Lost and Returning Players for SJS Baseball for 2016
Last season was a complete disaster for the Spartans as they won only a little over 10 games. Thirteen to be exact. I don't want to perform an autopsy here as 2015 is dead. What significant players did the Spartans lose? What players come back? Does it matter? I'm only talking about current players and no recruits will be discussed here.
The two seniors lost to graduation were center fielder Andre Mercurio and pitcher Kalei Contrades. I, and just about everyone else, figured those two would contribute much more than they did. They still were the most reliable players at their respective positions which is what you'd expect from veterans. Pitcher Myles Richard is also gone and he did have his moments. The good news? Only three losses from a very young team. The bad news? This is still a very young team.
What players return that could have an impact on the fortunes of this team? I must start with Brett Bautista who has been the most consistent hitter on the team two years in a row. Also returning for his second year as a Spartan is Ozzy Braff who took most of the season to figure it all out but, figure it out he did. Shane Timmons could be a star as he has what is sadly lacking on the Spartans; power. He needs to find a position. My gold star has to go to David Campbell as he is a big, tall, power-hitting third baseman. He bats lefty, which I like for an infielder, and can only get better. The season will be the proving grounds.
I've always said that an ERA of 5.00 is the standard for a college pitcher. The team had an ERA of 6.89 so you do the math. Josh Nashed was second on the team in IP and it will be very interesting where he will play. He had a good summer, I understand. Matt Brown also has a year under his belt and needs to take advantage of his sinker. Turtle Kuhaulua could be very good as I like his loose delivery. Will he start or close? Close, most likely. Hilario Tovar is the most intriguing of the bunch. He had a horrible ERA but 11 starts which was second to Contrades. We'll see about him.
Coach will be looking at a squad that has had little in the way of success and plenty of scars to show for it. Hopefully, those scars will force growth. I remember when I played I hated losing more than I enjoyed winning. Stupid, right? Ask most athletes and see what they say. The Spartans have a lot to prove. Much crossing of fingers.
UNLV up next.