The journey began back in October as the team gathered for fall practice.  It became very clear after the three weeks of practice the hitting was going to be the #1 strength of the team.  The defense was expected to be solid, but not nearly at the level of the 2001 and 2002 teams.  While on the hill, John Hudgins and Tim Cunningham were looked upon to anchor the staff.  

The season got started on January 25th on a very warm afternoon at Buck Shaw Stadium in Santa Clara.  Behind six solid innings from John Hudgins, three shutout innings out of the bullpen from Ryan McCally and a 15-hit offensive attack, Stanford took game #1 of the season by a 7-2 score over the Broncos.  In the home opener the next day, Tim Cunningham (5 2/3 innings) and Matt Manship (3 innings) took a no-hitter into the ninth before SCU's Eric Newton doubled to deep left center with two outs.  Still, another win for the Cardinal, this time by a 5-0 score.

Then the slump occurred.  Over the next two weekends, Stanford went just 1-5 against the likes of Cal State Fullerton and Florida State.  Coming into the Fullerton series, Coach Marquess explained that he thought the Titans would be the toughest team Stanford was going to face the entire regular season.  I was a little skeptical at the time as Fullerton was ranked #13, but it ended up being the truth.  The Titans took advantage of every Stanford mistake that weekend in winning all three games by the scores of 7-3, 10-2, and 8-2.  They especially took advantage of freshman relievers Manship and Kodiak Quick who were both pitching in their first big spots of the year.  While they had to take some lumps in this series, it would end up paying off in the long run.  The finale of the Fullerton series saw freshman southpaw Mark Romanczuk make his collegiate debut.  Pitching at the end of a blowout game, Romanczuk fired 2 1/3 scoreless innings while striking out four.  Certainly one of the few positives from that weekend.

Stanford returned home the following weekend to play #4 Florida State and although they were much more competitive, the Cardinal still dropped 2-of-3.  It was their first home series loss since 1999.  In the opener though, John Hudgins (9 IP, 1 R, 10 SO) had his breakout game as the #1 starter as he silenced the FSU bats.  The game went extras, but once again, Romanczuk impressed as he tossed three no-hit innings to get the win.  The Seminoles would battle back as they posted a pair of hotly contested games the next two days.  The series loss dropped Stanford to 3-5 on the year.

The Cardinal got a break the next weekend as they played four home games against Fresno State and Nevada, a pair of young rebuilding teams.  Stanford won all four games, but scored only 21 runs in the process.  Hudgins was another bright spot as he took a no-hitter into the eighth inning in his start against Fresno.  Still, the hitting continued to slump as the team batting average dipped down to the .280 range and in that series, #2 starter Tim Cunningham broke his finger which would put him on the shelf for over a month.

Stanford got a boost the very next weekend though.  Needing a series win against a quality team to prove they belonged in the top ten, the Cardinal took 2-of-3 in Austin against the defending champion Longhorns.  Both wins came in the doubleheader on Saturday and it was the offense that carried the team.  Behind Carlos Quentin's 7-for-10 day, Stanford won by the scores of 11-7 and 8-7.  For Quentin, it would put his sub par first month behind him and would mark the beginning of a very long hitting streak.  In the second game of the twin bill, Manship was the story out of the bullpen as he got out of a huge jam late to preserve the victory in what would be a sign of things to come from the freshman relief pitcher.

On the final day of February, the Cardinal played possibly their worst game of the season.  Hudgins was roughed up for eight runs in six innings and the defense committed a whopping six errors in a 13-4 loss to the Trojans.  The defeat moved Stanford's record to a very average 9-7, but as the calendar moved to March, so did the team's fortunes.  The next day, Stanford scored six runs in the first inning en route to a 10-6 win and in the finale, the Cardinal bats erupted for 18 runs in an 18-4 rout.  Danny Putnam had the first of many very big games of his season as he blasted two homers to go along with seven RBI.  On the hill, Romanczuk made his first collegiate start (after pitching very well as the closer the first month of the year) and improved his record to 4-0 with the win.

The Cardinal welcomed California to Sunken for a non-conference series next and easily dispatched the Bears as they posted a three-game sweep.  The hitting was in high gear by now as Stanford scored 31 runs in the series capped off by a 20-hit performance in the series finale.  Freshman John Mayberry, Jr. was smokin' hot with the bat as he boasted a .371 batting average and a 16-game hitting streak.  So, Stanford took a 14-7 record into finals break and the start of the conference season.

The three games down in Tempe against the Sun Devils were filled with tension.  In the opener, Stanford blew a 5-0 lead as ASU (who entered the series as the hot story in college baseball with a #3 national ranking and a 31-3 record) won 7-6 in 11 frames.  The Cardinal though battled back to record a 9-8, 10 inning victory in the middle game and a 4-2 win in the rubber match.  The series clinching win saw Romanczuk fire a complete game five-hitter while Ryan Garko broke out of a mini slump with a two-run homer in the eighth to snap a 2-2 tie.  The win put Stanford in the early drivers seat for the Pac-10 crown.

Stanford got all they could handle from a surprising good Washington team the next weekend as it took a Quentin walkoff homer in the bottom of the ninth in the rubber game on Sunday to win the game 12-11 and the series.  The Cardinal finished March with a 9-2 record and improved their national ranking to #4.

After a brief hiccup against USF the following Tuesday (9-5 loss), the Cardinal took back to the road and swept the lowly Washington State Cougars.  The series was played in freezing weather and in fact the final game of the weekend had to be pushed back a day because of snow.  The next Tuesday, Stanford knocked off Santa Clara by a 17-8 score.  It was a career day at the plate for Quentin as the junior right fielder went 4-for-5 with a double, triple, two homers, and six RBI.  His average was now above .400, the hitting streak was nearing 20 games, and Quentin was all of a sudden getting mention as a Player of the Year candidate.

The next Pac-10 series for Stanford was the third week in April and the Card took 2-of-3 at home from Oregon State to remain in first place.  After a non-conference win against Sac State the next week, Quentin's hitting streak reached 26 games while his average sat at a remarkable .434.  The streak would come to an end the next game though as in the rain against Arizona, Quentin went 0-for-3 and Hudgins gave up a solo home run in the eighth inning which snapped a 3-3 tie and sent Stanford to a loss.  The Cardinal bounced back the next day with an exciting 10-9 comeback victory, but the Wildcats jumped all over struggling #3 starter Ryan McCally in game three to post an 11-6 victory which gave UA the huge series win.

Stanford's struggles would continue though as they were shutout at home by Santa Clara (2-0) the following Tuesday.  The loss dropped Stanford's record to 28-14 and led to Coach Marquess criticizing his team in the newspapers.  The Cardinal would respond though.  With May upon us, Stanford went down to L.A. and routed the Trojans in all three games (22-10, 8-3, and 8-3) to move back into sole possession of first place in the Pac-10.  Garko was the story at the plate in this series as he finished 10-for-13 with three homers and ten RBI to garner National Player of the Week honors.  

Stanford's good play carried over to next weekend as they went into Berkeley and promptly swept away the Bears to complete the season sweep.  All three games were very exciting (9-8, 6-4, and 5-4) with Stanford winning the finale when Putnam scored from first base in the tenth inning on a wild pickoff throw.  

After a 9-1 win in the series opener against UCLA (four-hit complete game from Hudgins), Stanford's winning streak was at a season-high nine games.  The Bruins dealt the Cardinal a tough loss on Saturday though with two runs in the ninth inning to tie the game and four unearned runs in the 12th to shock Stanford.  Still, the Cardinal needed just a win on Sunday in the final Pac-10 game of the year to claim the conference title outright.  A back-and-forth affair throughout, the contest ended when Donny Lucy homered off the scoreboard in left center field.  It was a 9-8 Stanford victory and a conference title for the Cardinal.

Stanford easily swept Cal Poly the following weekend to end the regular season with a 41-15 overall record.  The Cardinal garnered the #6 national seed for the NCAA Tournament and opened up the "second season" with a 9-2 victory over Illinois-Chicago at Sunken Diamond.  McCally was the surprise starter on the hill and he didn't disappoint as he fired a complete game while striking out a career high ten.  The next day, Hudgins was roughed up for four runs in the first inning against UC Riverside, but that would be the end of any postseason hardships for him.  The Stanford offense woke up in the middle inning and cruised to a 13-6 win as Hudgins ended up going the distance.  Richmond was no contest for the Cardinal in the regional final as Stanford easily won by a 19-6 score as Garko hit two homers, Putnam smoked a grand slam, and Romanczuk recorded the win on the mound.

Stanford was dealt a tough hand for their super regional opponent as #7 Long Beach State, with their dominating 1-2 starting pitching combo,  came to Sunken for a best-of-three series.  In game one, Hudgins again dominated as he fired all nine innings while allowing just one run in a 5-1 Cardinal win.  In game two, Romanczuk improved to 12-0 with 8 1/3 quality innings of work as he outdueled first team All-American Jered Weaver.  Putnam's two-run single in the seventh snapped a 2-2 tie which led to the Cardinal's 4-2 victory and another appearance in the College World Series.

The Cardinal's win streak reached ten games after their CWS opening 8-0 win over South Carolina.  Hudgins continued to roll with eight shutout innings in which he gave up just two hits.  In a rematch with Cal State Fullerton, the Titans continued their mastery of the Cardinal by virtue of a 6-5 hard-fought win in game two of the CWS.  Romanczuk was roughed up for six runs in 6 1/3 innings and the Cardinal offense was shutdown by the Fullerton bullpen over the final four frames.

That left Stanford with a difficult hill to climb to reach the championship series.  On "Elimination Tuesday," the Cardinal smoked South Carolina 13-6 to stay alive.  Putnam had a huge day at the plate as he went 4-for-5 with a homer and five RBI.  McCally got the starting call and continued his postseason success with seven solid innings (one run allowed).

Now, the only thing standing between Stanford and a berth in the championship series was their '03 nemesis, the Cal State Fullerton Titans.  Never fear though as John Hudgins answered the call once again as he threw a complete game five-hitter while Quentin blasted two home runs in a 5-3 Cardinal victory to advance to the bracket final.  Then in a very memorable game, Stanford edged the Titans 7-5 in ten innings to move on.  Jonny Ash homered off ace closer Chad Cordero to tie the game in the seventh (first career homer for Ash) while Putnam's two-run homer in the 10th won it for Stanford.  On the hill, David O'Hagan went the last 4 1/3 innings without allowing a run.

In the best-of-three championship series, things started well for Stanford as they scored three in the first inning off Rice's ace starter Jeff Niemann.  But the Owls battled back despite another strong outing from McCally to tie the game and force extras.  Then in the bottom of the tenth, Rice scored the winning run on a throwing error by relief pitcher Kodiak Quick.  Game two saw Stanford respond as they were victorious by an 8-3 tally.  Hudgins did the job once again with seven solid innings on the hill while Sam Fuld's leadoff homer in the first inning set the tone.

That set the stage for a winner-take-all game with Rice to decide the national title.  Unfortunately for Stanford, it just wasn't in the cards as the Owls took advantage of five Romanczuk walks in the first inning to score three runs and never looked back in their 14-2 win.

Hitting (* denotes expected to return in 2004)
Ryan Garko - .402, 18 HR, 92 RBI, 2 SB
Carlos Quentin - .396, 12 HR, 64 RBI, 10 SB
Danny Putnam - .348, 16 HR, 66 RBI, 0 SB *
Sam Fuld - .321, 4 HR, 35 RBI, 10 SB *
Jonny Ash - .314, 2 HR, 33 RBI, 1 SB *
John Mayberry, Jr. - .299, 4 HR, 33 RBI, 5 SB *
Brian Hall - .293, 6 HR, 44 RBI, 18 SB *
Jed Lowrie - .292, 0 HR, 28 RBI, 5 SB *
Donny Lucy - .291, 2 HR, 18 RBI, 6 SB *
Tobin Swope - .263, 1 HR, 30 RBI, 9 SB
Chris Carter - .241, 7 HR, 17 RBI, 0 SB *

Chris Minaker - .167, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0 SB *
Chris Lewis - .159, 1 HR, 10 RBI, 1 SB *
John Hester - .154, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 0 SB *
Ben Summerhays - DNP *

John Hudgins - 14-3, 2.99 ERA, 165.1 IP, 143 SO
Mark Romanczuk - 12-1, 4.01 ERA, 2 SV, 112.1 IP, 80 SO *
Ryan McCally - 7-3, 4.44 ERA, 2 SV, 99.1 IP, 58 SO

Matt Manship - 2-4, 3.98 ERA, 9 SV, 63.1 IP, 50 SO *
Kodiak Quick - 2-0, 4.25 ERA, 3 SV, 36.0 IP, 34 SO *
David O'Hagan - 7-1, 4.89 ERA, 3 SV, 49.2 IP, 43 SO *
Drew Ehrlich - 1-0, 5.12 ERA, 19.1 IP, 18 SO *
Jonny Dyer - 2-1, 5.14 ERA, 21.0 IP, 11 SO *
Tim Cunningham - 3-3, 5.36 ERA, 40.1 IP, 21 SO

Jeff Gilmore - 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 2.1 IP, 2 SO *
Billy Paganetti - 0-1, 3.68 ERA, 14.2 IP, 12 SO *
Mark Jecmen - 1-0, 5.19 ERA, 8.2 IP, 7 SO *
Pete Duda - DNP *
Noah Hawthorne - DNP *
Moses Kopmar - DNP *
Steve Papazian - DNP *

Team Batting Average : .316
Team Earned Run Average : 4.01
Team Fielding Percentage : .973

Single Season - Individual
Batting Average:
1. Tom Williams, .430 (1972)
5. Mark Marquess, .404 (1967)
6. Ryan Garko, .402 (2003)
7. Carlos Quentin, .396 (2003)

At Bats:
1. Troy Paulsen, 318 (1990)
2. Troy Paulsen, 304 (1988)
3. Sam Fuld, 302 (2003)

1. Sam Fuld, 83 (2003)
1. Jeffrey Hammonds, 83 (1990)

1. Sam Fuld, 110 (2002)
4. Jeffrey Hammonds, 107 (1990)
5. Carlos Quentin, 105 (2003)
6. Ryan Garko, 104 (2003)
10. Sam Fuld, 97 (2003)
10. John Gall, 97 (1997)

1. Troy Paulsen, 29 (1990)
2. Ryan Garko, 24 (2003)
2. Carlos Quentin, 24 (2003)
2. Eric Bruntlett, 24 (2000)

1. Jack Shepard, 10 (1953)
2. Sam Fuld, 9 (2003)

Home Runs:
1. Rick Lundblade, 25 (1985)
8. Joe Borchard, 19 (2000)
9. Ryan Garko, 18 (2003)
9. Jody Gerut, 18 (1998)

1. Ryan Garko, 92 (2003)
1. Rick Lundblade, 92 (1985)

1. Justin Wayne, 15 (2000)
2. John Hudgins, 14 (2003)
2. Five others with 14

1. Jeff Bruksch, 13 (2000)
1. Steve Chitren, 13 (1987
3. Steve Chitren, 10 (1988)
4. Matt Manship, 9 (2003)
4. Two others with 9

Innings Pitched:
1. John Hudgins, 165.1 (2003)
2. Jeremy Guthrie, 157.2 (2002)

1. Jason Young, 178 (1999)
5. Steve Dunning, 144 (1970)
6. John Hudgins, 143 (2003)

Batting Average:
1. Jack Shepard, .362 (1951-53)
9. Sam Fuld, .350 (2001-03)
9. Ryan Garko, .350 (2000-03)
9. Carlos Quentin, .350 (2001-03)

1. Mark Davis, 244 (1983-86)
9. Sam Fuld, 206 (2001-03)

1. John Gall, 368 (1997-2000)
5. Sam Fuld, 288 (2001-03)
10. Carlos Quentin, 264 (2001-03)

1. John Gall, 80 (1997-2000)
5. Ryan Garko, 60 (2000-03)
8. Sam Fuld, 53 (2001-03)

1. Mark Davis, 19 (1983-86)
1. Mike Codiroli, 19 (1976-79)
4. Sam Fuld, 15 (2001-03)

Home Runs:
1. Paul Carey, 56 (1987-90)
9. Ryan Garko, 39 (2000-03)

1. John Gall, 263 (1997-00)
7. Ryan Garko, 191 (2000-03)

1. Jeff Ballard, 37 (1982-85)
10. John Hudgins, 25 (2001-03)
Three others with 25

1. Steve Chitren, 26 (1986-89)
6. Ryan McCally, 13 (2000-03)

1. 59 (1990)
2. 53 (1987)
3. 51 (2003)
3. 51 (2001)

Batting Average:
1. .337 (1981)
3. .318 (2002)
4. .316 (2003)

1. 802 (1997)
2. 791 (1990)
3. 786 (2003)

1. 165 (1990)
2. 160 (2000)
3. 156 (2003)

1. 38 (1965)
2. 30 (1977)
3. 29 (2003)

Total Bases:
1. 1,287 (1990)
2. 1,284 (1997)
3. 1,222 (2003)

Fielding Percentage:
1. .977 (2001)
2. 973 (2003)

1. 23 (2001)
2. 19 (2003)
2. 19 (2000)

Innings Pitched:
1. 641.0 (1990)
2. 632.1 (2003)

This was a fun year to watch Stanford baseball.  This team grew quite a bit from day one until the CWS, but unfortunately just didn't have enough at the very end to take home the title.  Still, many players had very memorable seasons.  John Hudgins won the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year award which was the second year in a row a Cardinal player achieved the honor (Guthrie).  Ryan Garko was named the Pac-10 Co-Player of the Year while Carlos Quentin, Danny Putnam, Sam Fuld, and Mark Romanczuk joined Hudgins and Garko on the All-Pac-10 team.  The six selections tied a school record.  Garko (1st Team), Quentin (2nd Team), and Hudgins (2nd Team) received All-American honors.  Coach Marquess also won the Pac-10 Coach of the Year award.

Putnam enjoyed a breakout year at the plate in what may have been the quietest 16-homer season in Stanford history.  Romanczuk burst on to the scene as a dominant closer in the first month and then turned into the Cardinal's #2 starter by season's end.  He finished with 12 wins including many key victories down the stretch.  Jonny Ash saved the best for last with a stellar postseason (.393) and an even better CWS (.400) which included the first two homers of his career.  Fuld's average was down this year, thanks mostly to a rough first month of the season, but he still had a very good year as the catalyst on this team.  Brian Hall's good streaks and bad streaks were equally memorable, but the end result was a solid year including very good defense at his new position of first base during the NCAA Tournament.  Tobin Swope slumped with the bat the last month and a half of the regular season from fatigue, but his defense at short was very solid all year and his quiet leadership will be missed.  Jed Lowrie impressed from day one of fall practice and it carried over into the spring as he played the majority of the season at second and turned in a solid freshman campaign.  Chris Carter still managed to hit seven homers in just 87 AB's when it was initially thought he was going to miss the entire season when word first came out about his offseason surgery.  Donny Lucy recovered from one of the worst slumps you'll ever see early in the season to become a much needed role player, the top pinch hitter on the team, and an effective starting DH against left handed pitching.  John Mayberry, Jr. had a spectacular first half of the year before a late slump took him out of the lineup.  Still, his future is very bright.

Ryan McCally's three starts in the postseason will be remembered for a long time.  The versatile pitcher thrived this year as a starter, long reliever, and short reliever.  Matt Manship assumed the role of closer when Romanczuk moved into the rotation and promptly saved nine games.  David O'Hagan pitched in numerous big games out of the bullpen and more often than not, got the job done.  Kodiak Quick also grew as a pitcher as the season went on and shows a bright future.

There isn't too much to complain about this season.  It was unfortunate that Tim Cunningham was unable to contribute much.  Romanczuk certainly filled the void as the #2 starter, but think how good this team could have been with a Hudgins-Romanczuk-Cunningham (the 2002 form) rotation with Manship, McCally, O'Hagan, and Quick leading the way out of the bullpen.  The freshman class provided a huge lift to the pitching staff and who would have thought that Lowrie and not Mayberry, Jr. or Lewis would be in the lineup down the stretch?  The triple-headed sophomore hitting monster of Putnam-Carter-Lucy was up-and-down all year.  Obviously Putnam produced from day one, but with Carter's injury and Lucy's first half struggles, this group could have been better. The sophomore pitching group also produced very little this year in Jecmen, Dyer, Kopmar, and Papazian.  Both Kopmar and Papazian were coming back from injuries in 2002, but this group of guys will be looked upon to lead in some capacity in 2004.

Here's a rundown of where the guys are playing this summer :

Team USA: Putnam, Romanczuk
Cape Cod: Carter, Fuld (if he doesn't sign), Hall, Jecmen, Lewis, Lucy, Mayberry, Jr., Quick
Alaska: Gilmore, Lowrie, Paganetti
Northwoods: Ash, Kopmar, O'Hagan
New England: Duda, Manship
California Coastal: Dyer, Ehrlich, Papazian

Summer Notes: It's a big summer for the draftable sophomores as it may be the last chance to show the scouts what they can do with the wood bats.  In addition, players like Sam Fuld (who struggled mightily with Team USA last summer) and Brian Hall (who didn't play last summer because of an injury) want to prove to the pro teams that they can swing it with the wood.  Early summer action has seen Chris Carter homer in his first at-bat in the Cape while Moses Kopmar has been roughed up in his first two starts in the Northwoods league (7 IP, 9 ER, 8 BB, 6 SO).  Danny Putnam and Mark Romanczuk both made the cut for Team USA.  Putnam should start in the outfield while it's unclear whether Romanczuk will start or relieve with that team.  Mayberry, Jr. didn't make the final 20-man roster and will instead play in the Cape.  

It shouldn't be a down year for Stanford next season especially if Fuld comes back.  If he's back, that'll mean that eight of 11 starters will return.  Obviously, Garko and Quentin's bats will be tough to replace, but there were numerous players on the team this season who are primed for a breakout year and it will be necessary that they play well for this team to succeed.  I'm anxious to see Lucy behind the dish 100% of the time.  His defense will be top-notch and I expect he'll put up some much bigger numbers at the plate.  If Carter can stay healthy and improve his production against lefties, he should be a 15-20 homer guy.  Putnam will have to deal with being the go-to-guy in the lineup in that he won't see many good pitches to hit.  If he can adapt (and I'm confident he will), then we could be looking at an All-American season.  Fuld would be one of the top leadoff and center fielders in the college game and has something to prove to the scouts.  Same goes for Hall who went undrafted this year.  A big question with Hall is where he'll play next year.  Don't count on a return to first base.  Could be corner outfield, third base, or possibly a move to short.  Ash has to be the favorite to start at third base while Lowrie is certainly a candidate to start at second or short.  Lewis has a big summer ahead as he'll get a chance to play everyday.  He was a highly touted player coming in and I would expect lots of improvement from him with the bat.  Ben Summerhays has incredible power and could get a look at first or DH.  If he steals the first base position from Mayberry because of his power bat, than Junior may move out to right which may force Hall into a starting role at short.  John Hester also has shown a good power bat and he should get some increased time (although I don't really see him playing ahead of Lucy).  As for the incoming frosh, on paper, the most likely to contribute at the plate include outfielder Jim Rapoport and middle infielders Adam Sorgi and Joe Ayers.  Rapoport is a speed guy with a great arm who can play any of the outfield positions.  With the unexpected depth coming back though, he'll have to really impress to crack the lineup.  Sorgi and Ayers, who were both drafted (in addition to Rapoport), could push the likes of Lowrie and Lewis for a starting spot up the middle.

On the mound, the most likely scenario has Romanczuk and Manship as the top two starting pitchers.  And just because Romanczuk was the starter this year doesn't necessarily mean he'll be #1.  The fight for the #3 starting position should be a heated battle in the fall and winter.  It could be one that isn't decided until halfway through the regular season.  Returnee Mark Jecmen has had a disappointing career thus far.  His progress in the Cape this summer should be watched closely as he goes up against some of the better hitting prospects in the country.  If he pitches well and carries it over into the fall, Jecmen will get a strong look as the #3 guy.  Kodiak Quick was one of the top relievers on the team in the second half (the CWS withstanding) and could get some consideration as the #3 starter.  His durability is a bit of question and he could be a dominant closer with the stuff he has.  Same goes for David O'Hagan who like Quick, has the stuff to be a very good late inning pitcher.  The #3 starters role could fall to a freshman as the incoming frosh class is loaded with talented pitchers.  The headliner is Greg Reynolds who already throws in the low 90's with plus offspeed pitches.  He was named the top player in the entire state of California his senior year and will have pressure on him to produce from day one.  Logan Ardis (RHP) was a top-100 player like Reynolds and he should see significant action early in his career.  Lefty Blake Holler was one of the top pitchers at the Area Code Games last summer and is playing with the US Junior National Team this summer.  Pitching is definitely the strength of this incoming class, but it's not often that freshmen hurlers come in and contribute from day one at this level.  Hopefully there will be a repeat of this season where Romanczuk, Manship, and Quick emerged as three of the better pitchers on this team.  It also will be interesting to see how the little-used and injured pitchers look when fall practice starts.  Assuming there is some improvement and guys can stay reasonably healthy, with the frosh pitchers coming in, I expect next year's staff to be pretty deep.  The big question is who's going to step-up and assume the #3 starting spot?

The Bootleg won't rest this summer as I'll have updates throughout the next few months.  Included will be the latest news with the drafted players and their on-going negotiations, all the summer ball info and stats, and any 2004 news that arises.  Fall practice starts in October ...

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