12.Feb.2011 Discussion: Baseball

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Enough with the basketball and football failures. It's time for us to fail in another sport: baseball. With Cliff's writeup coming out in the Times tomorrow, I figured this would be a good time to discuss opening day.

The official site has an informative writeup on the infield and outfield:

Sounds like we're going to be a team that scrapes for runs. Maybe even more so than last year. Susac might be the best power threat. Nash is surprisingly going to start out in CF. I don't like the idea of Miller as a starting OF. He was terrible on offense last year; he couldn't even get bunts down. Maybe Poyer grabs that spot?

Without too much thought behind this, I like an infield of:

3B-Not sure. Maybe Jake Rodriguez? Great HS numbers, but zero experience, and he didn't exactly tear up the West Coast League.
SS-Carter Bell
2B-Tyler Smith (He really  needs to improve his offense to be an every day 2B)
1B-Dylan Jones/Parker Berberet
C-Andrew Susac/Parker Berberet

And an outfield of:

RF-Jared Norris
CF-Garret Nash
LF-Jordan Poyer? Probably a reach, but he seems like the best speed/power threat out of the group. More likely is Norris starting in LF and Miller starting in RF. Ugh.

Sounds like a lot of these guys are interchangeable. I'm starting to see why we're picked 8th in the Pac-10…not a whole lot of pop in this lineup. The pitching staff should be good to great, though. I'm really high on Boyd, and he's rightfully starting out in the rotation. The bullpen appears shaky, but there's going to be addition by subtraction with the graduation of "KRhod".

This team has the feel of a turn of the century dead-ball-era squad: an abundance of pitching, limited power, good speed, and good defense. While I love that era and style of baseball, I'm not sure it works well with the *ping* bats. Stefan Romero leaving early was a shock at the time, and it's tempered my enthusiasm for this year's squad. If an unknown quantity, such as Poyer or Rodriguez, can provide offensive pop then the team could do well.

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  • OneEyedKing says:
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    There was an article posted today about the NCAA change to aluminum bats that reduces the “Sweet Spot” from 22 inches to 5 inches.

    That means teams that rely on big hits and HRs, like ASU, will be hurt a lot, and teams that play small ball, like us, will be unaffected. This is a big deal for us.

    And let’s remember that we never get picked highly for anything. Our two best pitchers were both out all year last year, and now they’re back, and pitching/defense is what we built our championships on, not power hitting.

  • aicandme aicandme says:
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    This article doesn’t speak to the sweet spot but does outline the change to bats the NCAA has in place for 2011. Bats will now act more like wood bats than the metal bats of old.

    http://dirtdogbaseball.wordpress.com/2010/08/05/new-baseball-bat-rules-for-2011/

    • angry angry says:
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      “The new BBCOR standard regulates the flexibility of non-wood bats in their construction along with the resultant “trampoline effect” of balls springing off the striking surface of the barrel. This will be accomplished by making barrel walls thicker and less flexible, or by installing barrel inserts behind the “sweet spot” to block flexing.”

      This is interesting and good for the sport.

  • sparkyd73 says:
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    Baseball is not nearly as easy to look at a team and determine their effectiveness. Baseball is highly mental. This press conference with Pat Casey is very telling. He basically says that he got press for having such a talented recruiting class in ’07 but none of them had the team as their highest priority. The recruits that took us to the CWS may not have had all of the physical tools but they had the intangibles and wanted to be part of a team. He even points out that the North Carolina team that they beat had the first round of the draft as their line-up, but we were a team. I think this could be a great year, I like that we are going in as number 8. Not that it matters much since the Pac 10 got 8 teams last year. The key is peaking at the right time.

    http://www.osubeavers.com/sports/m-basebl/spec-rel/020911aaf.html

    • JackBeav says:
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      Casey did sound a little angry at recent recruiting classes as he described the team-first mentality of this year’s class. I recall him saying something about really wanting kids who wanted to be in school for this class. And all but a couple gave up some big money to go to school. Duke and Zarosinski could have been second to fourth round picks, and Wetzler would have been first round if they all didn’t tell MLB scouts to take a hike for at least three years.

      And if next year’s class stays intact, we should be seeing some really good ball for years to come.

      I never got the sense that last year’s team was an actual team. Peavey, Gaviglio and Boyd were the only pitchers in which I had any faith. I was happy to see all the rest go in the draft. Even Romero seemed to play with team as an ancillary concept. When he went down, and Bell moved to 3B, i think the team started playing their best ball of the year.

      The first series against Hawai’i should have tipped us off to the trouble that was looming. Casey’s teams don’t typically lose in the 9th, or even the late innings. They lost a lot of games that way last year. I was extremely upset with their play in the midst of their 12 game slide. I thought they played no small ball, and giving up late leads was the result. Pitchers were trying to fireball it instead of just putting the ball in play for the IF’s. Batters were trying to hit the fences instead of hitting holes. It seemed they came into games with a plan to manufacture runs. It worked. Then they abandoned that plan in the middle innings for ridiculous play once they gained a lead.

      Not playing small ball showed most prominently in our defense and base running. It was like our fielders had never practiced ground balls and gappers during some of those games. And then there was the run that should have been against UCLA.

  • JackBeav says:
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    The BBCOR was instituted on Jan 1, 2011. Many teams, including the Beavs, have been using the new bats since last summer in order to get used to the feel.

    I love good baseball with speed, timely hitting, rallies, shut-down pitchers and at defense. When we start pining for a home run hitter, we start getting bored with killed rallies.

    I’m really excited about Wetzler and the other young arms coming in. I also like that Osich is back, and I hope he’s in good form. A starting four of Gaviglio, Wetzler, Osich and Boyd should be a very formidable group.

    Bell is best at 3B. If Rodriguez can beat him out there, that’s just gravy. I expect Jones, Smith, Stamps and Bell to be the IF. With Jones out, Hayes or Boyd should fill in at 1B, and the other should be DH. Berberet can fill in nicely at either as well.

    I like Norris for RF if nobody beats him out. And I really like Nash anywhere in the OF. I’m surprised there’s no mention of Montgomery for LF. His JUCO bat was better than solid, and his speed is outstanding. Miller better be the player who wins out rather than just taking the spot based on past performance. Because his past performance doesn’t warrant an automatic bid. I’m thinking Nash in CF, Montgomery in LF and Norris in RF. And I’m hoping Poyer steals the bid from Norris.

    With bats available like Susac, Hayes, Jones, Nash (and hopefully Montgomery, Boyd, Rodriguez and Berberet) we should have some pop in the line-up that can drive the alleys. Speed and percentage hitting should be the goal for Bell, Stamps, Smith and whoever fills out the OF.

  • JackBeav says:
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    “Wood and non-wood bats with the same BBCOR produce essentially the same batted-ball speeds, so it is easy to relate a non-wood bat’s performance to that of a similarly-sized wood bat.”
    http://fs.ncaa.org/Docs/rules/baseball/bats/NCAA.BBCORannouncement.9.05.pdf

    I still don’t like the ping, but the play should be better.

  • angry angry says:
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    Cliff’s writeup is surprisingly good.
    http://gazettetimes.com/sports/beavers-sports/article_87f0503c-36c9-11e0-a6fd-001cc4c002e0.html

    • mckalk mckalk says:
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      Casey has a lot different take on how quickly youth should should develop as opposed to CR. I know it is a different sport, but interesting nontheless.

  • oneoldbeav oneoldbeav says:
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    An article in Cliff’s paper by Steve Gress on Feb 1st was also very good. Included were these quotes from Pat Casey which I especially like,

    “There is competition going on and I think it will be a surprise to a couple guys that are supposed to be guys for us who won’t be starting because of their lack of intensity and their satisfaction with themselves,” Casey said.

    “I think you will see some guys who are supposed to be in the lineup who won’t be in the lineup. Then I think you will see some guys you probably have never heard of that just pulled up and said, ‘Hey, I’m looking for a place to play’ and will be in the lineup and they’ll stay in the lineup until those guys decide they want to play hard and get engaged in what we are doing.”

    Isn’t this the attitude we’ve all wanted from Riley and Robinson?

    • angry angry says:
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      Yeah, that is a great attitude. Why did Casey keep putting “Krhod” in games, though? It ruins his credibility since KRhod was clearly one of the guys with no heart/all tangibles. If Casey sticks to this attitude this year, I’ll accept the results whether good or bad. I don’t want to see gutless, selfish players. I want to see good team ball and solid fundamentals. If we lose playing that way I can live with it.

    • Beavker Beavker says:
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      A bit off topic, but I remember a Frat Brother of mine that played Football at Linfield, who also played Baseball for Linfield, talking about a bench clearing brawl they had with George Fox (somewhere between ’93-’94 seasons I believe). That must have been when Pat’s brother Chris coached at Linfield, because I remember his saying, “I think I punched Coach Casey’s brother’. I thought about that when Pat got the OSU job, and it’s engrained into my memory whenever I hear about Pat Casey.

    • angry angry says:
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      Good stuff. I think we’ll see Nash leading off.
      I love Bell’s attitude… I think playing for Canada taught him a lot about leadership. He should be much improved. We need a guy like that (e.g. Barney/Wong/Mitch) who takes control of the dugout. It’s been lacking. Bell might be that guy.

  • angry angry says:
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    Does anyone know if Gonzaga has a good team this year?

    • mckalk mckalk says:
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      Picked 6th in their conference by fellow coaches, so maybe down a little. I think historically they have been able to steal games from the Beavs.

  • MudAndSticks MudAndSticks says:
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    Well, if nothing else, a new NASCAR season has begun (almost).

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    Hey Angry.. your blog just got mentioned with a link in an Oregonian snippet this morning…nice.

    • angry angry says:
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      That was pretty cool. I knew he read it. The media has changed since this blog formed. Buker and Rivals have slowly become more critical. It’s been a year and a half process. And Canzano lifts material verbatim. The latter pisses me off, actually.

      • progressivebeav says:
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        Nice! Got a link to the mention?

      • BeaverBeliever20 says:
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        Not surprised about Canzano. He’s not a real journalist. He does the occasional original article. Most of the time though, he steals from others and claims as his own. I have zero respect for that guy.

      • BeaverBeliever20 says:
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        Btw Angry, what do you think of the Beavers going back to 5:30 am practices? My thoughts were it’s about damn time.

        • angry angry says:
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          I love it. They played a hell of a lot better when they were up practicing at 5:30. Plus, rewarding them with later practices when they play well is just basic, smart psychology. It’s how one trains dogs.

          • BeaverBeliever20 says:
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            Yeah I agree. Also, you gotta believe they’ll go out playing hard as hell because they don’t want Craig running their asses to death at 5:30 in the morning. They will be more focused, I believe because of this.

        • sparkyd73 says:
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          Doesn’t this go into the too little, too late category? We’ve been hemoraging for weeks and for that matter we’ve never been able to keep focus since the “pre” season.

          • BeaverBeliever20 says:
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            You should know that Craig, much like Riley is late to do the right thing. He took 4/5 of the season to finally bench Burton. If the team had been practicing at 5:30 am all year they would probably have some more wins. Players have a tendency to try as hard they can when they realize not playing hard would mean the coaching staff will run them to death at 5:30 am.

          • sparkyd73 says:
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            I’m not convinced that Burton is benched. I think it was a temporary punishment for some indiscretion, not an indictment on his play.

          • mckalk mckalk says:
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            I was watching some highlights from the 2008/09 season. They played much better basketball than this team. I guess the 5:30 am practices had some value.

          • angry angry says:
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            Remember when CR was hired…he said he practiced at 5am because it was his favorite time of the day? Then a few weeks ago it comes out that he practiced at 5am because he had to share the gym with the women’s team and volleyball team.

      • Beavocalypse says:
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        It seems that someone confused me with you, as I have plugged the site a few times. I’m done with posting on O-live. Buker finally mentioned you so that quest is now at an end, that and I hate Buker.

        I think this is the only place I feel like reading Beav news at.

  • mckalk mckalk says:
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    I am behind the times. I posted the Buker link in the basketball blog. Sorry!

  • patorickperu says:
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    It is only get worse for you. Nice guy coaches do not win games. you can only develop so many 1-3 star players with high school quality facilities. get ready for a decade of sucking dust from the south of you. you might want to look for all of the 3 story buildings in corn valley (maybe 3 off campus) and start jumping ala 1929 NY, Happy landings!!

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