Possible SJSU Lineup for 2017
The Spartans are a team in transition. So much so that the roster for the coming season hasn't been posted (as of 1/11). A new coach and his staff are instituting a new regimen and some players that had a major role last season may or may not be on the team as it enters the season. I can only guess what this does to the starting lineup. And guess I will.
Last year's team had problems just about everywhere; very little pop, lack of hitting, and, most of all, pitching. What else is left? Coach Hawkins knows the issues and has brought in some assistants to help.
Anthony Claggett is new and will work with the pitchers. He has major league pitching experience which, to me, means don't groove an 0-2 pitch. Another newbie is Dean Stiles and he probably will work with the pitchers also as he has experience in that arena while at Florida International. Damon Lessler is also new and I suspect he will work with the hitters. All of these areas need vast improvement if the Spartans expect to win many games in 2017.
Bozar’s best guess:
C - Joe Stefanki (SR) - .291 and 1
1B - Shane Timmons (JR) - .328 and 4
2B - Justin Beck (JR) - .194 and 0
SS - Michael Breen (SR) - .299 and 0
3B - David Campbell (JR) - .342 and 0 in few ABs due to injury
OF - Chris Williams (JR) - juco transfer
OF - Kyle Blakeman - JC transfer and I’ve heard good things
OF - Josh Nashed (JR) - .246 and 1
DH - Hunter Tidwell (SO) - .254 and 1
SP - Josh Nashed (JR) - 0-6 and 4.79
SP - Matt Brown (JR) - 2-7 and 5.18
SP - Graham Gomez (SR) - 2-5 and 5.40
SP - Jeremy Polon (FR) - frosh
RP - Hilario Tovar (JR) - 3-4 and 5.58
Stefanki at catcher could be pressed by Jack Veasey who has been around for three years and knows the system. Stefanki was last year's biggest surprise as he hit a respectable .291 and is pretty good defensively. Second base is a big question mark and I've plugged in Beck even though he hit a paltry .194 last year. One of my contacts says that Kyle Morrison is a possibility. Shortstop is going to be a dogfight as Breen and Aaron Pleschner are very similar and can hit. I’ve heard Pleschner might be in the lead for the start. Morrison also has a chance but only had 14 ABs last year. Folks, that's the middle of the infield; a most important area. Corner positions are set in my mind with Campbell and Timmons. Same with the outfield with Hunter Tidwell coming off the bench for occasional starts when Nashed is on the mound. Another outfielder I like that is unproven is freshman Aidan Malm. I'm not sure if Bautista will be active this year so I'll have to hear from coach on him. A big loss if he can't play.
Pitching will be the biggest question. I see no names written in stone but I see light at the end of the tunnel for both Nashed and Brown. Brown was a co-MVP in the fall World Series; well, three games anyway. The top three starters I have listed have 31 starts among them and Tovar with eight more. I don't know how Polon has performed this fall but I like him and I'm sticking with it. Tovar is a trump card as he can be a starter if things go south for one of those in the rotation, which is very possible. Anyway, let's see what transpires. UCLA is waiting in the bushes.
keeping my ear to the ground listening for bison I’ve heard the following possibilities. Morrison could be a starter at 2B or 3B. Breen got hurt this summer and I have no idea if he’ll be available. That would be a loss. The SS position looks to be Pleschner according to my sources. Breen backs him up if healthy. 3B is a question mark and a lot depends on both Campbell’s and Breen’s health. If both are unable to play, who knows. Olivet is possible as a starter in the outfield but I’m not convinced. Kellen Strahm (juco transfer) and Blakeman also in the OF with Williams a lock. Pitching is pretty close to how I have it.