Doug Kroll continues his preview of the top players for the 2008 season. This week he checks in on the top first basemen with Brett Wallace (Arizona State) taking the top spot. Wallace had a tremendous 2007 season where he was named the PAC-10 player of the year and led the Sun Devils to the College World Series. Dustin Ackley (UNC) is put into the second position but is the only sophomore listed on Kroll’s top five. Justin Smoak (South Carolina) comes in at the third spot which is a surprise as he will be a top five pick in the 2008 draft. Yonder Alonso (Miami FL) and David Copper (Cal) round out the top five. The CBB thinks Allan Dykstra (Wake Forest) should be considered a top five player but who should get off the list though? The full article is available here.
Doug Kroll of CSTV checks in with an article about the top catchers in the nation. He talks about Buster Posey of FSU being the top backstop in the nation. Posey is entering his junior season but only his second season behind the plate. The CBB will be checking out Posey this season when the Seminoles visit BC on April 11th-13th. Petey Paramore of Arizona State is listed in the second spot and should put up huge numbers in 2008 on one of the top offensive teams. Rounding out the top five is Tim Federowicz of UNC, Phil Disher of South Carolina, and Doug Hogan of Clemson. I am surprised that Ryan Lavarnway of Yale was not anywhere in his top five or on the players to watch list. The full article is available here.
Pedro Alvarez, Vanderbilt.
This hard-hitting, Junior third baseman from Horace Mann High School in the Bronx, New York is one of the pre-season favorites for the Golden Spikes Award and was the only 2007 Golden Spikes finalist to return in 2008. Alvarez is lethal at the plate, as a career .360 batter with an NCAA high 40 career home runs (among active players). In 2006, he hit .329 with 22 home runs and 64 RBI en route to earning National Freshman of the Year. In 2007, he improved to .386, 18, 68, which leading Vanderbilt to a number 1 ranking for the majority of the season. Alvarez is deadly from the left side of the plate and is protected in Coach Tim Corbin’s lineup by being sandwiched between another pair of returning all-America players, RF Dominic De la Osa (.378, 20, 62) and SS Ryan Flaherty (.381, 4, 57). Alvarez is also a spectacular fielder with cat-like reflexes and a cannon arm; however, Pedro’s flair for the dramatic defensive play also leads to his fair share of errors. Those errors and a tendency to strikeout too often will be the items Alvarez looks to improve in his swan song season.
Dominic de la Osa, Vanderbilt
Hitting in the coveted “Mickey Mantle spot” (in front of Pedro Alvarez, as Mantle did when Roger Maris hit 61), Dominic de la Osa exploded in 2007, proving to be one of the top speed-power guys in the nation. Entering last season with a .300 average and 16 home runs in solid, if unspectacular Freshman and Sophomore years, “of the Bear” set career highs with a .378 average, 65 runs, 23 doubles, 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases. A consensus first team All-America, de la Osa was expected to be a first day pick in the MLB draft before plummeting to the 10th round and the Tigers. An abysmal summer on the Cape left de la Osa with more to prove and he returned to man Rightfield as a Senior for Coach Corbin.
Justin Smoak, South Carolina
Joining Brett Wallace and Yonder Alonso as the elite first basemen in College Baseball, Smoak enters his Junior year in second place on the career homerun list among active players. As a Freshman, he hit .303 with 17 homeruns and 63 RBI. Smoak improved on those numbers last year, hitting .317 with 19 homeruns and another 63 RBI. Most impressive, however, is Smoak’s patience, with 94 walks against 79 strikeouts. The switch-hitting lefty is also thrifty with the glove, sporting a career .994 fielding percentage. Smoak is perfectly positioned for a true, breakout season in a good hitter’s ballpark.
Yonder Alonso, Miami
Alonso was named the top first baseman in the Cape Cod League in 2007. He hit an outstanding .338 for the summer after hitting .376 with 18 homers during the 2007 season for the Hurricanes. Alonso is a patient hitter as he walked 64 times during the collegiate season and 36 times in the CCBL. He only struck out 56 times combined. He needs to work on his defense as he is limited to playing only first base. He should develop more power before getting drafted in 2008 as he will become stronger and a better hitter. Alonso should be able to compete for many National Player of the Year awards in 2008 in addition to conference accolades.
Buster Posey, Florida State
Posey is one of the College Baseball Blog’s favorite players. He moved to catcher before the 2007 season as the Seminoles had an opening behind the plate. Buster hit .382 with 3 homers and 65 RBI at FSU while spending his summer with the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox where he batted .281 as he struggled to adjust to the Cape Cod League pitching. One scout told us that Posey improved his draft stock with the move behind the plate but needs to refine his catching skills as he is raw at calling games and blocking pitches. Posey should be one of the top catchers in the ACC competing with Tim Federowicz for conference awards. The CBB will be seeing Posey this season when FSU comes to Boston College for a three game set. The CBB expects Posey to be drafted in the top five rounds of the 2008 draft.
Brett Wallace, Arizona State
Wallace led the Sun Devils back to the College World Series in 2007 where he hit an outstanding .404 for the season while hitting 16 home runs. He won the Pac 10 Triple Crown as was named the Player of the Year in the conference. Brett spent the summer of 2007 with the USA National team where he competed in the Pan-Am Games and the World Port Tournament. He hit .312 with two homers and 26 RBI for the summer. Wallace is a big guy as he is listed at 6’1 245 pounds so he struggles in the field and will likely be stuck at first base in MLB or moved to DH if he is put in the American League.
Thanks to NewYorkDore for helping out with some of the previews.
Mark Etheridge of SEBaseball.com checks in with an article about many different topics. The first topic which is discussed is the whole Oregon/UC-Irvine/Fullerton musical chair act that has been going on all summer including Rod Delmonico (former head coach at Tennessee) throwing his name in the hat at UC-Irvine. The next topic discussed is how Dave Perno of UGA has had to change up his staff for the 2008 season with an assistant coach moving on to a different school. He finishes up the article by talking about some of winners and losers in the summer in getting transfers. The full article is available here.
The Chatham A’s are led by Allan Dykstra (Wake Forest) who hit .308 this summer with five homers and 31 RBI in 40 games. Tom Milone (Southern Cal) leads the team with a 6-1 record on the mound with a 2.92 ERA. Milone is also tied with Terry Doyle of YD for the league lead in wins. Bryan Shaw (Long Beach State) has seven saves which leads the team.
The Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox enter the playoffs with the best regular season record after winning the 2006 title. They went 31-12-1 in 2007 and according to Perfect Game are one of the top Summer League teams in the nation. are led by one of the top prospects in the CCBL in Gordon Beckham (Georgia). He hit .284 on the year with nine homers and 35 RBI in 42 games. Jason Castro (Stanford) finished second in the league in hitting with a .341 average. Terry Doyle (Boston College) is tied for the league lead with six victories and a 2.35 ERA. Eddie Burns (Georgia Tech) has also had a strong summer with a 5-1 mark with a 2.86 ERA. Nick Cassavechia (Baylor) has 11 saves which is top in the league.
Friday: Chatham at Yarmouth Dennis at 3 pm
Saturday: Yarmouth-Dennis at Chatham at 7 pm
Sunday (if necessary): Chatham at Yarmouth-Dennis at 3 pm
The College Baseball Blog predicts that Yarmouth-Dennis wins the series in two games.
The entire playoffs will be webcasted for free through Leaguestream. The games can be accessed by clicking here.
DURHAM, NC— Tyson Ross (3-0, California) took a no-hitter into the sixth, striking out eight over seven innings in leading Team USA (19-7) to a 14-0 victory over the Netherlands in the first of a three-game, two-day series. Ross allowed just two hits while walking none, in his first appearance since the Gold Medal Game eight days ago.
Brett Wallace (Arizona State) drove in five with a three-run home run and a two-run double, while Ryan Flaherty (Vanderbilt) went 3-for-5 with four RBIs a day after turning 21 years old. Roger Kieschnick (Texas Tech) went 3-for-4, as the trio all hit home runs.
Flaherty, Kieschnick and Jordan Danks (Texas) all hit home runs as part of an eight-run eighth inning.
Ross was perfect through the first 14 batters, before an error by second baseman Ryan Flaherty allowed the first Dutch base runner to reach base in the fifth. Ross finished off the inning by striking out the side. Ross’ no-hit bid was broken up an inning later, by Danny Rombley, with a one-out base hit to center field.
Five of the Americans first six runs came with two outs to give them a 6-0 lead after three.
The Americans tallied back-to-back, two-out RBI singles from Logan Forsythe (Arkansas) and Kieschnick to take a 2-0 lead in the first. Wallace’s two-out, two-run single in the second then made it 4-0.
A Kieshnick homer in the third gave the Americans a 5-0 lead in the third, before a two-out, RBI double from Josh Romanski (San Diego) made it 6-0. Dutch righthander Rob Cordemans gave up six runs on seven hits over the first two and two-third innings.
Wallace’s homer in the eighth made it 9-0, after reliever Diegomar Markwell pitched four and one-third scoreless innings. Wallace’s blast was one of three homers and eight runs in the inning, as Flaherty added a three-run shot and Danks followed with a solo shot.
It was second baseman Ryan Flaherty’s 21st birthday last night… shortstop Danny Espinosa made a nice play off the glove of Ross in the first inning to rob Dirk van’t Klooster of a base hit… these same two teams will play in Holland in Rotterdam starting next week at the World Port Tournament… the four home runs was a summer-high… high school senior Tyler Stovall, a Team USA junior team invitee, pitched the ninth inning.
The nine-game American trip will continue with the Netherlands on Sunday in Cary (morning game at 11 a.m.), and Durham (afternoon game at 5 p.m.), before closing out with and Russia on Monday (one night game) in Cary, NC at 7 p.m… the team closes out their schedule at the World Port Tournament in the Netherlands starting on August 2.
Baseball America published an interesting op-ed piece today, forecasting their predicted field for the 2008 College World Series. Obviously it’s too soon to tell who will be a legitimate contender, with almost 2 months remaining before the August 15 deadline for MLB organizations to sign would-be college prospects, and injuries, weather and dozens of other factors looming on the horizon. But all the same, it’s interesting to start thinking about it already as we watch the summer leagues take shape, and Aaron Fitt provides some interesting food for thought in the off-season. And no, as you near the end of the list, you’ll discover that I am not unbiased in my evaluation of this article…
The lucky 8:
The UC-Irvine Anteaters picked up an 8-7 victory over the Arizona State Sun Devils in one of the most exciting games in the College World Series in recent history. The Anteaters trailed 7-3 heading into the bottom of the eighth. The Anteaters were able to pick up four runs in the bottom of the eighth to tie up the game. The Anteaters inning was brought to a halt as UC-Irvine third base coach Greg Bergeron and Cody Cipriano collided as the player was rounding third. Third base umpire David Buck recognized the contact and rightfully called Cipriano out on the play. It would stay tied until the tenth inning when the Anteaters got a single from Ollie Linton which brought home Matt Morris with the winning run. This was the second straight extra inning victory for the UC-Irvine baseball program.
ASU ends the season with a 49-15 record while UC-Irvine will face Oregon State at 7 pm as the Anteaters have to defeat OSU twice to get to the Championship series.
PS: I want a UC-Irvine Baseball Hat now as I have jumped on the bandwagon. Where can I buy one that the players wear? If you have the answer leave a comment or e-mail us.
Arizona State Recap
Daily Pilot Recap
East Valley Tribune Recap