Fresno State - Always Trying to Recapture the Lightning
The ‘Dawgs are always a team that is hard to deal with. A lot is expected of them and the opposition expects, oh, how can I say it; a dogfight? The last few years have not turned out as the rabid fan base and the coaches had hoped. Aaron Judge has moved on. One of the best players in the Mountain West and the west in general. Two great catchers are also gone. Most teams feel fortunate to have one. So, what went wrong? Not much hitting and only a modicum of power. A third of the power and the best of the hitters is gone. Actually, three of the top four hitters are gone. That IS a concern. Pitching? A decent staff returns intact other than Linehan and Stirewalt who were both drafted and signed. That bodes well for the Bulldogs and not so much for the MWC. But, ya still gots to score!
There are four catchers on the roster and I have no idea who the man will be behind the iron mask. Newcomer freshman Nick Warren hit over .400 his senior year in high school with a little pop (3 home runs) but is unproven at this level. Redshirt junior Woodward looks the most likely to me as he has the experience and comes from a great program (Orange Coast CC). The Bulldogs also have some problems at two outfield positions and the right side of the infield. They have returning players for all but first base but none had very good years at the plate. If you look at the current roster, it looks as if Coach Batesole is looking for some production at those positions and DH also. I would think he'll find someone but they won't all deliver. The search will go on. Mariscal is set at short and I'd guess the same with Viers at third. I'm not so sure about Jake Alvarez at second but I'll put him there as he has the experience. The rest of the positions? Geez, write me a note and let me know what's up. I have to put experience there but the Bulldogs really need improvement. First base, then, goes to Jordan Brink and he's a better pitcher than a hitter. Taylor Tempel looks ok in one of the outfield spots and Taylor Ward's grasp on the other is by the slimmest of threads. All these guys have a little pop but didn't hit the ball often enough last year. You players reading this? Remember your boss's (coach) job relies on you improving and hitting. He won't be very patient this year. The DH will also be just about anyone's for the taking and I'm giving it to Brown who showed he can hit at the JC level. I'm done here and I'll bet that the lineup will look nothing like this. That's the best thing I've said so far.
The pitching staff gets most of the rotation back but I still think the coach is not satisfied with what he is getting and seeing on the mound. The top of the heap is Quinn who looks good but the most starts comes from Derick Velazquez (11 starts). Jordan Brink probably gets the remaining weekend start as he can be overwhelming. The only newbie that looks good enough to start to me is Anthony Arias who was dominating in high school AND, he's a lefty.
C - Trent Woodward - juco transfer
1B - Jordan Brink - .226 and 2
2B - Jake Alvarez - .222 and 0
SS - Chris Mariscal - .300 and 2
3B - Kevin Viers - .251 and 4
OF - Jordan Luplow - .278 and 3
OF - Taylor Tempel - .239 and 2
OF - Taylor Ward - .195 and 3
DH - Jeff Brown - juco transfer
SP - Blake Quinn - 3-3 and 3.01
SP - Derick Velazquez - 4-2 and 4.40
SP - Jordan Brink - 4-4 3.92
SP - Anthony Arias - freshman
RP - Garrett Mundell - 1-5 and 5.23 and 2 saves (48 strikeouts in 43 IP)
If there is no improvement with the position players this season and the pitching fails to lower ERAs, it could be a long year. Chris Mariscal is an All-MWC talent but everyone else has to catch up to him. Who will step up the pace? Dunno.