While in high school he was honored both as a pitcher and a position player. Selected a 2004 First Team All-American by Collegiate Baseball, he was also chosen the 2004 Arizona Gatorade and Arizona 4A High School Player of the Year. Was named the 2005 Region Pitcher of the Year and led his team to three straight Arizona 4A State crowns (2003-05).
As a senior, hit .475 with three home runs and 37 RBI while posting an 8-1 record with a 1.32 ERA on the hill. He hit .480 with 46 RBI as a junior and was 8-1 with an 0.50 ERA on the mound. Holds school records for lowest single-season ERA (0.50) and most RBI in a single game (10, set in 2005).
#10 - LHP/1B Chris Joyce
As a first baseman, Joyce hit .385 for Dos Pueblos High School in Goleta, California and had a .474 on-base percentage to go with a .538 slugging average. A 6-0, 190 pounder he collected 25 hits in the 21 games played.
But he was drafted as a pitcher after recording a 3-2 record with a 1.60 earned run average. In 35 innings he struck out 67 batters (17.2 per nine innings). He started the season by appearing in seven games without allowing an earned run over 24 innings.
#9 1b Steve Casares
Redshirt sophomore Steve Casares became the 51st baseball player from James Madison University to be selected in the Major League Draft. "It's an amazing experience," commented Caseres "You put in all the hard work and it's what you dream of when you start playing as a kid. For the day to finally come, it's one of the greatest experiences of my life. I'm excited to see what happens."
Caseres, the 277th pick overall, is the 19th JMU player drafted in head coach Spanky McFarland's 11 years overseeing the program. He becomes the 78th player in program history to either be drafted or sign as a free agent. The Dukes have now had at least one player sign or be drafted every year but one since 1976. Caseres is the 26th player selected in the first 10 rounds and the first Duke to be picked by the Dodgers, where former JMU standout Lorenzo Bundy is currently the head coach at Triple A Las Vegas.
"He's a scary hitter in the four hole," McFarland said of Caseres. "Opposing teams always have to plan ahead when you have a guy like Steve on your team because he can always leave the yard. He means a lot to our team and it would mean a lot to keep him in that role. If he were to sign, we'd still have a good player to put in that position but not someone as imposing as Steve."
Hitting in the cleanup spot for the Dukes, Caseres had a breakout sophomore season, batting .342 with 63 runs scored, 76 hits, 20 doubles, 21 home runs, 70 RBIs, a .734 slugging percentage, a .438 on-base percentage, and a .990 fielding percentage at first base. He was a Second Team All-Conference selection in the Colonial Athletic Association and was then selected to the CAA All-Tournament Team after driving in 10 runs to help the Dukes go 4-0 and capture their first CAA Championship.
The 20 doubles and 21 home runs make Caseres the first player in JMU history, and just the second in CAA history, to put up 20 homers and 20 doubles in one season. He also had two triples to give him 43 extra-base hits, matching the JMU single-season record.
His 2008 numbers place Caseres all over the JMU season leaderboard. He shared the CAA lead, ranked 10th nationally, and sits third in JMU history with his 21 home runs. He was also third in total bases, sixth in doubles, fifth in RBIs, tied for eighth in walks, and tied for 10th in runs. Caseres was also third in the CAA in 2008 in RBIs, third in walks, sixth in total bases, fourth in slugging percentage, fifth in doubles, and eighth in runs. He also ranked in the top 100 nationally in most of those categories.
In two seasons as the starter at first base, Caseres has hit .323 with 98 runs scored, 129 hits, 30 doubles, 110 RBIs, and 32 home runs, good for eighth on the career home run chart. He was a Freshman All-American in 2007 when he hit .298 with 11 home runs, one shy of the JMU freshman record.
As a redshirt sophomore, he still has two years of eligibility remaining should he chose to return to JMU
#8 OF Nick Buss
The Number 8 selection was Nick Buss of Southern California. A 6-1, 180 pound senior, Buss played center field for the Trojans and hit .296 over 56 games (53-177) with nine doubles, a triple and eight home runs. He knocked in 31 runs and stole 31 bases while being caught 13 times.
In 2007 junior season, Buss batted .290 (53-for-183) with 14 doubles, a triple, a home run and 13 RBI with six stolen bases. He made 47 starts in 54 games for the Trojans.
He played for the Peninsula Oilers of the Alaska Baseball League and was named to the Alaska Baseball League Post Season All-Star Team after leading the league with a .369 batting average and 29 stolen bases. In 42 games, he had six doubles, a league-leading five triples, two home runs and 23 RBI...was 29-for-34 on the basepaths and walked 24 times against only 11 strikeouts for a .445 OBP.
?Buss earned All-Southern California and All-Pacific Coast Conference first team honors as a 2006 freshman after leading San Diego Mesa CC with a .382 batting average. He was selected in the 35th round of the 2006 amateur draft by the Dodgers.
? He played two seasons at De La Salle High in Warren, Mich., and earned Division I all-state first team honors in his senior season.
#7 LHP Bruce Cole
Lefty Cole St. Clair of Rice was tabbed #7 by the Dodgers. Rice, known as "The Bull" by his teammates because he will definitely charge the hitters in any situation received a ringing endorsement by his coach, Wayne Graham, who said, "If he gets to 100 percent physically, he will be one of the best pitchers in the country, if not the best. He has presence and he has stuff."
Cole injured his arm lifting weights before the 2007 season and the injury has been reported as a shoulder strain and biceps tendinitis. However, some scouts maintain it was a labrum tear. The injury didn't require surgery
St. Clair had out-pitched his teammate Phil Hughes at Foothill High in Santa Ana, California, in 2004, and Hughes went on to sign with the Yankees as a first-round pick and St. Clair enrolled at Rice.
While with the U.S. college national team in the summer of 2006, he hit 91-94 mph fastball on the gun with a crackling curveball. But over the next two years, he his fastball sat at 87-88 mph and topped out at 91, and his curveball isn't as tight. Used as a closer, as a closer, setup man and a long reliever, he was 4-0, 0.69 with three saves and an eye-popping 43-8 K-BB ratio ove 13 games and 26 innings.
After the injury, that made him miss the first two months of the season, St. Clair, 6-5 and 225, continued to pitch well for the Owls, thanks to his command, deceptive high leg kick and his competitiveness. He finished 2007 with a 1.91 ERA over 28.1 innings and 16 appearances. Faced 103 hitters, he held the opponents to a combined .214 batting average.
Rice is in the Houston Super Regionals along with Texas, St. John's and Sam Houston State.
The Indians drafted him in the seventh round in 2007 but failed to sign him, and he may be a tougher sign than most seniors. However, if he regains his previous stuff, he could be a steal.
Class of 2008
Los Angeles selections have included:
#1 - RHP Ethan Martin Stephens County High, GA #2 - RHP Josh Lindblom Purdue #3 - OF Kyle Russell Texas #4 - RHP Devaris Strange-Gordon Seminole (FL) CC, #5 - RHP JonMichael Redding Florida CC, Jacksonville #6 - SS Tony Delmonico Florida State #7 - LHP Bruce Cole Rice #8 - OF Nick Buss USC # 9 - 1b Steven Caseres James Madison, VA #10 - RHP Chris Joyce Dos Pueblos HS, Goleta, CA #11 - LHP Nathan Eovaldi Alvin HS, Texas #12 - 3B Austin Yount Stanford #13 - SS-RHP Lenell McGee Oakton IL CC #14 - OF Clay Calfee Angelo State, TX #15 - 1b Albert Golder Louisiana Tech #16 - OF Kyle Conley Washington #17 - LHP Daniel Coulombe Chaparral HS, Scottsdale, AZ #18 - RHP Carl Webster McMichael HS, Madison, NC #19 - LHP David Rollins First Babtist Academy Carthage TX #20 - 3B Zach Cox Pleasure Ridge HS, Louisville #21 - RHO David Sever St. Louis MO #22 - RHP Matthew Smith Wichita State #23 - 2B Brian Ruggiano Texas A&M #24 - LHP Roberto Feliciano Baseball Academy, Gurabo, P.R. #25 - OF Jerry Sands Catawba, NC #26 - RHP/INF Cody Weiss Parkland HS, Allentown, PA #27 - RHP Clayton Allison Fresno State #28 - LHP Jordan Roberts Embry-Riddel FL #29 - LHP Jonathan Runnels Rice #30 - 2B Garrett Green San Diego State, CA #31 - RHP Matt McGill Royal HS, Simi Valley, CA #32 - 3B Shan Sullivan Angelo State CA #33 - OF Melvin Ray North Florida Christian #34 - OF/RHP Andrew Darwin San Jacinto JC #35 - RHP Adam Westmorland Brookland-Cayce, SC #36 - Jake New Tennessee Tech #37 - Will Clinard East Robertson, Tenn #38 - 1B Tommy Nurre Miami Ohio #40 - RF Jimmy Parque Skyline (CA) JC #41 - 3B/C Jett Bandy Thousand Oaks, CA #43 - OF Greg Zebrack Campbell Hall, CA #44 - LHP Matthew Reed West Stanley Hs, Oakboro, NC #45 - C Ryan Arp Iowa