Over the last week or so, I had a chance to check out three of the USA Collegiate National Team’s games in which they went 3-0 with a victory over a Futures League All-Star Team and two wins over Japan by scores of 2-1 and 3-1. Here are some of the guys that stood out to me and some that were disappointing.
Stars (Alphabetical Order)
Cadyn Grenier (Oregon State)- He was outstanding on the defensive side of the game with a perfect fielding percentage and continued to show elite defensive skills. Grenier had a home run against the Futures League hitting a home run over the Fitton Field center field fence going about 410 feet. He hit only .235 in the series against Japan but came up with a huge double on Thursday against Japan in the bottom of the ninth eventually scoring the winning run on a Tyler Frank single. Grenier’s defense will carry him at the next level while the bat will be the biggest issue.
Nick Madrigal (Oregon State)- Another Beaver middle infielder standing out for the USA program on the defensive side. He made a play against Japan on Monday evening taking a hard one hopper at shortstop and quickly turning a double play that wowed the crowd and scouts on hand. Madrigal only hit .227 with two RBI but was hitting many frozen ropes at Japanese fielders which were getting him out. Madrigal reminds me of Dustin Pedroia and is another player to watch.
Patrick Raby (Vanderbilt)- The Commodores pitcher gets guys out without using anything flashy touching 90 MPH and using his off-speed stuff. In the two games that I saw, he pitched a total of 7.2 innings allowing only four hits and two walks while striking out six batters. He was able to hold batters to a .167 average.
Bryce Tucker (UCF)- The Golden Knights lefty was very good working out of the pen as a shutdown lefty who touch 92-93 when I had access to a radar gun. He showed a breaking ball against lefties that was unhittable as seen by his three appearances where he didn’t give up an earned run while striking out four in three innings of work.
Andrew Vaughn (Cal)- He played primarily at first base but the story of his game was his hitting. He finished the series with a .333 average with two RBI. Vaughn was named Series MVP for his performance against the Japanese squad. If he continues hitting at this pace, he will see his name called very early next June.
Dallas Woolfork (Ole Miss)- Woolfork pitched in the Monday evening game against the Japanese in the ninth inning of a 3-1 game. He came in throwing absolute gas touching 96 MPH and overpowering the Japanese lineup. Woolfork jumped up several boards based on that inning.
Steele Walker (Oklahoma)- Everyone coming into the Japan series was raving about Walker’s play this summer. Walker had a tough series against the Japanese hitting .111 but was able to drive in two runs. Walker’s body will transition well to the MLB life.
Seth Beer (Clemson)- Seth was one of the guys I was interested in watching over the week or so that the USA squad was in New England. Beer was an absolute disaster going hitless in 13 at bats and reaching base only when he was hit by a pitch which happened twice. Beer seemed very jumpy at the plate and lacked discipline. Everyone raves about Beer’s power ability which has been great at the collegiate level but this week might bring the expectations back to earth.