David Bacani: Pound For Pound

The B-Mets clubhouse is filled with imposing figures. Athletes, who, for their entire adult lives, have worked hard on their bodies, toning muscles and building strength, can be seen in front of almost ever locker. Then there is Dave Bacani. He works out and works on the field just as hard as any of his teammates but he stands at 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighs a mere 165lbs. (Free Preview of Premium Content)

David Bacani is dwarfed on the field by most of his colleagues and yet he hits and fields the ball better than most others in the league. He is second on the B-Mets in average, is third in slugging percentage, and entering the week he had an OBP of .425. In a clubhouse with many imposing figures Bacani is simply known as "Pound for Pound", signifying that pound for pound he is as good as they come. At the moment, the nickname, flattering though it may be, is not justified because Dave Bacani is hitting the ball as well as anybody regardless of size.

Bacani has always been one of the smallest members of any team that he has played on but that didn't stop him from playing High School football as well as baseball. High School football is where he first acquired the nickname "pound for pound" and the name has stuck with him all the way to AA. "I was an All State football player my senior year of High School, but I never continued with it because I would have gotten beat around in college."

He did decide to play baseball at Cal State Fullerton. Playing Baseball at Fullerton he set several school records including getting hit by a pitch the most times in one season. "In my freshman year I got hit thirty times. That's almost more walks than a guy has in one year. I would get up close to the plate and anything that would come in I would turn into it. I led the team in on base percentage." After a brutally bruised body in his freshman year Bacani learned other ways to get on base and his hit by pitch total declined in each of his subsequent seasons. This, however, did not stop him from scoring runs. He is one of the few players to start all four years and he was the first player in Big West Conference history to earn first-team all-conference honors in four consecutive years.

For his efforts in college, Baseball America has created the "Dave Bacani Award" which is given to the best college player under 5"10. Bacani is proud to have this distinction, but he does not let it go to his head. Bacani majored in Child Development at Fullerton. "I've always liked working with kids. After my baseball days are done I'm going to be a coach and the level I want to coach is college baseball. I had so much fun in college and the concept of team in college is so much more prevalent than it is in pro-ball where a lot of guys are just out for themselves."

He was drafted in the 22nd round in 2001. Bacani understands that no matter how late you are drafted, everybody is on equal footing once they start in pro-ball. If you perform, then you will move up to the big leagues. "I expected to be drafted. The draft is more geared towards potential than it is performance. There obviously going to draft a guy that has more tools than me ahead of me." This year Bacani is showing that he has as many tools as the next guy and is really having a breakout year. Bacani has had some success in the minors, but he has never hit over .262 in a full season. He started out slowly this year but in the last couple months his average has jumped over 100 points. "I'm seeing the ball real well out of the pitcher's hand and I'm seeing the ball early as well. It's one of those things where I just trust my skills and I know everything else will take care of itself."

Bacani plays 2B, SS, 3B and even some outfield. "I came up as a SS and the last two years I've played about thirty games a year at SS and I can play in the outfield as well. I played third base when Wright had some bowel problems but I just want to be on the field wherever I am." He has played three positions, in the infield, for the B-Mets but has spent the most time at 2B. He has tremendous range to his right at that position and his quick hands more than make up for his average throwing arm. Though Bacani is a 2B/SS he is not concerned at all about being in an organization with Reyes and Matsui. "I know I can't control any of that. I don't let that affect me or how I got about my business. I just take the same approach every day, play hard, and the other things will take care of themselves."

Bacani's success is outstanding even if it is a little unexpected. If his hitting continues his rise to the big leagues is all but assured. His size should not be a hindrance at all David Eckstein, the Angels star second baseman, has the exact same frame as Bacani and he is batting an even .300 this season. His size won't stop him and all the people who tell him he is too small to make it, may fuel him the way it did John Franco.

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