Thursday's (10-23) Baseball Practice Notes

Today's intrasquad game had plenty of offensive fireworks, but the story of the day had to be the dominating pitching performance from sophomore Jeff Gilmore. Gilmore is coming off a fantastic summer in the Alaska League and he's carried it over to the fall back here at Stanford. Read on for an in-depth look at his outing plus which players starred today with the bat.

It was another hitting filled afternoon out at Sunken Diamond today.  Two players in particular - Jonny Ash and Jed Lowrie - had huge days while sophomore righty Jeff Gilmore continues to show signs that he's ready to play a prominent role on this year's pitching staff.

The Red Team and the White Team hit today while the Blue Team only played in the field ...
Red Team
1. Sam Fuld
2. Chris Minaker
3. John Mayberry, Jr.
4. Chris Carter
5. Chris Lewis
6. Josh Corn

All six players had hits this afternoon, but the top performer in this group today was Fuld.  The senior center fielder is just kind of cruising along this fall, nothing spectacular, but at the end of the day he always seems to end up with a couple of hits, maybe a stolen base, and his usual solid defense out in center.  Today, Fuld went 3-for-5 with three singles, two walks, and a stolen base.  Mayberry, Jr. finished the afternoon 2-for-5 with a pair of RBI singles while Carter also recorded two hits.  Finally, hats off to Josh Corn who clubbed his first home run of the fall season - the first for any freshman this fall.  Corn hit his homer to left off Jonny Dyer.  In terms of body type, I compare Corn to Ryan Garko except maybe two inches shorter.  I think long-term, Corn will be able to show some power, but he still needs work on his swing.

White Team
1. Jim Rapoport
2. Jonny Ash
3. Jed Lowrie
4. Donny Lucy
5. Ben Summerhays
6. Cameron Matthews

Ash and Lowrie.  Quite a day for both these players.  Ash finished the afternoon 6-for-7 with a triple.  His triple one-hopped the wall in deep center field.  Line drives and hard ground balls all day from Ash.  He should fit in nicely in either the #2 spot in the lineup or down lower at possibly the #8 or #9 position.  And surprise, surprise, another big game for Lowrie.  4-for-5 with two doubles, a home run, four RBI, and a stolen base.  His home run was actually of the inside-the-park variety, but a ball that Lowrie still crushed.  It bounced high off the wall right next to the 400 foot sign in dead center field and then bounced back toward the infield and away from Fuld out in center.  Lowrie also cracked a double off the wall in left.  While it's unrealistic to expect Lowrie to keep this up throughout the season, everything he's done this fall is telling me that Lowrie will be a key member of the offense this season.

All in all, it was a tough day for the pitchers, but Jeff Gilmore continues to dazzle.  In five innings pitched today, Gilmore didn't allow a run on just two hits.  He walked only one and struck out eight.  I liken Gilmore's motion and movement on his pitches to Kodiak Quick.  Gilmore is coming from almost a 3/4 release point which is causing even his fastball to cut.  And while this can be a problem for some pitchers if they can't control it, Gilmore has shown near pinpoint control this fall which is a big reason why his strikeout numbers are up.  And as always, Gilmore displayed an excellent change-up - possibly the best one on the team.  On one of his K's today, Gilmore got Mayberry to swing at a pitch about two feet off the plate.  That's how much his ball was moving.

Jonny Dyer started strong today as he allowed just one run on a pair of hits (both bloop singles) in his first three innings of work.  This was a continuing trend for Dyer as he's definitely shown some improvement from last year.  Dyer did run into some trouble at the end of his outing today.  He finished with four runs allowed on eight hits in four-plus innings.  Dyer's role on this team will probably be one of a middle reliever, so it's doubtful that he's ever going to pitch more than two or three innings in an outing.  Hopefully, Dyer is able to join the regular rotation of pitchers this year and I think he's got a great shot to do so.

Freshman Logan Ardis was probably the second most impressive hurler of the day.  In four-plus innings, Ardis surrendered two runs on six hits.  He walked two and struck out none.  I like Ardis' stuff, but I think his control could hold him back a little this year.  He did show much better control over the final two innings today which was nice to see and I certainly could see Ardis seeing some significant action this year.  But again, the key for him will be control and just gaining overall experience out on the mound.

A quick look at the freshman hurlers sees Reynolds and Leva with a much better handle on staying in the strike zone.  I think the stuff is there for both Ardis and lefty Blake Holler, but both of these guys could be held back because of their control.  I'll continue to monitor their progress.  The final freshman in Jeff Stimpson will throw in tomorrow's intrasquad game.  All in all, this looks to be a very solid (possibly great) pitching class, the second in a row for the Cardinal.

Finally, Mark Jecmen also threw today.  Jecmen was roughed up for six runs on six hits in three innings.  I continue to be impressed with Jecmen's improved control.  After not walking anyone in his last appearance on Friday, Jecmen only walked one batter today (compared to three K's).  He's not throwing quite as hard as he used to though.  Today, Jecmen was sitting right around 88-89 MPH with a few low 90's mixed in.  He's got a good curve (and in fact caught Fuld looking for a strikeout on that pitch) and he occasionally threw a change-up.  But, the fastball doesn't appear to have a lot of movement on it and I think that's why the hitters have been jumping all over it.  Still, the only pitcher on this team right now that the scouts have their eyes on is Jecmen.  I think they feel that he'll put it all together at some point, I just have serious doubts about whether this will happen this year as a member of the Stanford Cardinal.

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