Summer Baseball Recap

Fall ball is two months away for the Stanford baseball team, but there's still been plenty of news this offseason with all the summer action that took place. Numerous Cardinal hurlers put forth outstanding summer's led by an established right hander in Alaska and an emerging star in the Cape. Meanwhile, there were also plenty of solid performances from Stanford hitters including a pair from a couple of rising juniors up north. Read on for all the final news and statistics.

HITTERS

US National Team
John Mayberry, Jr. and Jed Lowrie both helped lead Team USA to a gold medal at the World Championship Tournament in Taiwan, however neither player had nearly as big a role on the team as expected.  Both Mayberry, Jr. and Lowrie were key components in the Team USA starting lineup the first 3/4 of the summer, but neither saw significant playing time toward the end of the World Championships.  That said, both guys had decent summer's with the bat.

Lowrie: .230 (14-61), 6 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 13 RBI
Mayberry, Jr.: .254 (15-59), 1 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 9 RBI

Summer baseball is sometimes a good indicator of which players are going to burst onto the scene in the upcoming season.  We all know what Lowrie and Mayberry can do at the collegiate baseball level and both players are locks for Preseason (likely First Team) All-American honors this winter.  So, this summer was big for these two superstars more for their future past college baseball.  With the 2004 college season each guy had, they've both put themselves into a position to be drafted very high in June (potentially both in the first round - especially Mayberry, Jr.).  It remains to be seen what kind of effect these summer numbers have on their draft status.  I have, however, heard that Mayberry's performance was a little disappointing as he was expected to be a #3/#4 man in their lineup this summer and by the end of the season, he wasn't even playing everyday.

The two homers Mayberry hit was impressive, but it's surprising not to see more extra base hits from the slugging first baseman.  Meanwhile, Lowrie had a slightly lower average, but far more extra base hits (an impressive overall total for Lowrie).  One other thing to keep in mind is that the players in the Cape and Alaska get roughly 125-150 at-bats in a full summer.  Team USA doesn't play nearly as many games, so the sample size is much smaller for these two players when evaluating their summer.

Cape Cod
Three hitters played in the Cape this summer with Jim Rapoport headlining the list.  Rapoport, as most freshman in this high-profile league do, struggled during the first half of the season.  But a big second half that saw a handful of multi-hit games (and even a home run from the speedy outfielder) got Rapoport's average up over .200.  A very encouraging summer for Rapoport as he had his fair share of extra base hits and will head into fall ball as the favorite to take over the starting center field position and likely bat first in the order.  Rapoport split time between center and right field this summer.

Chris Lewis had a huge first half in the Cape batting around .250, but then struggled mightily over the final few weeks of the season.  Since I didn't see any of his games, I can't really comment as to why his average plummeted in the second half.  Lewis' final average sits at .193 which is just slightly below average for the Cape.  He also cracked two homers - more than any Stanford player in this league over the last two years.  Lewis spent the entire summer playing second base.

Finally, Adam Sorgi spent the first few weeks playing in the Cape before leaving his team (reasons unknown to me).  Like Rapoport in the first half, Sorgi was struggling with the pitching in this league.  He was playing mainly shortstop and third base.

Lewis: .193 (28-145), 1 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 11 RBI
Rapoport: .217 (33-152), 6 2B, 3 3B, 1 HR, 14 RBI
Sorgi: .162 (6-37), 2 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 1 RBI

Alaska
A pair of Stanford hitters shined in this league.  Chris Minaker and John Hester both had excellent summers with the stick as they both position themselves to take leading roles on the 2005 ballclub.  Minaker was his team's everyday shortstop and hit in one of the power spots in the lineup.  He maintained an average over .300 the entire summer (Alaska is considered the second best summer league behind the Cape) and even blasted three homers.  If this summer is any indication, look for Minaker to really bust out this season.

Meanwhile, John Hester also played very well up in Alaska.  After somewhat of a slow start over the first couple of weeks, Hester raised his average all the way up to .293 by summer's end.  He rapped out 12 doubles and a homer as well while generally hitting third or fourth in the order for his team.  Hester is clear favorite to take over the starting catching position this year and probably would have been starting for 95% of the team's in the country this past season.

Hester: .293 (41-140), 12 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 20 RBI
Minaker: .311 (42-135), 7 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 23 RBI

Texas
Ryan Seawell played in this league over the summer.  The rising sophomore is expected to contend for one of the corner outfield spots this season.   All in all, it was a decent summer with the bat for Seawell who found himself in-and-out of the lineup for his ballclub all season.

Seawell: .224 (15-67), 1 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 7 RBI

California Coastal
Ben Summerhays had a solid summer down in Southern California with the bat.  Playing at first base and DH, Summerhays finished with a .283 batting average and also popped a home run.  Summerhays' only position on the field is first base and with Mayberry, Jr. occupying that position this season, Summerhays' only option appears to be DH.  Tracking Summerhays' progress in the fall will be a top priority this fall.  He was drafted be Seattle last June in the 23rd round despite only garnering 12 at-bats the entire season, so the talent is certainly there for this power-hitting lefty.

Summerhays: .283 (15-53), 0 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 6 RBI

New England
Catcher Josh Corn played in this league over the summer.  Corn didn't see any game action during the 2004 season and will be fighting for the #2 catching position during the fall.

Corn: .173 (9-52), 0 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 3 RBI


PITCHERS

US National Team
Mark Romanczuk played for the Red, White, and Blue again this summer switching back between a short reliever and a starting pitcher all summer.  His highlight was most certainly coming within four outs of a no-hitter versus the Czech Republic during the World Championships last month.  Overall, it was another good summer for Romanczuk although it may have a bit personally disappointing that he wasn't a regular member of the starting rotation as he was in 2003.  2005 needs to be Mark Romanczuk's year as he is expected to once again lead the pitching staff and should also be considered a high draft prospect.

Romanczuk: 8 G, 2 GS, 3-1, 2.95 ERA, 18.1 IP, 12 H, 6 BB, 21 SO

Cape Cod
It was a huge summer for Greg Reynolds in the Cape as the rising sophomore right hander thrived as a starting pitcher for his ballclub.  Reynolds only got stronger as the season went on and hopes are high he can be a major contributor in 2005 - very possibly as a member of the starting rotation.  Opponents hit just .187 against Reynolds over the entire summer.

Meanwhile, Blake Holler had a solid summer as a short reliever for his team.  Holler struggled with his control at times, but like Reynolds, proved to be tough to hit with a .212 opponent batting average.  Reynolds and Holler both saw significant action for the Cardinal as freshmen in 2004 and their playing time should only increase as sophomores in '05.

Holler: 15 G, 2 GS, 1-1, 3.79 ERA, 19.0 IP, 14 H, 13 BB, 16 SO
Reynolds: 9 G, 6 GS, 4-3, 2.27 ERA, 39.2 IP, 26 H, 16 BB, 31 SO

Alaska
Four Cardinal pitchers threw up in Alaska and once again it was Jeff Gilmore leading the way.  After throwing just 2 1/3 innings as a freshman in 2003, Gilmore had a huge summer last year in Alaska compiling a 1.41 ERA in 32 innings pitched.  That gave us a clue that Gilmore could be one to watch as a player to really surprise in 2004.  And lo and behold, Gilmore emerged as the #2 starter last spring and promptly went 10-2 with a 4.43 ERA including a complete-game win in the regionals.

Well, Gilmore has topped that tremendous summer of '03.  He completed this summer of baseball with a sparkling 0.67 ERA in 27 innings pitched.  Gilmore began the summer as a closer for his team and then moved into the starting rotation as their ace hurler for the stretch run (leading the team to the league championship along with Matt Manship and John Hester).  Over those 27 innings, Gilmore surrendered just two earned runs on 13 hits with six walks and a whopping 40 strike outs.

Teammate Matt Manship also had an impressive summer.  Mainly being used as a starter, Manship compiled a 2.10 ERA and nearly a strike out an inning.  Manship finished the 2004 season with a 4.19 ERA which is the lowest mark of any returning pitcher (this after a 3.98 ERA and nine saves as a freshman in 2003).  His role on the '05 team will be closely watched in the fall as he could start, pitch in long relief, or close.

Jeff Stimpson got a chance to start this summer for his ballclub and he did not disappoint.  Stimpson logged 47 1/3 total innings and finished with a 2.66 ERA.  He also nearly struck out a batter per inning pitched on average.  Stimpson was a key reliever for the Card last year and he doesn't appear to be going anywhere for the '05 season.

Finally, Matt Leva also was a starting pitcher for his team (it's a good sign that all of these pitchers were being used as starters as that means their respective coaches think very highly of them).  Leva started very strong, but struggled some toward the end of the summer.  He finished with a 4.60 ERA in 31 1/3 innings.  Leva is yet another pitcher for Stanford in 2005 that could be used in a variety of roles.

Gilmore: 12 G, 2 GS, 3-1, 0.67 ERA, 27.0 IP, 13 H, 6 BB, 40 SO
Manship: 8 G, 5 GS, 2-2, 2.10 ERA, 34.1 IP, 27 H, 11 BB, 33 SO
Leva: 6 G, 5 GS, 3-1, 4.60 ERA, 31.1 IP, 34 H, 7 BB, 20 SO
Stimpson: 9 G, 7 GS, 2-3, 2.66 ERA, 47.1 IP, 47 H, 24 BB, 43 SO

Texas
Pete Duda was used as a starting pitcher in this league over the summer.  After throwing just 5 1/3 innings last season, Duda fired 44 frames down in Texas compiling a solid 3.27 ERA.  He walked only ten batters in those 44 innings.

Duda: 8 G, 6 GS, 4-2, 3.27 ERA, 44.0 IP, 40 H, 10 BB, 29 SO

California Coastal
Logan Ardis played in the California Coastal League and finished with a 4.37 ERA in 22 2/3 innings.  Ardis did not pitch in a single game in his freshman season.

Ardis: 9 G, 4 GS, 2-2, 4.37 ERA, 22.2 IP, 21 H, 20 BB, 19 SO

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