Thursday, June 4, 2009

Who do you want in the starting lineup?

Now that Fresno State's "UnderDOGS to WonderDOGS Part 2" came to an abrupt end after two straight losses to open the NCAA regionals in Irvine, this much we know:

  • Tommy Mendonca and Holden Sprague are true 'Dogs at heart. Both were choked up and nearly moved to tears knowing their Bulldogs careers were coming to an end (Mendonca as an early-round draft pick and the school's all-time home run king).
  • Dusty Robinson is good, as in Freshman All-America good. The left fielder bashed 15 taters and his batting average skyrocketed the last month of the season.
  • Derek Benny is gonna be good, as in Matt Garza/Tanner Scheppers good. Maybe even Jeff Weaver/Bobby Jones good. Benny is a power pitcher, like Garza and Scheppers, but had far more control of his stuff than either of those two did as freshmen.
  • There are five really, and I stress really, annoying kids who are UC Irvine fans. I know because they sat right behind us at the regionals and mocked every traditional Diamond 'Dogs chant. And the three adults with 'em just encouraged the foolishness.

What we don't know, however, is what next year's starting lineup will look like. There's a lot of turnover, a nice group of signees and lots of returning talent. So sound off. Who do you want in the 2010 Fresno State baseball starting lineup? Here's my take:

1. Danny Muno, 2B
2. Nick Hom, 3B
3. Dusty Robinson, LF
4. Jake Johnson, DH
5. Steve Detwiler, RF
6. Clay Cederquist, 1B
7. Brennan Gowens, CF
8. Garrett Weber, SS
9. Trent Garrison, C

Pitching Rotation
Derek Benny
Jake Floethe
Josh Poytress
Matt Morse


  1. 3B - Not Hom. He hardly played and didn't even travel with the team in the post-season as a soph. If Batesole had any intent to play him next year as a junior, you'd have seen him on the field at 1B or 2B a couple times and he wouldn't have been left behind from road trips. I'd be surprised if he's on the 35-man roster next year.

    Matt Morse - chance of him being drafted. Not high. Maybe high enough to convince him to go live the dream. Morse doesn't have the stuff to ever be a 1-thru-10 round draft pick and his leverage is worse not better if he stays for his senior season. I mean, Clayton Allison had better stuff, velocity, and results, and he went 27th round. Morse's best chance to get drafted is probably right now. Will depend on how bad he wants the sheepskin.

    Jake Floethe - won't play next year. TJ rehab won't be complete in time. At least my opinion is he'd be smart not to play next year. Give his elbow a chance for a full recovery going into a draft eligibility year. Why risk it? If he came back to pitch next year and did well, there's the chance he'd get over-used too soon and re-injure himself. I could see him following Scheppers path. Play independent ball to showcase himself prior to the draft where he has some control over his appearances and pitch count.

    Josh Poytress - lots of potential but he's got a lot of work to do over the summer to be an everyday starter. He had one very good start this year. Otherwise he was very inconsistent with his control.

  2. you know who is this isJune 4, 2009 at 5:27 PM

    here's my comment: you're a wuss if you can't hold your own with five annoying kids.

  3. You're right, Hom hardly played at all this year -- but not because of lack of talent. Count me in as one who believes Hom would hit .300 if given the opportunity to play every day. The reason Hom didn't travel with the team at season's end wasn't playing-related, he's in Batesole's doghouse so to speak. But he hopes to be back next year.

    Morse might get drafted, might go, but really he didn't start to grow at this level until the last few weeks of the season. Another year could benefit him. That said, even if he does return a spot in the rotation is questionable depending on newcomers like J.R. Bromberg and J.D. Salles and the growth of Cody Kendall. Josh Poytress will start unless newcomers beat him out too. He's a lefty, which is one plus, and his ceiling is higher than the others.

    What's your best guess at next year's lineup and rotation?

  4. 1. muno 2b
    2. vivas ss
    3. drob lf
    4. johnson 1b or dh
    5. cederquist 1b or dh
    6. det rf
    7. gowens cf
    8. garrison c
    9. weber 3b (if no hom)

    i like the thought of the 9 hole as the second lead off batter

    wide open battle between kendall and salles..maybe even escat

  5. I like the second leadoff strategy too Jake. Most interesting though, to me, is your choice of Vivas hitting second. Besides the Sac State series, I think his offense was a weakness in the lineup.

    It would be great to have his glove, but if someone like Weber can compare, then I think you have to go with the offensive production. At a high regional level, it was painful to see Vivas, Hedstrom and Garrison so overmatched at the plate. Garrison, though, has more potential to improve.

    But maybe Johnson should start at catcher...?

  6. I like the comment about the Irvine fans. Talked about the worst place to have a regional and true home field advantage. While our pitchers are warming up being taunted by the trust fund kids of the OC, Irvine's could find solace with the grasslands behind their bullpen. To have only one side of the field with fan accessibility being the visitors and nothing on the home side, provided way too much leverage to the home team. Bravo Virginia for traveling so far away and taking it to the teams on the west coast.

  7. Heard there was already a bunch of kids cut. Anyone know names?

  8. ya i just like vivas as a 2 because the kid can bunt

    and imo he really improved this year, aside from the regional it seemed like he really was making strides and building confidence

    batesole loves to bunt, i havent seen weber play in person since he was at chs, so i dont know how his bunting is

    all this though is assuming hom doest get a shot, i wont believe he will until i see it

  9. On our catcher: If I could dream, I'd want a catcher with Grubb's defense & receiving, Garrison's arm, and Mendonca's bat. We don't have anyone remotely like that. Not Garrison. Not Johnson. Every option we have at catch is a compromise. Garrison has a plus arm, but an average bat and is a below average receiver. Johnson is an average receiver & bat, below average arm. Ripe for a JC trasfer option here. Need to recruit a Frank DelNegro type guy from a JC.

    I like Vivas at SS. Defensively he has tools Muno can only dream of. Remember that deep ground ball BEHIND 2B he got to and made the throw to 1B in the post season? Muno would have taken two steps then waved as it rolled out to Heddie. Muno simply can't get to balls that Vivas can. Vivas may become a better hitter with an off season of Batesole's mentoring. If there's one thing Batesole can teach better than anyone it's hitting.

    3B - It's an open tryout in the fall for this spot. Love Hom's bat. His glove is unproven and I think in his case being in Batesole's 'dog house' got turned into the 'out' house. Algrove, Weber, or a new JC recruit?

  10. I agree with most of what you said. If Vivas can improve offensively his defense makes him a solid option. But he's not a star-type of player. For a program at Fresno State's level, all the starters should have star potential.

    At catcher, I think you're right on about everything except for saying Johnson's bat is average. His power is definitely above average and I think with a full season he's got potential to hit .280-.300 with 12-15 home runs. I think he can be better than LoNigro.

  11. Well, what I meant about Johnson's bat is he hasn't shown consistent power. But then he really hasn't gotten that many consistent opps either. So, ya I'll give you he has power. We just don't know if he can also hit for average in a regular starting role. Not saying he can't, just hasn't been given the chance.

    My overall point was we really don't have the proto-typical catcher: great defense & receiver; strong arm; and power hitter that's got good BA with ducks on the pond. No one on the current roster is projectable into that description.

    Pitching wise. I'm good with Benny and Morse as starters. I think the other two weekend starts are an open competition in the fall with no obvious locks right now. Escat made big improvements late in the season. Can he carry that into next year or was it a blip? Poytress has great stuff but was inconsistent all season. He has a great upside and great movement on his ball. Can he come back next year with better control over that movement? Bischoff? Still seems best suited to a relief role. Bones? If he returns with good control of his offspeed stuff he'll be right back in the mix. No question he has one of the best fastballs on the team. He just couldn't set it up with his offspeed consistently. If he can fix that one thing over the summer there's a lot to like.

  12. Ya know, regarding Gene Escat, I'd really like to see him step it up another level and become a go-to closer. He's got the fastball to do it, just needs to find that consistency. I agree with you totally he showed marked improvement down the stretch this season.

  13. Time for an update.

    I'm still good on the previously mentioned outfield and mid-infield positions. Corners still a wide open competition based on who has the hottest bat.

    Pitching wise still expect Benny and Morse to be default #1 and #2 starters until proven otherwise. Bonesteele had a huge summer and could claw his way back in the rotation next year. He must have figured something out because you don't get excellent S/B ratio, K/BB ratio, and WHIP numbers like that without absolutely pounding the strikezone. Escat did pretty well over the summer, started out very hot early, struggled a little at the end. Almost like he began to tire in a starter role. Maybe Escat becomes the closer? Kendall had a great summer, another possible starter or long reliever. Bischoff likely to return as a reliever. Don't know if we'll see Garrison or Poytress on the mound this year. Have to see how their rehab goes. Even if they make it back they'll be rough.

  14. A lot of the returners had a rough time during the summer, several others did not go due to grades or unspecified reasons, hope they get it together as well as the unproven players we brought in this year!

    Allgrove, Hom and Rohm did well with the bat but they are now gone!


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