GOLDEN SPIKES AWARD NEWS

GSA_Trophy

USA Baseball to Forgo Presenting 2020 Golden Spikes Award

The 43rd winner of the Golden Spikes Award will be named following the 2021 season
April 11, 2020
CARY, N.C. -- USA Baseball announced today it will not name a Golden Spikes Award winner for the 2020 baseball season after athletic programs across the country were shut down early due to the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. The organization will resume the identification and selection process for the award
CARY, N.C. -- USA Baseball announced today it will not name a Golden Spikes Award winner for the 2020 baseball season after athletic programs across the country were shut down early due to the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. The organization will resume the identification and selection process for the award in the 2021 season.
2020 would have marked the 43rd consecutive year USA Baseball has honored the top amateur baseball player in the United States, beginning with the inaugural winner, Bob Horner (Arizona State), in 1978.
"USA Baseball will forgo naming a Golden Spikes Award winner for the 2020 season amid the ongoing effects surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the game of baseball this season," said USA Baseball Executive Director and CEO Paul Seiler. "We applaud the successes earned by the countless amateur athletes vying for this award prior to the suspension of their seasons; however, we feel this decision fortifies our commitment to uphold the longstanding tradition of excellence associated with this prestigious award and aptly honors the accomplishments of the previous forty-two recipients of the Golden Spikes Award."
Over the past 42 years, Golden Spikes Award winners have gone on to have tremendous success in Major League Baseball. Three Golden Spikes Award winners have won MLB MVP honors (Kris Bryant, Bryce Harper and Buster Posey), two were awarded a Cy Young (Tim Lincecum and David Price) and five were named the Rookie of the Year (Bryant, Harper, Horner, Jason Jennings and Posey).
Additionally, 11 have gone on to win a World Series championship as a player or manager¬-winning 17 total championships-and 18 previous winners have made one more All-Star Game appearances as a player or manager, combining for 56 total selections.
The Golden Spikes Award will resume in 2021 with the naming of its preseason watch list in February. For more information on the Golden Spikes Award and its past winners, visit GoldenSpikesAward.com and follow @USAGoldenSpikes on Instagram and Twitter.
View More
Leiter_GSASpot_Article

GSA Spotlight: Vandy’s Leiter Proving To Be One Of A Kind

April 9, 2021
Just a few starts into his second-year freshman campaign, Vanderbilt righthander Jack Leiter is already the premier starting pitcher in college baseball. Leiter, a 6-foot-1, 205-pounder, put together a fine freshman campaign before the 2020 season came to an end. He tallied a 1.92 ERA in 15.2 innings of work,

Just a few starts into his second-year freshman campaign, Vanderbilt righthander Jack Leiter is already the premier starting pitcher in college baseball.

Leiter, a 6-foot-1, 205-pounder, put together a fine freshman campaign before the 2020 season came to an end. He tallied a 1.92 ERA in 15.2 innings of work, along with 22 strikeouts and eight walks. Teams hit him at a .098 clip. He did not make an SEC start.

Coming into this season, we were sky high on Leiter’s overall stuff and his potential. But there were some naysayers out there. They said let’s tap the brakes until Leiter actually goes head-to-head with one of the premier lineups in the Southeastern Conference.

Well, Leiter rose to the occasion and showed unbridled potential in his first-ever SEC start against South Carolina. He made history. He struck out 16 batters in the complete game performance. And the only thing separating him from a no-hitter and a perfect game? A walk to the leadoff hitter in the first inning. It was that close.

Leiter did not slow down after the South Carolina start. If anything, his dominance continued at the same rate. A week later at Missouri, he struck out 10, walked two and once again didn’t allow a hit in seven innings of work. For anyone who watched the game, was there any doubt that he would’ve thrown a second straight no-hitter had Vandy head coach Tim Corbin not done the responsible thing and taken him out of the game after 101 pitches?


 The Leit Show hit the road last weekend to Baton Rouge to face an LSU team with its back against the wall. And perhaps no single inning could encapsulate Leiter’s maturity, demeanor and overall stuff better than his first inning against LSU.

Riding a 16-inning no-hit streak in SEC play entering the game against LSU, the Tigers appeared to have Leiter potentially on the ropes in the first inning. The righty struck out talented LSU freshman Tre Morgan on a 97 mph heater to start the game, but the second hitter reached base via an error and they loaded the bases after a pair of walks.

Leiter went to work. He struck out Cade Doughty on a filthy slider for the second out, and he escaped the jam by striking out Cade Beloso on a 95 mph heater. There was no celebration or fist pumping. Leiter casually walked off the field like a true professional. After all, he expected that result. His no-hit streak reached 20 innings in that game before LSU finally got a hit to leadoff the fifth inning.

He’s that good, and his overall numbers just reinforce that feeling. For the season, Leiter has a 0.43 ERA in 42 innings, along with 71 strikeouts and 16 walks. Teams are hitting him at a ridiculously low .074 clip. His marks in the strikeout and OBA categories rank No. 1 in Division I Baseball.

“I think that’s where he kind of separates himself among a lot of people — just the maturity he has in everything that he does,” Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin said. “Whether it’s in the actual classroom, or our classroom, he’s always locked in. He’s not one of those guys you ever see yawning — he’s always upright and he’s always on every word that you’re saying.

“He’s a Dean’s List type of student. You go into his locker and everything is very, very detailed,” he added. “He’s got a mental organization and maturity. I think that has a lot to do with the fact he grew up with three sisters, is a good brother and has a very intelligent mom with a great disposition about her. And they’ve certainly lived the baseball life with his dad.

“He’s just very settled into what he’s doing out there,” he added. “He’s got a very good routine and he’s just very organized when he gets to the ballpark. Jack is a baseball player first, then a pitcher. And I think Al [Leiter] should take some credit for that. He taught his kid how to pitch before he taught his kid how to throw. There’s definitely an aptitude for pitching that supersedes arm strength.”

Corbin recalled when the Commodores were recruiting Leiter early in his high school career. Though Leiter will comfortably sit in the 93-96 and up to 97 mph range with his fastball these days, that wasn’t always the case. He vividly remembers Jack having such incredible poise and command, but also sitting in the upper-80s with his fastball at times in high school career. 

“When we committed him in high school, he definitely wasn’t some ultra-high velocity guy,” He threw really, really well, but he wasn’t then what he is today. I’m not saying we made him throw hard at all, but we committed him on his instincts, maturity and projection.”

His dad, Al Leiter, also reflected on some old high school memories where his son just seemed to have ‘it’ while on the mound.

He recalled a moment when Jack was taking part in USA Baseball’s Tournament of Stars. Leiter was going against guys like Riley Greene, Bobby Witt and some others. And he more than held his own and made the team. Later that summer, Jack got the ball against Panama in the Pan Am Games with a crowd — as you might expect — that was boisterous and certainly home-team heavy.

Leiter dealt. He held his own yet again. He showed maturity beyond his years, just as he has with the Commodores through seven starts this spring.

“I kind of saw that early on with Jack — just his overall temperament,” Al Leiter said. “He’s facing guys like Witt and Greene, and then when they go down to the Pan Am games, they determined he was the one who was going to pitch in the Gold Medal game against host Panama. The crowd was crazy as can be, and he absolutely nailed it. They played really well, and just watching him, he was calm and cool. He’s got that cool presence about him with some strong inner aggression.

“The temperament has always been there with Jack. He’s much calmer and cooler than I was. I was a hair on fire get mad type of pitcher, and I was a little crazy out there at times. That probably played against me at times. For Jack, the mental part was there, it was all about just staying sound mechanically. He was always pretty sound, but in this sport, you’re always tweaking and trying to clean some things up. It was always interesting to think about how much bigger and stronger he’d get, because that would equate to velocity.”

Jack Leiter might already be the total package, but staying humble is in his DNA. 


Al Leiter will never forget a moment he experienced early in his career during a stint with the New York Yankees.

He was a younger pitcher who was still enamored with the idea of playing with guys like Don Mattingly. But one day, Leiter was walking around the field before a game and noticed that Mattingly looked frustrated and bummed out. Sure, Mattingly wasn’t playing up to his personal standards at the time, but at the end of the day, Leiter said he just thought to himself ‘That’s Donny freakin’ Baseball, how could he possibly be bummed out?’. Leiter said he looked at Mattingly all confused as to how he could be so disappointed.

Mattingly’s response not only stayed with Al for the remainder of his successful big league career, but also has been carried down to Jack, his son.

“I learned something very early when I got into the big league,” Al Leiter said. “Don Mattingly had been struggling, and I was a young, goofy lefthanded pitcher at the time. I was kind of looking at him one day like why are you bummed, you’re Donny Baseball … he was just staring at his bat 45 minutes before a game.

“I couldn’t believe he was so bummed out, but at the end of the day, his level of play was not up to his standards. And he looked back at me — and I’ll never forget it — and said ‘Don’t ever forget that as good as the good is — the bad is never far behind’.

“That was the way the great players never got caught up in the ebbs and flows of the game of baseball. Never get too high or too low. Be consistent with your thoughts and behavior. While you’re experiencing success, you’re getting the job done and the results are great, you might have a day to enjoy it. You have to be ready for the next game. Even when I talk to guys in the big leagues right now, I let them know that pitching was not easy. I mean, I’ve stunk. I had a year in my career with an ERA over five. It’s not easy. It’s just how you keep plugging along that defines you. This game will constantly nip you if you go out each week and think you’re all that.”

Humble, but also meaning business, is the name of the game for Jack Leiter.

He’s anything but an ‘in your face’ kind of pitcher, but he sets the tone from the start. Leiter wastes little time getting out to the mound between innings, and once on the mound, he’s the enforcer. If a hitter steps out of the box, he doesn’t take strolls around the mound. He stays on the mound, glove over his mouth and nose and is dialed into Vanderbilt catcher CJ Rodriguez.


On the mound, Leiter attacks hitters with quite an impressive arsenal. His fastball sat anywhere from 93-96 mph and up to 97 mph with almost immaculate command against LSU last weekend, while he had a great deal of success throwing the 83-86 mph slider to his glove side. Leiter did a particularly impressive job of locating that offering on the outside part of the plate against righthanded hitters. His changeup will range anywhere from 85-88 mph, and the deep breaking curveball was 78-80 mph. Leiter’s primary secondary offering in high school was the curveball, while the slider has typically been his go-to secondary offering while pitching for the Commodores. Leiter also showed what appeared to be a cutter against LSU, but it apparently is a slider with a little more velocity to it. It’s unintentional. From a command standpoint, Leiter is much more advanced than a normal college pitcher. Most of his misses are barely misses, and are easily corrected a pitch or two later. His ability to make adjustments on the fly is what also sets him apart from other, even premier arms, in our sport.

“As his parent, I’m so thrilled and proud of what he’s doing right now. I’m proud as hell,” Al Leiter said. “I always watch games. But I’m always looking at his outings in a different way than most. I’m looking at it as an analyst. I do enjoy watching what he’s doing — it’s pretty amazing. But I always watch Jack am thinking, OK, what can he do to get better, and how can he execute various things a little better. With that said, the attention he is getting right now is very well deserved. He’s done a terrific job.

“With Jack, as with any pitcher, I’m really looking at a few things. Like, are you able to execute a quality pitch? Do you have two secondary pitches that you can expand appropriately? Do you know which hitters are hot, and who’s not? You know things like that. I always tell him and other pitchers to continue working on command, and to find the glove, and repeat it. In high school, his pitch was his curveball — almost a 12-6 curve — the consistency of that pitch needed to be tighter. The slider I really like, but it gets a little cutterish. I thought he threw some good changeups up at Oklahoma State, but it’s just kind of a pitch that I feel like he uses when it’s necessary.

“I thought his curveball was better than his slider in Baton Rouge last week. The quandary with breaking balls is always this — I always made sure that I had two distinct grips on my slider and curveball, respectively. My slider/cutter always crossed two seams, whereas I went with the horseshoe on the ball with the curveball. You don’t want either one to morph into the other.

“There are all stepping stones and learning experiences as you move forward in your baseball life,” he concluded. “When you play in meaningful baseball games, they all collect, and then you just have to go out there and do it. You have to experience it, and then do it without consequence. There are a lot of really good arms out there, but it’s all about how it transcends to the point when it counts the most.”


Jack Leiter is a unique starting pitcher who draws a myriad of comparisons when it comes to former, successful big league arms.

He’s much different than his cohort in crime at Vanderbilt — fellow righthanded pitcher Kumar Rocker. While Rocker has an imposing 6-foot-5, 245-pound frame, Leiter isn’t physically imposing. He’s 6-foot-1, 205 pounds, and the 6-foot-1 might be a little generous. But he does have an athletic build with strong legs.

So, who is the best comp for Jack Leiter?

The first pitcher that comes to mind is former standout righthanded pitcher David Cone. Cone, as with Leiter, didn’t have height as an advantage — he was just 6-foot tall. He also was lighter than Leiter is — he was 180 pounds, whereas Leiter is 205 pounds. But the two have similar deliveries and approaches. Both pitchers have a quick, low angle, release that allows their fastballs to explode on hitters.

“I love David — he’s a good friend of mine and we worked together at the YES Network. They’re very, very similar,” Al Leiter said. “Coney eventually used. his split finger more as he got older and he had a variety of arm angles. Jack is a little taller than Cone, but I like that comp. I think that’s a pretty fair comp.”

Other pitchers scouts have compared to Leiter include former Astros star righthanded pitcher Roy Oswalt, former star and current Auburn pitching coach Tim Hudson and former Vanderbilt star righthanded pitcher Sonny Gray.

“I do certainly see some similarities with Sonny Gray, especially in terms of stature,” Corbin said. “Jack is one of those pitchers where I’m not sure there are a lot of guys to compare him to. I see some Tom Seaver in him with his size and sturdiness, but the delivery isn’t Seaver. Jack just has such great extension and leverage. 

“You just think about those guys who had swing and miss fastballs, you’re talking about guys like Roger Clemens, Curt Schilling and so on,” he added. “Jack’s ball really explodes at the plate and that allows his fastball to really play up. It plays up because he has great extension to the plate.”

Leiter will have his chance to write his own story at the big league level, probably sooner rather than later. But for now, he continues on as arguably college baseball’s premier arm, and as a pitcher who hopes to lead Vanderbilt to its third national championship in a couple of months.

We’re not surprised to see Leiter having a wealth of success. But to be this dominant so fast? He’s truly one of a kind.

But as always the case in the Leiter household, he must stay humble. The rest will take care of itself.

D1Baseball.com is your online home for college baseball scores, schedules, standings, statistics, analysis, features, podcasts and prospect coverage.
View More
GSA_Article_0401

GSA Spotlight: Indiana State’s Guerrero A Grand Surprise

April 2, 2021
If you had given a note pad to Indiana State head coach Mitch Hannahs in the fall and asked him to list five breakout candidates, there’s a decent chance that redshirt senior Geremy Guerrero doesn’t make that list. That’s certainly no disrespect to Guerrero. But in the first four years

If you had given a note pad to Indiana State head coach Mitch Hannahs in the fall and asked him to list five breakout candidates, there’s a decent chance that redshirt senior Geremy Guerrero doesn’t make that list.

That’s certainly no disrespect to Guerrero. But in the first four years of his career, he had tallied unimpressive earned-run averages, and had failed to be a front-line arm for the Sycamores.

But that was then. And now, Guerrero, much to everyone’s surprise, has transformed not only from the bullpen to the starting rotation so far during this 2021 season, but he’s also become one of the nation’s best and most productive pitchers.

He’s a slam-dunk to be on the Midseason Golden Spikes Award watch list, and it’s all because of incredibly hard work and dedication to his craft.

“I might be the dumbest guy alive if we didn’t have him starting right now,” Indiana State coach Mitch Hannahs laughed about. “When we didn’t have Tristan Weaver the first weekend of the season, we were still trying to figure out who we were going to start, and Geremy was one of the guys on the list. He was the guy that our assistant, Pascal Paul, wanted to start the year with. He really thought he would throw strikes and show a lot of poise.

“I could’ve easily started the season with Geremy in the pen, but credit to him, we didn’t do that,” he added. “He’s really improved his game, and he’s had a willingness to make adjustments. to be honest, I don’t think any of us saw this kind of year coming from Geremy. He better in the fall and there was a noticeable improvement. But now, it’s like … boom.”

Credit to Hannahs and the Sycamores coaching staff, they have not shied away from competition during this difficult COVID season. They opened the season against upstart Pittsburgh. And though they lost two out of three to the Pirates, Guerrero, a 6-foot, 240-pounder, was outstanding against Mike Bell’s club, striking out six in 5.1 shutout innings.

Little did Hannahs and ISU know at the time that it would become a precursor to what has been a special season thus far for the redshirt senior.

“He’s always been a guy with great poise, and we kind of used him out of the bullpen in the past,” Hannahs said. “He’s always been a strike thrower, but he got with our pitching coach and decided to reshape his pitches back in the fall.”

Guerrero had recorded some starts in his ISU career, but his overall numbers weren’t conducive to success. He made just one appearance in 2017, tallied 16 appearances and five starts in 2018 and had a 4.45 ERA in 30.1 innings, along with 27 strikeouts and 10 walks. Then, in 2019, he tallied a 6.42 ERA in 33.2 innings, along with a low walk total, but a high .277 OBA, before tallying a 10.13 ERA in just three appearances during the cancelled COVID season.

With his eligibility essentially over after last season, Guerrero and plenty of other veterans were tossed a lifeline by the NCAA with its ruling that no one would lose their year of eligibility as a result of the shortened season.

Like many other older players, Guerrero decided to use that extra year, and he trained in the long summer months to come back stronger than ever. That work has paid off in a big way this spring.

“It’s not every often you see a guy decide to come back for his redshirt senior year. I don’t think you see that much anymore,” Hannahs said. “He’s very, very rare, he’s always eager to learn and try to improve, and I think it says a lot about him that he was willing to return and continue to work his tail off.

“From the minute he got back, he’s worked very, very hard, and I’m so happy for him,” he continued. “You don’t get to see this a lot in coaching — where kids kind of come from nowhere to this. He had no idea what he was coming back to this fall and the spring. He could’ve easily been stuck back in the bullpen yet again. But he got locked in, and here we are.

“You’re seeing a lot of pretty competitive older players this season after they were given another year,” he added. “I think there are several kids around college baseball like Geremy who felt they had something to prove this season.”

In five starts so far this spring, Guerrero has a 1.14 ERA in 31.2 innings of work, along with 44 strikeouts and six walks, while teams are hitting him at a ridiculously low .157 clip.

So, how has this unexpected transformation come about?

It’s been a combination of pitching coach Pascal Paul’s teaching and Guerrero’s willingness to change his game.

For starters, Guerrero has tweaked and improved his upper-70s changeup. The coaches worked with the talented lefthander to try to get him to put the changeup on the same arm slot and path as the fastball. They wanted to pitch to replicate his fastball from a slot standpoint.

Second, the Sycamores added an upper-70s cutter to his arsenal. It’s a pitch he hadn’t thrown before the past fall. In addition to the cutter, Guerrero also worked diligently at tightening up his upper-70s breaking ball, while also continuing to pound the zone with his fastball.

“Pascal really went to work with him, and credit them both. Sometimes when you’re a junior or senior like that, you’re not as willing to change things. But Geremy was,” he said. “The big thing with Geremy is that he goes out there each start, and teams know that he’s going to throw three or four solid pitches for strikes.”

Guerrero’s fastball isn’t overwhelming, but he has immaculate command of the offering. His fastball will sit in the 86-88 range, and Hannahs said it will get up to 89-90 mph on occasion. His ability to have feel of the zone and command his offerings is what sets him apart from some other arms around the country. And according to Hannahs, he’s certainly no spin-rate darling.

“The most underrated thing in our game is just having the ability to go out there and have feel for the zone — know the hot zones and have the ability to really pitch,” he said. “If he’s got a down zone, he’ll live with it. He’s fine stretching the plate, too, and he understands each time out what he’s going to get from the umpire. He’s certainly not at the top end of your spin rate charts. But he’s just really managed to keep hitters off balance this season. He can pitch backwards — he will hit you with some off speed pitches in fastball accounts, and vice versa. He just has hitters on their heels.”

We said coming into the season that this spring would be filled with surprises, both from a player and team standpoint. And Guerrero and Indiana State have met both qualifications. Guerrero is having an amazing season and the Sycamores are currently sixth in the latest RPI ratings.

Perhaps Hannahs didn’t expect all of this way back in the fall. But, boy, is he enjoying it now.

And the fun part? We’ve got a long way to go.

D1Baseball.com is your online home for college baseball scores, schedules, standings, statistics, analysis, features, podcasts and prospect coverage.
View More
GSARabbe

GSA: Minnesota’s Zack Raabe Living The Dream With Gophers

March 26, 2021
Minnesota second baseman Zack Raabe has more than proven time and time again that baseball is alive and well in the North Star State. His 31 base hits led the nation a year ago before the season came to an abrupt stop, and he’s slashing .484/.600/1.032 this year through 10

Minnesota second baseman Zack Raabe has more than proven time and time again that baseball is alive and well in the North Star State. His 31 base hits led the nation a year ago before the season came to an abrupt stop, and he’s slashing .484/.600/1.032 this year through 10 games.

You may notice the inflated slugging number, and that 1.032 isn’t a typo. It’s also not by accident, but we’ll get to that shortly.

Raabe’s father, Brian, also played under legendary head coach John Anderson at the University of Minnesota, doing so from 1987-1990. That’s about 10 years into 14’s career as opposed to Zack, who is with Anderson during his 40th year at the helm of the program. Brian was named an All-American in 1990 and was drafted in the 41st round by his hometown Twins that year. He spent parts of three seasons in the big leagues with the Twins, Mariners and Rockies and currently serves as the head coach at Bethel University at the NCAA Division III level.

So, while Zack is a native of Forest Lake, Minn., Raabe didn’t just go to Minnesota because that’s where he grew up. He was born to be a Gopher.

“It’s an absolute dream come true – it really did come true coming to Minnesota,” Raabe said. “Ever since I was a little kid, I was a die-hard Gopher fan. We had season tickets to go to Gopher games: hockey, football, baseball – we’d go to all of them. I grew up in Minnesota and I’ve always loved Minnesota. Right when I got offered, this was the place I wanted to go.”

“I wouldn’t want to play for anyone else,” Raabe added about playing for head coach John Anderson, affectionately referred to as ‘14’. “Being here and being around him is a dream come true.”

Once a player attributed to hit the ball where it’s pitched – which always seems like a nice thing to say but isn’t always perceived to be a compliment – the 5-foot-10, 180-pound Raabe has spent a lot of time in the batting cage, and the weight room, looking to improve his craft knowing it’s a never-ending process. With that has come added power, as his eight extra-base hits (three doubles, four homers and a triple) in 10 games this year equal the eight (seven doubles and a homer) he hit in 17 games in 2020.

Time, after all, is the one thing baseball players were afforded more of during the pandemic.

“I work with my dad and [assistant coach Packy] Casey a lot,” Raabe said. “Pack Casey is one of the best in the business, I have nothing but good things to say about him. He knows what he’s doing, a hard worker. He studies a lot and helps all of us in ways that I can’t even imagine – they’re over my head. He’s such a good teacher on the mental side of hitting.

“The big thing he worked on with me, and our guys, is the thought process in the box, your approach at the plate, nitpicking that stuff to get the real hitting experience, the real D-I experience because that’s the difference between high school and D-I in my opinion, the mental side.

“I’ve been working a lot with him on my eyes, tracking the baseball all the way in. If you can’t see it, you can’t hit it. He works on that aspect more than any other coach. And same with my dad, we work on tracking the ball and harnessing my mental side of hitting.”

Add in Raabe’s diligent work in the weight room with strength coach Scott McWilliams and you have a physically fit player determined to add power to his already polished hit tool. Just look at the year-by-year triple slash progression to get a sense for how he has improved.

2019: .271/.337/.316

2020: .463/.526/.612

2021: .484/.600/1.032

The power isn’t a fluke. It’s not like he’s hit a stretch in which he’s just seeing the ball better and yanking line drives down the line that clear the fence. He’s driving the ball with authority, more consistently. In fact, his triple this year was mis-called by the umpiring crew after the ball bounced back into the field of play at U.S. Bank Stadium after clearing the fence. Meaning, he should have five dingers right now instead of the four that show up on his profile page.

In that same series, he hit two doubles – one that he launched over the center fielder’s head and just missed clearing the fence – and a home run that couldn’t be mis-called. And in adding power to his swing, he hasn’t lost his approach and has actually become more selective at the plate as evidenced by nine walks and only two strikeouts in those 10 games played.

For as good of a hitter as he is, when you ask Raabe about his goals he doesn’t talk about his numbers, base hits or the draft coming up in June. In fact, he actively avoids those questions until you find a way to ask so he can’t avoid it. He does, however, quickly point out the different things he can do to help his team win.

“That’s Zack. He’s a team-first guy,” Brian Raabe said about his son. “His main goal – and he truly means this – he wants to win first, more than anything else. That’s a big deal to him, it always has been. … He realizes that if he does well that’s great, that probably means the team is doing well. But if he’s not, and if it’s not his day – you know how baseball goes – if he can help in any other way [like] on defense or with his hustle or enthusiasm, then that’s what he’s going to do and bring to the table.”

Brian Raabe’s profile was very similar to his son’s. They’re both righthanded hitting second basemen with smaller statures that really know how to hit. And the elder Raabe is quick to point out that size doesn’t necessarily limit a player’s physical capabilities, mentioning the success of proven big leaguers including Jose Altuve and Dustin Pedroia.

“He’s so technically sound. It’s his swing mechanics, that is why he can do it,” Brian Raabe added. “There’s a lot of players that are a smaller stature but can flat-out hit and hit with pop. Zack’s no different. If you try to throw him away, he can hit a double to right, no problem. You throw him in and he [can drive it] to left-center. Because of that he provides a lot of problems for a pitching staff. They don’t know where to throw him, now they’re trying to trick him, and if they leave a hanging breaking ball up in the zone, he’s going to kill it.”

“I kind of chuckle every time I hear that question because it’s the biggest advantage anyone could have,” Zack Raabe said in response to working with his father. “I’d be lying if I said that I got here on my own. That’s not the case. Obviously, I’ve put the work in and all of that, but my dad has been here every single step of the way. Ever since I was a kid, he was the first person that wanted to go outside to throw whiffle balls to me, play catch with me.”

Raabe points out there have been a lot of people along the way that have helped guide him, including his father, his grandfather, Coach Anderson and the rest of the Minnesota coaching staff. It should also be noted that the family has a close connection to the family of Matt Wallner, another product of Lake Forest, Minn., who opted to play college baseball at Southern Miss.

Wallner returned home, so to speak, in June of 2019 when the Minnesota Twins selected him with the 39th overall pick of the draft.

While Wallner and Raabe are completely different athletes and hitters – Wallner is a 6-foot-5, 220-pound lefthanded slugger that you can’t miss when he takes the field – Raabe values being able to the mind of a close friend, someone that has had a taste, with success, of college baseball and more.

But Raabe isn’t one to look ahead. He clearly is grounded and focused on the present and genuinely is intent on helping his team win. With a 3-8 start to the 2021 season that part has been easier said than done. Work still needs to be done, however, as Raabe and other upperclassmen are focused on helping the first-year players find their way both on and off the field and getting through the rough patches together.

The rest will take care of itself.

“I’m not worried about the draft,” Raabe said. “I’m here to play college baseball. That’s my main focus. That’s my only focus. I just want to win games, I’m a big team guy, I’ve always been that way. I want everyone around me to have success, not just me.”

D1Baseball.com is your online home for college baseball scores, schedules, standings, statistics, analysis, features, podcasts and prospect coverage.
View More
Chavers_Article

GSA Spotlight: Healthy Chavers Does It All For Coastal

March 19, 2021
It's been two years since the college baseball world has experienced the joys of watching this Parker Chavers — the fully healthy, unencumbered Chavers who is one of the most exciting players in the country. As a freshman All-American for Coastal Carolina in 2018, Chavers did it all, hitting for average and

It's been two years since the college baseball world has experienced the joys of watching this Parker Chavers — the fully healthy, unencumbered Chavers who is one of the most exciting players in the country. As a freshman All-American for Coastal Carolina in 2018, Chavers did it all, hitting for average and power, stealing some bases, and playing great defense in center field. Then four weeks into his sophomore season in 2019, a freak accident altered the path of his career. Chavers was returning to the dugout at T-Mobile Park in Seattle after a loss to San Diego, and he stumbled on the dugout steps, catching himself with his right arm in an awkward way, causing his shoulder to pop out of joint. It turned out, the episode also caused a tear in his labrum, which had already been surgically repaired in 2014 as a result of a high school pitching injury.

The Chanticleers prepared to be without Chavers for most of that season, but he returned quicker than expected and served as the team’s DH while attempting to rehab his shoulder. Remarkably, Chavers managed to put up even louder numbers despite playing through the injury, finishing that 2019 season by hitting .316/.435/.612 with 15 homers and 10 steals in 57 games.

Chavers went to the Cape Cod League that summer and continued to play through the injury while trying to rehab, and he threw the ball well when he returned to campus that fall. But the pain kept flaring up, and eventually he faced the reality that he needed surgery at the end of the fall heading into his junior season — his draft year. He never saw the field in 2020 before the season was canceled, and he went unselected in the shortened five-round draft.

“I had to have my labrum repaired in two different spots. They disconnected my bicep and then reattached it so it wouldn’t continue to pull on the labrum — pretty extensive surgery,” Chavers said. “No one ever wants to get hurt, and for me, the way it happened was a bummer, a freak accident, something not even really baseball related. It’s kind of easy to ask, ‘Why’d that have to happen, why me?’ And then to have surgery going into your junior draft year, something you worked so hard for since you were a freshman, it was disappointing. I was super-bummed to have surgery going into last year, and then obviously everything got canceled and it was hard for everyone. I just wanted to come back and prove how healthy I was and how good I could still be.

"Obviously the timing was unfortunate, but now I feel better than I have in probably two years, as far as being healthy. If you would have told me last December that I’d come out of surgery and feel this good right now, I don’t know that I would have believed you.”

It was clear in the fall that Chavers was back to his old self. After catching an intrasquad in November, I wrote: A quick-twitch 5-foot-11, 190-pound lefthanded hitter who coils and explodes, Chavers was a hard contact machine this fall, and I saw him hit three balls that came off the bat at 104 mph or harder, highlighted by a towering solo homer to right on a 93 mph fastball that exited at 106 mph.

Through 15 games this spring, Chavers’ home run power hasn’t really shown up yet — he has gone deep just once through 61 at-bats. But even without the long balls, he’s still providing serious value in a whole bunch of different ways, hitting .344/.453/.557 with six doubles, two triples 14 RBIs and five steals in five tries. 

“He made some swing adjustments over the break and has had to go back and figure some things back out,” Coastal Carolina coach Gary Gilmore said. “He’s missed probably five or six balls where, a quarter of an inch on the bat difference and all of them are home runs. He’s been so close, and I think he’s gonna hit his stride somewhere along the way where he catches back up with the home runs, I truly believe he’s going to. But the greatest testament to him is the amount of positive things he is doing for us offensively without hitting home runs. He is a tough bird to strike out, and I’ll tell you what man, any time he fungoes that thing around in the infield, it’s a challenge to throw the guy out. He really gets down the line — he’s getting down the line in 4-flat or under just about every time. That’s putting a lot of pressure on defenses.”

Chavers said two of his greatest points of emphasis heading into this season were to show better plate discipline and put his speed to use more often on the basepaths. He posted a 39-54 walk-strikeout mark as a freshman, then a 39-47 mark as a sophomore, but this year he has 10 walks against just seven strikeouts.

“Going through my first two seasons here and obviously that summer in the Cape, kind of the biggest thing I saw in me was, I had dynamic tools but it was the swing and miss, the inconsistency at times in the box,” Chavers said. “So this year I’m just trying to focus on being a pure hitter, show that I can do it all, cut down on my strikeouts, be as well rounded as possible. The other thing for me is using my legs a lot more. I think I’m very underrated in the speed department because I didn’t run a whole lot my first two years. But I’m trying to showcase what I can do on the basepaths and in center field with my defense.”

That’s the other big difference between this Chavers and the 2019 Chavers: now that he’s healthy, he’s back in center field, where he can provide so much more value than he could as a DH. As a prep in Alabama, Chavers was an undersized infielder (“I would say I was the smallest kid on my team growing up and still wasn’t physically mature in high school,” he said). He originally committed to play at East Tennessee State for Tony Skole, whose son played on Chavers’ travel ball team. 

But after Skole left for The Citadel, Chavers eventually got his release, and he said Coastal was looking for an infielder. Chavers was still flying under the radar as a prospect, particularly since an elbow injury his senior year resulted in UCL surgery that May. But a scout buddy of CCU pitching coach Drew Thomas passed along a tip that Chavers could really hit and had been overlooked in the recruiting process. Chavers said he made his first visit to Coastal in the third week of July after his senior year, and a few weeks later he was on campus for the start of school. He worked in the Coastal infield that fall, but with Cory Wood and Seth Lancaster back in the middle infield, it soon became clear that Chavers’ path to playing time would be in center.

“He thought he could be a shortstop, and we recruited him as one, but the throwing action and some of the things were going to be a real struggle to make him an adequate infielder,” Gilmore recalled. “It took one day watching him run around in center field to realize that’s where God meant for that boy to be.

“The bar here for center fielders is really high, and he definitely is as good as anybody that’s ever played here. You look at [David] Sappelt and Rico Noel and Billy Cook, there have been some of the better center fielders in the country that have played here, and he’s as good as all of them.”

When you put it all together — the defense, the speed, the lefthanded bat speed and the increasingly mature approach — Chavers ranks as one of the most dynamic players in college baseball. Gilmore knows how fortunate his club is to have a healthy Chavers back leading his Chanticleers as a fourth-year veteran.

“We don’t ever talk about it, I don’t ever mention it to him by any means — he has enough internal pressure on himself with the draft and the pressures of trying to be a high draft pick on top of being the straw that stirs the drink type of guy — but our success and failure over the course of the season will largely depend on how he’s able to play all year long,” Gilmore said. “If he has a career year, that will help cover up some of the issues and challenges we have in offensive areas as well as pitching areas. The kid’s an unbelievable player. If you asked me how he’s played the first 15 games, I’d tell you he’s played very good. Has he been great? No, but he’s been very good. You’d look at his numbers and say, ‘Coach, how is that not great?’ But he’s one of the best hitters and players that I’ve had the pleasure of coaching. There’s more upside to him than about anybody we’ve ever had. He’s an athletic Tommy La Stella — he’s a guy that’s got power but doesn’t strike out very much, and his athleticism is insane, it really is.”

D1Baseball.com is your online home for college baseball scores, schedules, standings, statistics, analysis, features, podcasts and prospect coverage.
View More
GSASpotlight_Madden

GSA Spotlight: Texas’ Madden Magnificent

March 11, 2021
If you wanted to know what kind of start Texas right-handed pitcher Ty Madden had against Houston on Friday night, one just needs to let Cougars head coach Todd Whitting do the talking. “That’s about as good of an outing as I’ve seen in a long, long time,” Whitting said.

If you wanted to know what kind of start Texas right-handed pitcher Ty Madden had against Houston on Friday night, one just needs to let Cougars head coach Todd Whitting do the talking.

“That’s about as good of an outing as I’ve seen in a long, long time,” Whitting said. “I was just watching him pitch, and he reminded me a little of watching Stephen Strasburg when he was at San Diego State with that fastball straight downhill. He was throwing that breaking ball effectively in and out of the zone all night, too.

“He just pounded the zone all night. You just have to tip your hat to him a little bit.”

In our first look at Madden this season Opening Weekend against Mississippi State, his performance certainly was not Strasburg-ian. He allowed four runs on four hits in four innings. And though the fastball was electric and up to 98 mph at times, the secondary stuff left something to be desired.

Perhaps that was kind of a wakeup call for the steady and supremely talented Longhorns righthander, because he’s been outstanding since that start against MSU.

Last weekend against BYU, Madden got back to business, striking out what used to be a career high 11 batters, while walking just one and allowing just one hit in seven innings.

He was really good in that start.

Somehow, he was even better against a better team in a complete game performance, 1-0 victory Friday night.

“I thought Ty Madden was incredible tonight,” Texas coach David Pierce said. “He pitched off his fastball and I thought he pitched with total conviction. He prepares year around for nights like this one. What a performance he put together for us.”

Madden, who retired the final seven batters he faced against the Cougars, dazzled scouts and fans alike in the ninth inning with a 1-2-3 frame that included a fastball — even over the 100-pitch mark — that touched 96-97 mph, with some radar guns even getting 98 mph on the offering.

It was a brilliant end to a masterpiece of a performance.

But the foundation for this type of start was set much earlier in the contest.

Madden knew he needed to pitch well early in this one. Houston lefthanded pitcher Robert Gasser was matching him with zeroes in the first few innings. Gasser, who surprised some in attendance with a fastball up to 94-95 mph — he sat in the 90-93 mph range later in the game — had some iffy command at times, but he was a hard-nosed lefthander who attacked the Longhorns offense with a fastball that was well located on the outside part of the plate to righthanded hitters, while he showed a slider at 81-82 mph, a changeup at 83-87 mph and a true 12-5 curveball at 76-78 mph later in the game. Every time Gasser needed to make a pitch to get out of a jam, he made it. And he put together a strong start, striking out five batters, walking two and allowing four hits in seven shutout innings.

“That’s two weeks in a row that Gasser was very good, and that’s why he’s pitching for us on Friday nights,” Whitting said. “He’s tough as nails and that fastball has great life working away from righthanded hitters. He pitched good enough to win, and we should win a bunch of games if he keeps pitching like that.”

He’ll also win a lot more games if he doesn’t have a guy like Madden manning the other team’s mound.

You knew Madden was in for a good night in the first inning.

Madden allowed a runner to reach base in the first. But he was poised and seem totally dialed in. He finished out the first inning with a pair of strikeouts and was showing pure gas with the fastball, getting up to 97-98 mph with the offering with a spin rate approaching 2740 at times.

Madden proceeded to retire eight-straight UH hitters from the first inning on. And in the fourth, even though the Cougars got the leadoff hitter on base, he avoided that frame with no damage and ended it with a strikeout. His fifth inning of work was his most impressive, as he struck out the side with an 86 mph changeup and a pair of fastballs at 95 and 97 mph, respectively.

Madden’s fastball has always been a weapon, and that was no different tonight. He attacks hitters with the offering at a tough downhill angle, and it’s especially difficult to hit when he has life on it like he did tonight. However, the biggest key for Madden versus his earlier start against Mississippi State was his ability to locate and show premium stuff with the secondary offerings, particularly the slider. Madden’s slider was very good against the Cougars, showing a spin rate around 2500-2700 at times. The breaking ball had two different shapes — one a bit more typical of a slider and another tighter in nature. Both were terrific offerings against the Cougars.

“The slider — that was the difference for him,” Whitting said about Madden’s start. “You think all right all you have to do is go out there and sit on the fastball, then he drops in that slider, and he threw it for a strike enough to where when he buried it in the dirt, we swung at it.

“I’ll tell you what, too, he elevates that fastball,” he added. “He can really command it and elevate the fastball, then he comes back with that slider buried in the dirt. It’s pretty tough.”

Overall, Madden finished the night with another career high in strikeouts with 14. He walked just two UH hitters and allowed two hits in the complete game performance, while also throwing 110 pitches — 79 of those pitches for strikes.

For the past year or so, everyone has always believed in Ty Madden’s fastball. Now, after two-straight outstanding performances, and tonight, showing a filthy slider, perhaps there are now almost as many believers in the secondary stuff for the premier righty.
It was indeed a masterpiece.

D1Baseball.com is your online home for college baseball scores, schedules, standings, statistics, analysis, features, podcasts and prospect coverage.
View More
Frelick_GSASpot

GSA Spotlight: Sal Frelick

March 4, 2021
It all started years ago, well before Sal Frelick and Cody Morissette and Mason Pelio and their classmates even showed up as freshmen at Boston College. Even as 16-year-olds, this group had a very specific vision. “I think my recruiting class, my junior year in high school, we actually named

It all started years ago, well before Sal Frelick and Cody Morissette and Mason Pelio and their classmates even showed up as freshmen at Boston College. Even as 16-year-olds, this group had a very specific vision.

“I think my recruiting class, my junior year in high school, we actually named our group chat ‘Omaha 2021.’ That’s always been our mentality,” said Frelick, now a third-year sophomore center fielder and a second-team preseason All-American. “I think when we set our goals so high, especially attainable ones, it’s just fun to try to chase them. We’re doing that one game at a time, but it’s always in the back of our head. Since I’ve been a freshman here, that’s just kind of been the switch we’ve seen in the culture here.”

Of course, every Division I baseball player dreams of Omaha, but this was a particularly bold ambition for a BC program that hadn’t reached the College World Series since 1967. When Frelick, Morissette, Pelio, Peter Burns and the other members of BC’s 2018 recruiting class first committed, BC was still playing at Shea Field, the worst facility in Power Five baseball, with a chain-link fence, a few rows of metal bleachers, and a playing surface that doubled as a parking lot for football games on fall Saturdays. Back then, the Brighton Field complex and the Pete Frates center were still just a dream. Aside from the Californian Pelio, this class was composed mostly of native New Englanders who could have left for warmer climates and better facilities and a richer college baseball tradition.

But Frelick (from Lexington, Mass.), Morissette (Exeter, N.H.), Burns (Reading, Mass.), Emmet Sheehan (Darien, Conn.) and Ramon Jimenez (Chicopee, Mass.) saw the potential of a BC program coming off a surprising 2016 run to super regionals. They believed in BC coach Mike Gambino’s vision and passion. They believed they could be a part of something special, and lead a New England college baseball team to Omaha for the first time in decades.

“I was such a big advocate for keeping local talent local. I wanted to play in New England because I was born and raised here,” Frelick said. “I think a lot of times, even when I was growing up in high school, kids older than me were going down south, out west to play college baseball. I was always like, ‘Man, we breed such good baseball talent here, let’s keep it local.’ I was so fired up, Cody Morissette, basically my whole recruiting class was roughly New England, with some Connecticut kids. I think it’s just a brand of baseball that we like to play. BC baseball offered that kind of grittiness, that fast-paced baseball that I love. I think it’s New England brand, so I was all for staying here.”

And Frelick epitomizes the New England brand, in so many ways. He became something of a folk hero during his prep days as a football, hockey and baseball star, earning the Massachusetts Gatorade Player of the Year award in football after throwing 52 touchdown passes as a senior. Whenever I tweet about Frelick, responses like this flood in from Boston-area media people and sports fans:

Frelick said he committed to play baseball at BC when he was a high school freshman, but by the time he was a junior he was getting serious interest from college football programs, who viewed him as a Julian Edelman-style playmaker out of the slot. He said he was actually committed to play football and baseball at BC “for maybe a week,” but then he took a step back and decided baseball is the sport he has the best chance to play the longest, so it made sense to concentrate on the diamond.

He injured his knee in his final game of summer ball before the fall of his freshman year at BC, resulting in the first of two knee surgeries in the span of less than a year. Being sidelined for fall ball was tough for him, but he rehabbed quickly and got himself ready to play when the season started in 2019. And Frelick hit the ground running, putting up a .367/.447/.513 line with four homers and 18 steals in 21 tries over the course of 39 exhilarating games.

And then he hurt his knee again chasing down a ball in center field, and he had surgery again in May to report partially torn cartilage. I remember chatting with him in the stands at the ACC tournament that year, with his leg propped up on the seat in front of him and his crutches by his side. He was friendly and gregarious as always, but he was struggling beneath the calm façade.

“I remember I was actually here in Durham watching the ACC tournament on crutches, and I was just biting my lip, I was so angry I couldn’t go out there and play,” Frelick said. “I think the first couple weeks after that second surgery were a really big mental toll on me. I was in a dark place, it was tough watching my team go out and compete and I couldn’t go out and help them in any way. And then as I got into the summer, I said, ‘All right, let’s really pick this thing up, let’s make sure we come out of this not just 100 percent but 150 percent, because we’re trying to get faster and stronger here, not just back to where you were.’ So I hit a really rigorous program that summer and came back to school that fall maintaining that program. I don’t think my body’s ever felt as good as it does now.”

Speed is such a huge part of Frelick’s game, so it was thrilling to see him showing top-of-the-charts speed this weekend at Duke, proving that the knee injuries are well behind him. On one “routine” ground ball to second base, he blazed up the line in 3.91 seconds from the left side, causing all the scouts in the stands to compare their stopwatches and make sure they had it right (everyone around me had him in the low 3.9s). The Duke second baseman had to rush that throw and still didn’t get it to first base in time. He beat out another grounder to second base later in the game (initially scored as a hit, then changed to an error that was clearly forced by Frelick’s speed), in addition to a pair of crisp line-drive singles to center and right. Last year, when Frelick hit .241 in the shortened season, he clearly wasn’t all the way back from that knee surgery. Now he’s back to being a 5-foot-9, 175-pound stick of dynamite.

“I mean, he wasn’t there last year. Guys were getting 4.2s down the line, but now he’s a consistent 3.8, 3.9 down the line,” Gambino said. “In some ways, you talk about what Trea Turner did, I remember telling our infielders when Trea was here \[at NC State\], ‘Every ground ball is basically a do or die. Like, every one you gotta go get and get rid of.’ And that’s what it feels like when Sal’s hitting.”

Frelick’s 80 speed on the 20-80 scale could be worth 50 or 100 points of batting average over the course of the season, and it has helped him hit .429/.484/.607 through six games this year. But he also drives the ball to all parts of the field, regularly squaring up hard line-drive contact. On Saturday, he hit a ball off the opposite-field Blue Monster so hard that even with his speed, he was held to a single. And he showed the ability to turn on the ball with authority in Sunday’s series finale, ripping a two-run homer to right in the seventh inning, effectively putting the game away and helping BC clinch the series.

“My freshman year, I felt like the biggest part of my game was putting the ball in play. I really wanted to develop into that collision-contact hitter, with some power,” Frelick said. “I don’t think it was ever a change in, ‘I gotta put on some weight, I gotta get stronger.’ It was just a change in my approach, saying, ‘Let’s drive some baseballs here, not just flick them the other way.’ I’ve known I’ve had it in me for a while now, but I think it’s starting to emerge, a little bit last year and now this year.”

With speed, power, baserunning acumen, premium range and superb instincts in center field, Frelick can change the game in so many different ways. There might not be a more exciting player to watch in all of college baseball. And his makeup is just as special as his athleticism. Frelick just has a very rare magnetism about him, on and off the field.

“He very rarely has a bad at-bat. And he also is that guy everybody just knows in a big spot, he’s gonna get it done. He just is. He’s just ‘that kid,’” Gambino said. “My wife was in a grocery store like six months ago and had a BC baseball sweatshirt on. And some kid was like, ‘Oh, do you know Sal Frelick?’ He just went to a neighboring high school. The other guys just call him, ‘That kid.’ Like, he’s just ‘that kid.’ And part of it is the complete confidence, but with complete humility; he’s that good of a kid. Everybody has a story about awesome stuff he’s done \[on the field or in the rink\], but everybody has a story about how good a kid he is too. It’s just that real.”

D1Baseball.com is your online home for college baseball scores, schedules, standings, statistics, analysis, features, podcasts and prospect coverage.
View More
GSA_Spotlight_Article

GSA Spotlight: Ole Miss’ Hoglund Forming Into Complete Pitcher

February 25, 2021
Ole Miss has won a school-record 18-straight games after Sunday’s 5-4 win over Texas Tech to improve to 2-0 at the State Farm College Showdown. And each step along the way of this winning streak, there has been at least one constant. That’s Gunnar Hoglund. Hoglund hasn’t had the easiest

Ole Miss has won a school-record 18-straight games after Sunday’s 5-4 win over Texas Tech to improve to 2-0 at the State Farm College Showdown. And each step along the way of this winning streak, there has been at least one constant.

That’s Gunnar Hoglund.

Hoglund hasn’t had the easiest path to success at Ole Miss. He drew a combination of praise and consternation coming out of high school after turning down the Pittsburgh Pirates as a first-round pick. When you’re a first-round pick and you choose the college route over the big bucks, expectations couldn’t possibly be higher.

So, to say Hoglund’s freshman campaign was a learning experience for the ultra-talented righthander would be quite an understatement. It was that and more. Hoglund earned 16 starts and appeared in 17 games for the Rebels as a freshman, tallying a 5.29 ERA in 68 innings. He struck out 53 and only walked 14, but teams hit him at a shockingly high .282 clip.

There was a reason for that.

As a high school prep star, Hoglund had a big-time fastball that climbed into the mid-90s on a consistent basis. He also had a curveball. But more often than not in high school, he could just blow that fastball past hitters and get away with it without having to rely much on his secondary stuff.

That changed in a variety of ways in his first year at Ole Miss. In addition to needing to shelve the curveball, his fastball velocity wasn’t what it was in high school. As a freshman, he was more 88-91 and up to 92 mph with the offering, while the 74-76 mph curveball wasn’t missing bats at an elite level.

Something had to change between the fall before the 2020 campaign, and that was ditching the curveball to focus primarily on the slider and changeup.

Hoglund was well on his way to showing his complete self before the ’20 campaign was shut down. He tallied a 1.16 ERA in 23.1 innings, while also striking out 37 and walked four. Most notably, teams were hitting him at just a .205 clip when the season came to a close.

But when the season was shuttered, some wondered if Hoglund would continue this spring where he left off last season.

That answer is a resounding yes.

Facing one of the nation’s premier offenses Sunday afternoon, Hoglund, who admittedly didn’t have his best slider after the first couple of innings, struck out 11, walked three and allowed just three runs on three hits in 5.1 innings of work.

“The biggest thing you didn’t see today was the dominant slider. The slider was a big reason why his strikeout numbers were so good last spring,” Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said. “He had a fastball, curveball and changeup as a freshman, and the curveball in high school. That works for him then. But he didn’t get swings and misses from those curveballs.

“I think he’s learned he doesn’t have to throw every pitch for a strike,” he added. “He can go out there and pitch more, and when you have super command like him, that’s what makes him special.

“There are guys out there that throw harder than him. There are guys out there that throw the slider harder than him, but he’s the whole package,” he added. “He has four pitches in the strike zone and really commands it well. To hit him, you really have to go out there and work. He was locating it in and out — against a pretty good offense.”

The 6-foot-4, 220-pound, was terrific in the first inning against the Red Raiders, going 1-2-3 with a pair of strikeouts — one on a 95 mph fastball and the other on a 96 mph heater. He allowed a two-run home run from Nate Rombach in the second inning and didn’t allow another run until Dylan Neuse greeted him with a solo home run to leadoff the sixth inning. He struck out Easton Murrell and was lifted for Austin Miller.

From a stuff standpoint, Hoglund has what you want from a frame standpoint, and has an easy, consistent, delivery. He was consistently 92-95 and up to 96 mph with the fastball early in the contest, while it was more 92-94 as the game progressed. He was 90-92 with the fastball in his final inning of work. He also threw some changeups at 83 mph, while the slider was effective at times at 83-87 mph — a couple of ticks higher from a velocity standpoint than last season.

“I thought he was pretty terrific against a very good offense,” Bianco said. “That’s a lineup that makes you work. It was not his best stuff today, but he had great command of the fastball and had velocity. Maybe after the first inning the slider was nonexistent, but he located the fastball well.

“Some of the things we tried to improve on — and credit him — is just trying to get more tilt on his fastball. I wanted more ride to his fastball, and we’re seeing that,” he added. “I’m not sure he’s throwing his fastball any harder than he did in high school, it’s just more consistent now.”

As for Hoglund, he credits a combination of technology and hard work for his continued improvements that have him a very safe bet to be a top two-round pick this summer.

“Using technology has been a big part of my improvement,” Hoglund said. “I was working on all my pitches — trying to get a complete arsenal. I can use any of my pitches in any count now.

“I can definitely tell a difference with my fastball,” he added. “If it’s at 88-90, someone can catch up to it, but when you’re pounding the zone at 92-95, you’re going to get some swings and misses.”

Ole Miss entered this season with high expectations, partly because of an expected rise by Hoglund.

More good days are certainly ahead for the Rebels, and for Hoglund, too.

D1Baseball.com is your online home for college baseball scores, schedules, standings, statistics, analysis, features, podcasts and prospect coverage.



View More
21GSA-PreSeason-WatchList-nophotoFBTwitter

2021 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award Preseason Watch List Announced

The 43rd Golden Spikes Award will be presented in July
February 18, 2021
CARY, N.C. ­– USA Baseball announced its 55-player preseason Golden Spikes Award watch list today, beginning the process of identifying the top amateur baseball player in the country for the 2021 season. The 43rd Golden Spikes Award will be presented in July. The 2021 preseason watch list features 55 of the

CARY, N.C. ­– USA Baseball announced its 55-player preseason Golden Spikes Award watch list today, beginning the process of identifying the top amateur baseball player in the country for the 2021 season. The 43rd Golden Spikes Award will be presented in July.

The 2021 preseason watch list features 55 of the nation’s top amateur players from high school and college baseball. The Golden Spikes Award Advisory Board will maintain a rolling list of players, allowing athletes to play themselves into consideration for the award throughout the season.

Headlining the 2021 watch list is top MLB Draft prospect Kumar Rocker (Vanderbilt), who is making his second consecutive appearance on the preseason watch list this year. Rocker is joined by seven other 2020 Golden Spikes Award preseason watch list members, including Alex Binelas (Louisville), Colton Cowser (Sam Houston), Adrian Del Castillo (Miami), Trenton Denholm (UC Irvine), Josh Elvir (Angelo State), Bobby Seymour (Wake Forest), and Ethan Wilson (South Alabama). Additionally, Kevin Abel (Oregon State) returns to the list in 2021 after being named to the 2019 Golden Spikes Award preseason watch list.

“We are thrilled to be bringing the Golden Spikes Award back this year and kicking off the 2021 amateur baseball season with the fifty-five-player preseason watch list,” said Paul Seiler, Executive Director/CEO of USA Baseball. “The athletes who make up this year’s initial watch list have an incredible amount of talent and we are looking forward to their return to the diamond so we can follow their journeys during what will undoubtedly be a highly competitive season.”

The 2021 Golden Spikes Award preseason watch list features five athletes that will look to become just the third player from a non-NCAA Division I school to win the award, following in the footsteps of Alex Fernandez (1990) and Bryce Harper (2010). Elvir returns to the preseason watch list for the second year in a row representing NCAA Division II, while Mo Hanley (Adrian) and Luis Vargas (Wayland Baptist) represent NCAA Division III and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletes (NAIA), respectively.

Jordan Lawlar (Dallas Jesuit High School) and Andrew Painter (Calvary Christian High School) are the only high school baseball players recognized by the advisory board for the 2021 preseason watch list. Lawlar and Painter are the first players from their respective schools to be named to the Golden Spikes Award preseason watch list.

Sixteen different collegiate athletic conferences are represented on the 2021 preseason watch list with eight of those conferences boasting multiple selections, including the American Athletic, Atlantic Coast, Big 12, Big Ten, Big West, Pac-12, Sun Belt and Southeastern Conferences.

Florida leads the list of schools represented with three players on the 2021 list, followed closely by Arkansas, Boston College, Louisville, Miami, Ole Miss, Tennessee, UCLA, Vanderbilt, Virginia, and Wake Forest, which all boast a pair of athletes.

Oregon State’s Adley Rutschman took home the prestigious award most recently in 2019, joining a group of recent winners that include Andrew Vaughn (2018), Brendan McKay (2017), Kyle Lewis (2016), Andrew Benintendi (2015), A.J. Reed (2014), Kris Bryant (2013), Mike Zunino (2012), Trevor Bauer (2011), Bryce Harper (2010), Stephen Strasburg (2009), Buster Posey (2008) and David Price (2007).

Fan voting will once again play a part in the Golden Spikes Award in 2021. Amateur baseball fans will be able to vote for their favorite players on GoldenSpikesAward.com, starting on June 8 with the naming of the Golden Spikes Award semifinalists. USA Baseball will announce the finalists for the award on June 24 and fan voting will open at GoldenSpikesAward.com concurrently, remaining open through July 2.

The winner of the 43rd Golden Spikes Award will be named in July. To stay up-to-date on the 2021 Golden Spikes Award visit GoldenSpikesAward.com and follow @USAGoldenSpikes on Twitter and Instagram.

  •  

  • The 2021 Golden Spikes Award timeline:
  • April 14: USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award midseason watch list announced
  • June 8: USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award semifinalists announced, fan voting begins
  • June 15: USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award semifinalists fan voting ends
  • June 24: USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award finalists announced, fan voting begins
  • July 2: USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award finalists fan voting ends
  • July: USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award trophy presentation
  •  

  • A complete list of the 55-player USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award preseason watch list is as follows:
  •  

  • Name; Position; School; Conference
  • Andrew Abbott; LHP; Virginia; Atlantic Coast Conference
  • Kevin Abel; RHP; Oregon State; Pac-12 Conference
  • Hunter Barco; LHP; Florida; Southeastern Conference
  • Alex Binelas; 3B; Louisville; Atlantic Coast Conference
  • Mason Black; RHP; Lehigh; Patriot League
  • Tyler Black; 2B; Wright State; Horizon League
  • Brooks Carlson; 2B; Samford; SoCon Conference
  • Parker Chavers; OF; Coastal Carolina; Sun Belt Conference
  • Maxwell Costes; 1B; Maryland; Big 10 Conference
  • Colton Cowser; OF; Sam Houston; Southland Conference
  • Ryan Cusick; RHP; Wake Forest; Atlantic Coast Conference
  • Henry Davis; C; Louisville; Atlantic Coast Conference
  • Adrian Del Castillo; C; Miami; Atlantic Coast Conference
  • Trenton Denholm; RHP; UC Irvine; Big West Conference
  • Josh Elvir; OF; Angelo State; Lone Star Conference
  • Jud Fabian; OF; Florida; Southeastern Conference
  • Max Ferguson; 2B; Tennessee; Southeastern Conference
  • Richard Fitts; RHP; Auburn; Southeastern Conference
  • Christian Franklin; OF; Arkansas; Southeastern Conference
  • Sal Frelick; OF; Boston College; Atlantic Coast Conference
  • Zack Gelof; 3B; Virginia; Atlantic Coast Conference
  • Hunter Goodman; C/UTL; Memphis; American Athletic Conference
  • Peyton Graham; INF; Oklahoma; Big 12 Conference
  • Steve Hajjar; LHP; Michigan; Big 10 Conference
  • Mo Hanley; OF/LHP; Adrian; Michigan Intercollegiate Conference
  • Jaden Hill; RHP; LSU; Southeastern Conference
  • Gunnar Hoglund; RHP; Ole Miss; Southeastern Conference
  • Grant Holman; RHP/1B; California; Pac-12 Conference
  • Jordan Lawlar; INF; Dallas Jesuit High School
  • Jack Leiter; RHP; Vanderbilt; Southeastern Conference
  • Seth Lonsway; LHP; Ohio State; Big 10 Conference
  • Tommy Mace; RHP; Florida; Southeastern Conference
  • Christian MacLeod; RHP; Mississippi State; Southeastern Conference
  • Ty Madden; RHP; Texas; Big 12 Conference
  • Robby Martin; OF; Florida State; Atlantic Coast Conference
  • Michael McGreevy; RHP; UC Santa Barbara; Big West
  • Matt McLain; SS; UCLA; Pac-12 Conference
  • Troy Melton; RHP; San Diego State; Mountain West Conference
  • Robert Moore; 2B; Arkansas; Southeastern Conference
  • Cody Morissette; 3B; Boston College; Atlantic Coast Conference
  • Dylan Neuse; OF; Texas Tech; Big 12 Conference
  • Doug Nikhazy; LHP; Ole Miss; Southeastern Conference
  • Braden Olthoff; RHP; Tulane; American Athletic Conference
  • Andrew Painter; RHP; Calvary Christian High School
  • Connor Pavolony; C; Tennessee; Southeastern Conference
  • Zach Pettway; RHP; UCLA; Pac-12 Conference
  • Connor Prielipp; LHP; Alabama; Southeastern Conference
  • Kumar Rocker; RHP; Vanderbilt; Southeastern Conference
  • Bobby Seymour; 1B; Wake Forest; Atlantic Coast Conference
  • Alex Toral; 1B; Miami; Atlantic Coast Conference
  • Jose Torres; INF; NC State; Atlantic Coast Conference
  • Luis Vargas; OF; Wayland Baptist; Sooner Athletic Conference
  • Luke Waddell; SS; Georgia Tech; Atlantic Coast Conference
  • Jordan Wicks; LHP; Kansas State; Big 12 Conference
  • Ethan Wilson; OF; South Alabama; Sun Belt Conference
View More
Nick_Loftin

GSA Spotlight: Nick Loftin

March 5, 2020
Baylor knows it can always turn to junior shortstop Nick Loftin when it needs a big hit. Take this past weekend's Shriners College Classic as a prime example. The Bears' situation against LSU looked rather bleak entering the sixth inning of Saturday's contest and middle game of the tournament. The
Baylor knows it can always turn to junior shortstop Nick Loftin when it needs a big hit.
Take this past weekend's Shriners College Classic as a prime example. The Bears' situation against LSU looked rather bleak entering the sixth inning of Saturday's contest and middle game of the tournament. The Tigers had a commanding 4-0 lead and righthander Landon Marceaux looked to be in total control.
That was until Loftin, one of the nation's premier players and prospects, saw Marceaux for a third time on the afternoon. In the first two at bats, Marceaux had struck out the All-American shortstop and gotten a ground out in his second at bat. But on the third? It was a much, much different story.
With a runner on second base, Loftin uncorked the most impressive home run of the weekend - a two-run shot that cleared the train tracks in left field and exited the ballpark entirely. It sent oohs and ahs throughout the crowd.
Loftin's majestic home run sparked the Bears and they went on to beat LSU 6-4 and finished the weekend with an unblemished 3-0 record. Loftin finished the weekend 4-for-11 (.364) with four RBIs, a home run and a double.
Even Loftin himself was impressed with the power he showed on that specific home run.
"I've never really seen anything go that far before," Loftin said with a laugh. "It was really cool to see, but it was a good team win."
While Loftin much prefers to talk about his team and teammates and not himself, there must be times where even he takes a step back and marvels at his own talents.
And moments like the one against LSU this past weekend have become standard procedure for Loftin throughout his Baylor career. When BU needs a bit hit, it always knows who to call.
"I mean, he's a kid who, from the first day he stepped on campus, his swing has always worked, and that's what I really like about him," Baylor coach Steve Rodriguez said. "He's done some things to change his approach a little bit, and even with that, he's still a phenomenal hitter. He's done a great job of turning himself into a great baseball player. His barrel to ball skills are unreal, and defensively, you kind of saw what he could do out there this past weekend."
While Loftin, the 6-foot-1, 180-pounder, has formed into a premier prospect over the past two seasons, he wasn't that guy out of high school. He has gradually gotten better and better, and that seems to be the theme so far this season, too.
Loftin was ranked in the 200s by Prep Baseball Report out of high school and went undrafted the summer before his arrival at BU. Certainly not a bad ranking by any means, but also not a surefire future high-round pick.
As a freshman for the Bears, Loftin made an instant impact with a .306 average, six home runs and 36 RBIs, along with a .370 OBP. But he still had plenty of work to do. He wanted to be more consistent.
Then, Loftin's sophomore campaign arrived. With the Bears looking to make a third-straight NCAA tournament appearance, Loftin once again raised the bar. He had a phenomenal season that included a .323 average, six home runs and 41 RBIs, along with a .502 slugging percentage. He also established himself as one of the nation's premier defenders, getting the attention of Eric Campbell and USA Baseball, and earning himself a spot on the USA Collegiate National Team.
Now, Loftin appears to be ready for yet another step forward in what is his crucial junior campaign. Loftin is ranked the No. 28 college prospect for the 2020 MLB Draft, and that ranking is likely to improve in our updated midseason prospect rankings.
In addition to his strong showing in Houston, Loftin is off to a torrid start offensively this spring. He's hitting .341 with four doubles, a triple, two home runs and 11 RBIs. He has also improved his slugging percentage and currently sits with an OPS of 1.006. Loftin has good bat speed and can hit the ball to all fields. As a defender, he has good instincts, excellent play-making ability and a strong arm.
But he can be even better.
"Just looking at him in glimpses over the weekend, you can tell he has the swing, the bat speed and the bat path you want to allow yourself to hit a lot," one coach at the Shriners College Classic said about Loftin. "Loftin plays a premium position and he's an excellent player. He'd be a Top 15 type of pick for me.
"He's also really good defensively," he continued. "He makes things look really easy at shortstop, and he's just out there doing a great job of slowing the game down. He makes everything look easy and does a nice job with the tough plays, too. He has a strong arm, good body and makes all the plays."
Another coach at the tournament echoed almost the same sentiment.
"Nick is what I call a ball player. He approaches and plays the game the right way," he said. "We went after him, but in hindsight we should've been a little more careful because he picked up a big two-out hit against us. We made a mistake on a pitch and he delivered. That's what good hitters do. He's just one of those guys who can beat you in a lot different ways."
Baylor has a new-look offense this spring without some key cogs from last year's club. But some guys such as freshman Jared McKenzie have risen to the occasion, giving Loftin some assistance in the lineup. Should that continue, look for Loftin's production to only increase as the season progresses.
Baylor has reached the NCAA tournament in each of Loftin's two seasons in Waco, and the junior hopes to make it a third-straight postseason appearance in 2020.
When in doubt, just call on Loftin. He'll be ready.
D1Baseball.com is your online home for college baseball scores, schedules, standings, statistics, analysis, features, podcasts and prospect coverage.
View More
RSR_4969

GSA Spotlight: Burl Carraway

February 27, 2020
When Dallas Baptist's coaches scrutinized their Trackman data on junior lefthander Burl Carraway, they realized arm slot, four-seam fastball action and hammer curveball bear a striking similarity with another hard-throwing Texan. "We were looking at it with somebody from a pro organization, and they said, 'Hey, this mirrors [Clayton] Kershaw
When Dallas Baptist's coaches scrutinized their Trackman data on junior lefthander Burl Carraway, they realized arm slot, four-seam fastball action and hammer curveball bear a striking similarity with another hard-throwing Texan.
"We were looking at it with somebody from a pro organization, and they said, 'Hey, this mirrors [Clayton] Kershaw almost exactly: the fastball's at 12, the breaking ball's at 6, and the gap between the two of them kind of mirrors Kershaw,'" DBU coach Dan Heefner said.
It just so happens, that was a particularly useful comparison for a pitcher at Dallas Baptist. Kershaw is a Dallas native, and the Patriots run a clinic with him in inner-city Dallas every offseason, which provided a perfect opportunity to Carraway to pick the three-time Cy Young Award winner's brain about his craft.
"This fall I pulled Kershaw aside and got them talking," Heefner said. "Burl was like, 'Hey, do you ever have trouble throwing your breaking ball for a strike?' [Kershaw] said, 'That's why I started throwing a slider.' So Burl started toying around with it, and he picked it up immediately. He's thrown it a few times in games, but that can be another weapon for him. The fastball is electric, he can beat you up in the zone with it. The breaking ball is so big, you're not gonna hit it, and now that he's got that slider he's got something else he can land in the zone."
The 85-88 mph slider is a useful addition to Carraway's arsenal, but it's his huge fastball and wipeout curve that make him one of the most dominant closers in college baseball. Last year, Carraway's electrifying stuff helped him rack up a ridiculous 72 strikeouts in just 41.2 innings, a ratio of 15.56 strikeouts per nine innings that would have led the nation had he pitched enough innings to qualify. He also went 4-2, 2.81 with six saves, and held opponents to a .195 batting average.
That strong 2019 performance, followed by a strong summer for the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team, helped Carraway earn first-team preseason All-America honors heading into 2020. And so far this spring, Carraway's been untouchable, going 1-0, 0.00 with two saves in four appearances, and eight strikeouts in 5.2 innings.
He played a key role in DBU's big road series win at North Carolina this past weekend, working a scoreless inning to save a 6-3 win in Game Two, then coming up huge in a tight spot on Sunday. With DBU clinging to a 2-0 lead in the eighth inning, Carraway entered with runners on second and third, and just one out. He induced a soft infield lineout, then froze UNC senior catalyst Dylan Harris on a nasty breaking ball to end the inning. Carraway came back and struck out the side in order in the ninth, starting by overmatching first-team preseason All-American Aaron Sabato with his fastball.
It's not easy to blow heaters past Sabato, one of the nation's most talented hitters - but Carraway has one of the nation's biggest fastballs. Heefner said he touched 100 mph in his second start of the year and has mostly sat comfortably at 95-98 with a high spin rate in the 2400-2500 rpm range. His 78-80 mph curveball is a true hammer, with an above-average spin rate of 2600-2700 rpm.
"And he also has really good extension, so he's throwing it almost a foot closer to the plate than the normal release point," Heefner said. "And he's got real good spin efficiency too, so the ball just jumps through the zone. … The other thing that's really unique about him, his slot, his delivery, it is over the top. So he's truly an over-the-top fastball with big-time ride, so he can pitch up in the zone with it, and then it's a 12-6 curveball too. So it's a really tough look, they tunnel really well. It doesn't matter if it's righthanded or lefthanded, it's really tough on both of them."
The Patriots always thought Carraway had intriguing potential on the mound when they recruited him out of College Station's A&M Consolidated High School, but he was undersized, and they actually recruited him as a two-way talent. A quick-twitch athlete who can run one of the fastest 60-yard dash times on the team and a 42-inch vertical leap, Carraway was expected to wind up as DBU's center fielder and a useful piece on the mound eventually, but he wasn't ready to contribute as a freshman, when he logged just two innings totaling less than an inning. The Patriots certainly didn't expect Carraway to become one of college baseball's premier power arms as his collegiate career unfolded.
"When he was in high school, he was so small. I bet when he got here in the fall, he was maybe 150 pounds as a freshman, but still had a lot of life in the body. He was upper 80s, low 90s when he came to us," Heefner said. "I think he was maybe up to 93-94 as a freshman, but command was a little tough for him. Last year he took a jump, and this year he's taken another one. So every year he's taken that kinda incremental jump. When I talk with scouts about him, I almost have to preface it like, 'I am not blowing smoke at you, he is truly one of the best guys we've ever had, from a work ethic standpoint, discipline, he is super smart.' When he's done playing he wants to get his law degree. He's the real deal."
Now listed at 6-foot, 173 pounds, Carraway's hard work off the field has translated to obvious strength gains, and his attention to his craft allowed his command to take the necessary jump forward. Now he's a legitimate top-three-rounds talent for the June draft, and he's an invaluable bullpen weapon for a DBU team that has designs on getting back to regionals for the seventh straight year and finally getting over the hump to Omaha. The Patriots might just have the arms to get to the promised land this year, and having Carraway looming in the late innings gives them a mental edge when games are tight.
"He is just the total package; really good guy, great student. He's not a real vocal team leader type of guy, but there's no question that guys are gonna follow him, just his presence, how he goes about his work, very intense and focused," Heefner said. "You feel good when he's coming in, that's for sure."
D1Baseball.com is your online home for college baseball scores, schedules, standings, statistics, analysis, features, podcasts and prospect coverage.
View More
HH1

GSA Spotlight: Hudson Haskin

February 21, 2020
Tulane outfielder Hudson Haskin was a Preseason All-American and is one of the premier players in college baseball. But he wasn't an overnight sensation. Haskin, a 6-foot-2, 198-pounder, arrived to the Big Easy with at least some fanfare. He broke George Springer's stolen base record at Avon Old Farms School
Tulane outfielder Hudson Haskin was a Preseason All-American and is one of the premier players in college baseball.
But he wasn't an overnight sensation.
Haskin, a 6-foot-2, 198-pounder, arrived to the Big Easy with at least some fanfare. He broke George Springer's stolen base record at Avon Old Farms School in Connecticut, and he was ranked as one of the nation's Top 150 high school prospects by Prep Baseball Report. However, as with most first-year players, there was a learning curve and Tulane head coach Travis Jewett wasn't sure what to expect from Haskin in his first season.
Jewett liked the tools and he certainly liked the potential. But slam dunk star from day one?
"I think it was [his immediate breakout], and with all due respect to him, a gradual progression throughout the fall and spring," Jewett said about Haskin. "I looked at Hudson and thought we had a hyper athlete on our hands, and one who I thought would eventually be a good player. How fast? I wasn't real sure.
"But he really works on it," he continued. "He's got a high, high care level. And he gets after it.:"
Everyone knows what happened what happened once the lights came on and Haskin's freshman season began. As the Green Wave took a step forward with a 32-win campaign and led the American Athletic Conference in several offensive categories, Haskin was Kody Hoese's right-hand man in the starting lineup. Though Hoese was the star and headliner, Haskin wasn't far behind.
But again, just like the fall, there was a process for Haskin.
Jewett remembers a situation a few games into the season. Haskin wasn't in the starting lineup the first few games of the 2019 campaign and approached Jewett.
"I didn't play him the first few games last year, and it was kind of like one of those "when are you going to pull your head out of your armpit" type of moments," Jewett said. "He was kind of like what do I have to do to play? I just told him to be ready when his name is called.
"Shortly after, we put him in the lineup, and the rest is history," he continued. "He's a really, really good player."
Haskin responded to that call by putting together one of the best freshman campaigns in Tulane history. He earned Freshman All-American honors and batted an impressive .372 with 10 home runs and 52 RBIs, while also having a .459 OBP, .674 SLG% and a high 1.106 OPS. And oh yeah he also showed an advanced and mature offensive approach and limited his strikeouts, 29 versus 26 walks.
Quite the first impression, we'd say.
"I always tell the guys, you're only as good as the pitch you're swinging at," Jewett said. "Half the time in hitting, everyone is worried about the actual swing a lot of the time. Worry about the pitches you're trying to hit. He does a really good job of trying to stay out of the basement with his pitch selection, he likes the stuff up in the penthouse a little better. You have to have a good plan.
"Direction is big with hitters," he continued. "A majority of the pitches you see in college baseball are going to be away from you. Why look in if it's going to be away? He does a good job of controlling the strike zone. He can really run, too."
As we mentioned earlier, Hoese was a record base stealer in high school. However, he finished last season with just four stolen bases. The reason for that? Jewett pointed to Tulane's pitching woes. The Green Wave didn't want to potentially give teams 'free' outs by getting caught stealing, so he kept Haskin a little at bay last season.
That likely won't be the case this season. Haskin has yet to steal a base through four games, but with Tulane's pitching staff, so far, showing improvement, the opportunity is there for Haskin to get let loose a little bit. After all, he could be a weapon. He ran a 4.1 down the line from the right side against Louisiana on Wednesday night.
"I do think we'll see him steal more bases," he said. "We are pitching better. I was afraid to give anything away for free last season. I figured we're just going to sit right here at the plate and bang. I felt like we had to score some runs, so we were a little bit of cement shoes out there. We need to be a little more active out there and I think we will be."
Haskin is off to a solid start this season. He's hitting .333 with three RBIs through four games and he's showing a consistent, patient offensive plan of attack. He's also showing athleticism and an impressive defensive skill set out in center field.
It's a long season, but the prognosis is good with Haskin. He's done nothing but show a consistent overall approach, and with a strong season, could see his draft stock rise even more. He's currently ranked the No. 56 player in our College Top 350 prospects list as a draft-eligible sophomore, but there's more to come. In addition to continuing to improve his craft, Haskin wants to be one of those guys who helps Tulane reach the next level under Jewett.
"Hitting isn't a perfection. It's an art with a round ball and bat, foul lines, dudes with gloves, good sliders and sometimes crappy strike zones," Jewett said. "It's like trying to make sure he's glorifying the good and not overdoing the bad.
D1Baseball.com is your online home for college baseball scores, schedules, standings, statistics, analysis, features, podcasts and prospect coverage.
View More
LacyGSA

2020 Golden Spikes Award Preseason Watch List Announced

Golden Spikes Award will be presented on Thursday, June 11, in Omaha
February 13, 2020
DURHAM, N.C. -- USA Baseball announced its 55-player preseason Golden Spikes Award watch list on Thursday, beginning the process of identifying the top amateur baseball player in the country for the 2020 season. The 43rd Golden Spikes Award will be presented on June 11 in Omaha, Nebraska, for the second
DURHAM, N.C. -- USA Baseball announced its 55-player preseason Golden Spikes Award watch list on Thursday, beginning the process of identifying the top amateur baseball player in the country for the 2020 season. The 43rd Golden Spikes Award will be presented on June 11 in Omaha, Nebraska, for the second consecutive year.
The preseason watch list features 55 of the nation's top amateur players, from high school and college baseball. The Golden Spikes Award Advisory Board will maintain a rolling list of players, allowing athletes to play themselves into consideration for the award throughout the season.
Headlining the 2020 watch list is two-time Golden Spikes Award semifinalist Spencer Torkelson (Arizona State). In 2019, Torkelson became one of 29 athletes since 2007 to be named a semifinalist more than once, including past Golden Spikes Award winners Strephen Strasburg (2009), Trevor Bauer (2011), Mike Zunino (2012), Kris Bryant (2013), Brendan McKay (2017) and Andrew Vaughn (2019).
Joining Torkelson are six additional 2019 Golden Spikes Award semifinalists, including Reid Detmers (Louisville), Nick Gonzalez (New Mexico State), Emerson Hancock (Georgia), Asa Lacy (Texas A&M) and Austin Martin (Vanderbilt). Additionally, Patrick Bailey (NC State), Tanner Burns (Auburn), Heston Kjerstad (Arkansas), Casey Martin (Arkansas), Max Meyer (Minnesota) and Torkelson have all been named to the Golden Spikes Award preseason watch list for the second consecutive year in 2020.
"We are thrilled to kick off the 2020 amateur baseball season and the forty-third year of the Golden Spikes Award with the fifty-five-player preseason watch list," said Paul Seiler, Executive Director/CEO of USA Baseball. "This year's initial list features an incredible amount of talent and we cannot wait to follow each player's journey throughout what is sure to be a highly competitive and exciting season."
The 2020 Golden Spikes Award preseason watch list features five athletes that will look to become just the third player from a non-NCAA Division I school to win the award, following in the footsteps of Alex Fernandez (1990) and Bryce Harper (2010). Josh Elvir (Angelo State) and Luke Summers (Fontbonne) represent NCAA Divisions II and III, respectively, while Josh Sears (Freed-Hardeman) represents the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletes (NAIA) on the preseason list.
Pete Crow-Armstrong (Harvard-Westlake High School) and Robert Hassell (Independence High School) are the only amateur high school baseball players recognized by the advisory board in 2020. Crow-Armstrong is the second Harvard-Westlake High School player to be named to the preseason watch list, following Jack Flaherty, who was named to the preseason Golden Spikes Award watch list as a high school athlete at Harvard-Westlake in 2014.
Eighteen different collegiate athletic conferences are represented on the 2020 preseason watch list with six of those conferences boasting multiple selections, including the American Athletic, Atlantic Coast, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and Southeastern Conferences.
Arizona State and Vanderbilt lead the list of schools represented on the 2020 list with each school boasting three players, while Arkansas, Georgia, Louisville, LSU, Miami, Michigan, Mississippi State, Tennessee, UCLA and Wake Forest are all represented by a pair of athletes.
Oregon State's Adley Rutschman took home the prestigious award last year, joining a group of recent winners that include Andrew Vaughn (2018), Brendan McKay (2017), Kyle Lewis (2016), Andrew Benintendi (2015), A.J. Reed (2014), Kris Bryant (2013), Mike Zunino (2012), Trevor Bauer (2011), Bryce Harper (2010), Stephen Strasburg (2009), Buster Posey (2008) and David Price (2007).
Fan nominations and voting will once again play a part in the Golden Spikes Award in 2020. Amateur baseball fans will be able to nominate their favorite players to be in consideration for the 2020 award starting February 14 until April 6 on GoldenSpikesAward.com, prior to the announcement of the Golden Spikes Award midseason watch list. In addition, fans will once again be able to vote for their favorite players, starting on May 14 with the naming of the Golden Spikes Award semifinalists.
USA Baseball will announce the finalists for the award on May 28 and fan voting will open at GoldenSpikesAward.com concurrently, remaining open through June 7.
The Winner of the 43rd Golden Spikes Award will be named Thursday, June 11. To stay up-to-date on the 2020 Golden Spikes Award visit GoldenSpikesAward.com and follow @USAGoldenSpikes on Twitter and Instagram.
The 2020 Golden Spikes Award timeline:
February 14:
USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award fan nominations begin
April 6: USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award fan nominations end
April 9: USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award midseason watch list announced
May 14: USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award semifinalists announced, fan voting begins
May 24: USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award semifinalists fan voting ends
May 28: USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award finalists announced, fan voting begins
June 7: USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award finalists fan voting ends
June 11: USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award trophy presentation
A complete list of the 55-player USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award preseason watch list is as follows:
Name; Class; Position; School
Logan Allen; Jr.; LHP; Florida International
Patrick Bailey; Jr.; C; NC State
Ian Bedell; Jr.; RHP; Missouri
Alex Binelas; So.; IF; Louisville
Tyler Brown; Jr.; RHP; Vanderbilt
Alec Burleson; Jr.; LHP/IF; East Carolina
Tanner Burns; Jr.; RHP; Auburn
Daniel Cabrera; Jr.; OF; LSU
Burl Carraway; Jr.; LHP; Dallas Baptist
Cade Cavalli; Jr.; RHP/IF; Oklahoma
Colton Cowser; So.; OF; Sam Houston State
Jeff Criswell; Jr.; RHP; Michigan
Garrett Crochet; Jr.; LHP; Tennessee
Pete Crow-Armstrong; Sr.; OF; Harvard-Westlake High School
Adrian Del Castillo; So.; C; Miami
Trenton Denholm; Jr.; RHP; UC Irvine
Reid Detmers; Jr.; LHP; Louisville
Blake Dunn; Jr.; OF; Western Michigan
Josh Elvir; Sr.; OF; Angelo State
Justin Foscue; Jr.; IF; Mississippi State
Nick Frasso; Jr.; RHP; Loyola Marymount
JT Ginn; So.; RHP; Mississippi State
Nick Gonzales; Jr.; IF; New Mexico State
Emerson Hancock; Jr.; RHP; Georgia
Hudson Haskin; So.; OF; Tulane
Robert Hassell; Sr.; OF/1B/LHP; Independence High School
Cole Henry; So.; RHP; LSU
Bryce Jarvis; Jr.; RHP/IF; Duke
Heston Kjerstad; Jr.; OF; Arkansas
Brian Klein; Sr.; IF; Texas Tech
Asa Lacy; Jr.; LHP; Texas A&M
Chris Lanzilli; Jr.; OF; Wake Forest
Nick Loftin; Jr.; IF; Baylor
Austin Martin; Jr.; IF; Vanderbilt
Casey Martin; Jr.; IF; Arkansas
Chris McMahon; Jr.; RHP; Miami
Max Meyer; Jr.; RHP; Minnesota
Garrett Mitchell; Jr.; OF; UCLA
Carmen Mlodzinski; R-So.; RHP; South Carolina
Jordan Nwogu; Jr.; OF; Michigan
Holden Powell; Jr.; RHP; UCLA
Kumar Rocker; So.; RHP; Vanderbilt
Aaron Sabato; So.; IF; North Carolina
Casey Schmitt; Jr.; IF; San Diego State
Josh Sears; R-Fr.; INF; Freed-Hardeman
Bobby Seymour; Jr.; IF; Wake Forest
Alerick Soularie; Jr.; OF; Tennessee
Luke Summers; Jr.; RHP/OF; Fontbonne
Spencer Torkelson; Jr.; IF; Arizona State
CJ Van Eyk; Jr.; RHP; Florida State
Austin Wells; So.; C; Arizona
Cole Wilcox; So.; RHP; Georgia
Alika Williams; Jr.; IF; Arizona State
Ethan Wilson; So.; OF; South Alabama
Gage Workman; Jr.; IF; Arizona State
View More
US2_5763-e

Adley Rutschman Named Forty-Second Golden Spikes Award Winner

Rutschman is the ninth Pac-12 Conference player to win the Golden Spikes Award
June 13, 2019
OMAHA, Neb. - Oregon State's Adley Rutschman was named the 42nd winner of the Golden Spikes Award on Thursday in a presentation during "Baseball Tonight" on ESPN2. Presented in partnership with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation, the Golden Spikes Award honors the top amateur baseball player in the United States based
OMAHA, Neb. - Oregon State's Adley Rutschman was named the 42nd winner of the Golden Spikes Award on Thursday in a presentation during "Baseball Tonight" on ESPN2. Presented in partnership with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation, the Golden Spikes Award honors the top amateur baseball player in the United States based on their athletic ability, sportsmanship, character and overall contribution to the sport.
Rutschman is the first athlete from Oregon State University and ninth Pac-12 Conference player to win the award, following Bob Horner (Arizona State, 1978), Terry Francona (Arizona, 1980), Oddibe McDowell (Arizona State, 1984), Mike Kelly (Arizona State, 1991), Mark Prior (Southern California, 2001), Tim Lincecum (Washington, 2006), Trevor Bauer (UCLA, 2011) and Andrew Vaughn (California, 2018). This is the first time the Pac-12 Conference has had back-to-back Golden Spikes Award winners.
"USA Baseball is proud to name Adley Rutschman the forty-second winner of the Golden Spikes Award after a remarkable record-breaking season for Oregon State University," said USA Baseball Executive Director and CEO Paul Seiler. "His ability to manage one of the elite pitching staffs in the nation while also leading the NCAA in multiple offensive categories was unmatched in the amateur game this year, making him a truly deserving recipient of this prestigious award."
After earning College World Series MVP honors and leading Oregon State to the national championship in 2018, Rutschman followed with a record-setting junior season in Corvallis that garnered Pac-12 Player of the Year, Co-Defensive Player of the Year and Batting Champion honors. The switch-hitting catcher managed the pitching staff for the Beavers to a 3.02 team ERA and finished his junior season hitting .411 with 17 home runs, 58 RBIs and a .751 slugging percentage. He started all 57 games in his final season and his Oregon State-record 76 walks contributed to an NCAA-leading .575 on-base percentage.
A consensus first-team All-American, he was selected with the number one overall pick by the Baltimore Orioles in the 2019 Major League Baseball Draft, making him the first Golden Spikes Award winner to be taken first overall since Bryce Harper in 2010. He is the eighth Golden Spikes Award winner to be selected with the first overall pick in the Draft, joining Horner (1978), Ben McDonald (1989), Phil Nevin (1992), Pat Burrell (1998), David Price (2007), Stephen Strasburg (2009) and Harper (2010).
Rutschman joins a group of past winners that include Andrew Vaughn (2018), Brendan McKay (2017), Kyle Lewis (2016), Andrew Benintendi (2015), A.J. Reed (2014), Kris Bryant (2013), Mike Zunino (2012), Trevor Bauer (2011), Bryce Harper (2010), Stephen Strasburg (2009), Buster Posey (2008), and David Price (2007).
Historically, Golden Spikes Award winners have gone on to have tremendous success in Major League Baseball. Of the 41 previous winners, five have earned Rookie of the Year honors, two have won the Cy Young, three were named MVP and 10 have won a World Series championship as a player or manager, combining for a total of 16 championships. In addition, 18 previous winners have made one or more All-Star Game appearances as a player or manager, combining for 56 total selections.
The award winner was selected through the distribution of ballots to a voting body consisting of national baseball media, select professional baseball personnel, previous Golden Spikes Award winners and select USA Baseball staff, totaling a group of over 200 voters and accounting for 95% of the vote. Fan voting continued to be a part of the Golden Spikes Award in 2019 and contributed to the remaining 5% of the total vote.
For more information on the Golden Spikes Award and its past winners, visit GoldenSpikesAward.com or follow along on social media at @USAGoldenSpikes on Instagram and Twitter.
View More
Finalists_GSA_1920x1080

2019 Golden Spikes Award Finalists Announced

The 42nd Golden Spikes Award will be presented on June 13 in Omaha
May 29, 2019
DURHAM, N.C. - USA Baseball announced the four finalists for the 2019 Golden Spikes Award on Wednesday. JJ Bleday (Vanderbilt), Adley Rutschman (Oregon State) and Noah Song (Navy) join reigning Golden Spikes Award winner Andrew Vaughn (California) as the final four amateur baseball players contending for the 42nd Golden Spikes
DURHAM, N.C. - USA Baseball announced the four finalists for the 2019 Golden Spikes Award on Wednesday. JJ Bleday (Vanderbilt), Adley Rutschman (Oregon State) and Noah Song (Navy) join reigning Golden Spikes Award winner Andrew Vaughn (California) as the final four amateur baseball players contending for the 42nd Golden Spikes Award. 
Presented in partnership with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation, the winner will be announced on Thursday, June 13, at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska, during "Baseball Tonight" on ESPN2 prior to the GEICO Summer Series MLB game between the Detroit Tigers and Kansas City Royals.
"On behalf of USA Baseball and the Rod Dedeaux Foundation, we are pleased to name JJ Bleday, Adley Rutschman, Noah Song and Andrew Vaughn the four finalists for the 2019 Golden Spikes Award," said Paul Seiler, USA Baseball's Executive Director and CEO. "These four athletes have each had tremendous seasons at their respective schools and have proven to be truly worthy honorees of this recognition. We look forward to celebrating their achievements with them and their families, and naming the forty-second Golden Spikes Award winner in Omaha."
Commodores outfielder JJ Bleday was named the SEC Player of the Year in 2019 after leading the conference in slugging percentage (.748), home runs (25) and total bases (160), as well as breaking the Vanderbilt single-season home run record. Currently ranked in the top 10 of five offensive categories in the NCAA, Bleday leads the nation in home runs (26), is second in home runs per game (.44), fourth in total bases (173), seventh in total runs scored (72) and eighth in slugging percentage (.752). Bleday is the sixth Commodore to be named a Golden Spikes Award finalist and the first since 2015 (Carson Fuller, Dansby Swanson).
After earning College World Series MVP honors and leading Oregon State to the national championship in 2018, Adley Rutschman followed with a junior season that garnered Pac-12 Player of the Year, Co-Defensive Player of the Year and Batting Champion honors. The switch-hitting catcher also manages the pitching staff for the Beavers-who currently ranks second in the country in Team ERA (2.98)-and ranks in the top 10 nationally in five offensive categories including leading the nation in on-base percentage (.580), walks (73) and walks per game (1.33). Additionally, he ranks fourth in batting average (.419) and sixth in slugging percentage (.765). Rutschman is the second Golden Spikes Award finalist to come from Oregon State University after Michael Conforto earned that recognition in 2014.
Navy right-hander Noah Song pieced together a record-breaking senior season where he was named the Patriot League Pitcher of the Year, set three program records in Annapolis and was named the first-ever Golden Spikes Award finalist in Navy history. He currently owns the career wins record (32) and holds a share of the program record for career shutouts (9). Additionally, his 428 career strikeouts are both a Navy and a Patriot League record. Song leads the nation in three pitching categories, including strikeouts with 161-which also broke a 59-year-old Navy record for strikeouts in a single season-wins (11) and strikeouts per nine-innings (15.41). He also ranks second in the nation in complete games (6), sixth in ERA (1.44) and seventh in total hits allowed per nine innings (5.27).
Andrew Vaughn followed his Golden Spikes Award-winning sophomore season with another outstanding year in Berkeley, being named to the All-Pac-12 team for the second straight year. He currently ranks second in the nation for walks per game (1.16), third in on-base percentage (.549) and eighth for walks (58). His .387 batting average ranks him in the top five in the Pac-12 Conference and he has posted three multi-home run games and 18 games with two or more hits. Vaughn is the second California Golden Bear to be named a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award, joining Lance Blankenship who was named a finalist in 1984.
Vaughn is the 17th amateur baseball player to be named a Golden Spikes Award finalist for a second time and is the first since David Price earned back-to-back finalist recognitions in 2006 and 2007. The California first baseman joins Jim Abbott and Mark Kotsay as the only previous winners to be named a finalist again the year after winning the award; but, he will look to become the first-ever athlete to be named the Golden Spikes Award winner for a second time.
The 2019 winner will look to join a group of recent winners that include Vaughn (2018), Brendan McKay (2017), Kyle Lewis (2016), Andrew Benintendi (2015), A.J. Reed (2014), Kris Bryant (2013), Mike Zunino (2012), Trevor Bauer (2011), Bryce Harper (2010), Stephen Strasburg (2009), Buster Posey (2008), and David Price (2007).
Historically, Golden Spikes Award winners have gone on to have tremendous success in Major League Baseball. Of the 41 previous winners, five have earned Rookie of the Year honors, two have won the Cy Young, three were named MVP and 10 have won a World Series championship as a player or manager, combining for a total of 16 championships. In addition, 18 previous winners have made one or more All-Star Game appearances as a player or manager, combining for 56 total selections.
A final ballot will be sent to the Golden Spikes Award voting body consisting of national baseball media, select professional baseball personnel, previous Golden Spikes Award winners and select USA Baseball staff, totaling a group of over 200 voters. From Wednesday, May 29, through Monday, June 10, the voting body will cast their final vote for the Golden Spikes Award winner and fan voting will simultaneously be open on GoldenSpikesAward.com. Selections made by the voting body will carry a 95 percent weight of each athlete's total, while fan votes will account for the remaining five percent. 
USA Baseball has partnered with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation to host the Golden Spikes Award since 2013. The Foundation was formed to honor legendary USC and USA Baseball Olympic team coach, Rod Dedeaux, and supports youth baseball and softball programs in underserved communities throughout Southern California.
For more information on the Golden Spikes Award and the four 2018 finalists, follow along on social media @USAGoldenSpikes on Instagram and Twitter.
Golden Spikes Award Winners:
2018: Andrew Vaughn - California
2017: Brendan McKay - Louisville
2016: Kyle Lewis - Mercer
2015: Andrew Benintendi - Arkansas
2014: A.J. Reed - Kentucky
2013: Kris Bryant - San Diego
2012: Mike Zunino - Florida
2011: Trevor Bauer - UCLA
2010: Bryce Harper - Southern Nevada
2009: Stephen Strasburg - San Diego State
2008: Buster Posey - Florida State
2007: David Price - Vanderbilt
2006: Tim Lincecum - Washington
2005: Alex Gordon - Nebraska
2004: Jered Weaver - Long Beach State
2003: Rickie Weeks - Southern
2002: Khalil Greene - Clemson
2001: Mark Prior - Southern California
2000: Kip Bouknight - South Carolina
1999: Jason Jennings - Baylor
1998: Pat Burrell - Miami
1997: J.D. Drew - Florida State
1996: Travis Lee - San Diego State
1995: Mark Kotsay - Cal State Fullerton
1994: Jason Varitek - Georgia Tech
1993: Darren Dreifort - Wichita State
1992: Phil Nevin - Cal State Fullerton
1991: Mike Kelly - Arizona State
1990: Alex Fernandez - Miami Dade CC
1989: Ben McDonald - LSU
1988: Robin Ventura - Oklahoma State
1987: Jim Abbott - Michigan
1986: Mike Loynd - Florida State
1985: Will Clark - Mississippi State
1984: Oddibe McDowell - Arizona State
1983: Dave Magadan - Alabama
1982: Augie Schmidt - New Orleans
1981: Mike Fuentes - Florida State
1980: Terry Francona - Arizona
1979: Tim Wallach - Cal State Fullerton
1978: Bob Horner - Arizona State
View More
Garcia_Ryan_1_030919_SC

GSA Spotlight: Ryan Garcia

May 23, 2019
UCLA righthander Ryan Garcia, the No. 1 pitcher on the No. 1 team in the nation, couldn't stop crying. Granted, he was just 4 years old at the time, and he was a most-reluctant T-ball player. "'I don't want to be here'," said Garcia's father, Edgar, quoting his son from
UCLA righthander Ryan Garcia, the No. 1 pitcher on the No. 1 team in the nation, couldn't stop crying.
Granted, he was just 4 years old at the time, and he was a most-reluctant T-ball player.
"'I don't want to be here'," said Garcia's father, Edgar, quoting his son from 17 years ago. "But I put the ball on the tee for him, and he smacked it to left field.
"When he got to first base, I asked him if he wanted to go home, and he said, 'No, daddy, I want to stay here.'"
Unfortunately for Bruins opponents, Garcia stuck to baseball from that point forward, arriving on UCLA's campus in the fall of 2016 as an infielder/pitcher. Right away, Bruins coach John Savage decided that Garcia's best position was pitcher.
Good call.
After a freshman season in the bullpen, Garcia became a starter in 2018, going 8-1, 2.23.
This year, he has been even more dominant: 8-0 with a 1.30 ERA in 12 appearances, including 10 starts.
In 69 innings, Garcia has allowed just 38 hits (.161 batting average), including seven doubles and four homers, and 21 walks.
He is a Golden Spikes semifinalist who ranks third in the nation in ERA and first among Power Five conferences.
"I'm not saying he's in the Trevor Bauer/Gerrit Cole class," Savage said of two former UCLA first-round pitchers now in the majors. "But he's in that company."

Diamond Destiny

Garcia's parents, Edgar and Liz, have known each other since elementary school, and they were baseball teammates in middle school.
Liz made her high school baseball freshman team - against boys - but opted to play varsity softball instead.
Edgar and Liz became high school sweethearts, and he had a scholarship offer to play baseball as a catcher for Cal State Northridge. But Liz, who was in college at the time, became pregnant with Ryan just before Edgar graduated high school.
That was the end of Edgar's baseball career. He went to work to support his growing family, and he and Liz married one year after Ryan was born. Edgar and Liz have another child, Dylan, 12, who is also an aspiring baseball player.
Meanwhile, Ryan, who is California-born but has Mexican heritage on his father's side, didn't really get serious about pitching until he got to UCLA.
Bruins catcher Will McInerny, a fellow junior, remembers the first time he caught Garcia in the fall of 2016.
"He has such an easy delivery, it doesn't feel like you're catching someone throwing in the 90s," McInerny said. "It feels like you're just playing catch with another position player."
The fact that Garcia played shortstop and third base in high school helps him on the mound.
"He's like a fifth infielder," McInerny said. "He's a really good athlete. And with his history as a hitter, he trusts his pitches. He knows how hard it is to hit."

Slow Start

Garcia started this season on the sidelines with an injury to his right forearm. He made his season debut on March 9 as a middle reliever, pitching one scoreless inning against Oklahoma State.
On March 24, he made his first weekend start of the year, on a Sunday, and he allowed just one hit and one walk in 7 1/3 scoreless innings, striking out eight Arizona hitters.
His biggest breakthrough came on April 26, his first Friday start as a member of the Bruins.
In that win over Utah, he became the first Bruins pitcher to throw a complete game since 2017 and the first since Bauer in 2011 to get 14 strikeouts. He threw a two-hitter, requiring just 106 pitches and allowing three baserunners, including one walk.
No Utah hitter got past first base.
"That game felt great," said Garcia, who is much more shy and silent than bold and brash. "I try to pitch every game like I'm the Friday starter. But, on Fridays, it is an important task to set the tone for the weekend."
Garcia has done that for the Bruins, who are 45-8 - including 18-4 away from home - and have won eight straight games.
No team has beaten UCLA more than once this season, and the Bruins have not lost consecutive games since March 8.

Inner Intensity

Garcia said he gets far more nervous during media interviews than he does when he's staring at a batter from a distance of 60 feet, six inches.
But even though he doesn't wear his emotions on his Bruins jersey, he didn't get this far without being competitive. An example of that comes out when asked about his size - he is a 6-foot, 185-pounder, which is smaller than most top prospects at his position.
"It adds fuel to my fire," Garcia said when asked about his doubters.
Garcia gets batters out by having a superior mix of four pitches: a four-seam fastball that ranges between 89-94 mph; an 81-84 slider with sharp, late tilt; a mid-80s changeup and a 73-75 curve.
"All four of Ryan's pitches are beneficial to each other," McInerny said. "His arm speed and spin rate add zippiness to his fastball. As a hitter, you think you are on time … but you're late.
"Batters leave the box confused as to why they are not hitting him. Guys start the game against him in a groove, and, by the end, they're in a slump."
After not getting drafted out of high school, Garcia is projected to go in the top four rounds next month. In fact, a selection in the top two rounds would not be a surprise, given his success this season.
Savage, who led UCLA to its only College World Series title in 2013 and may have the horses to do it again this year, said he is not surprised at how Garcia has developed.
"I thought he could be special," Savage said. "I knew it would take time - and it has. He was a high school shortstop with a terrific arm. We had him at our camp, and he had a clean delivery. The way the ball came out of his hand, it wasn't hard to see he could be a legit pitcher in our program.
"We dug into him and invested into him, and he has become our No. 1 guy. … His (forearm) injury has been a blessing in disguise because he has just 69 innings - he's fresh and pitching at the highest level of his career."
Garcia's career record at UCLA is 18-1. In two years as a starter, he is 14-1, 1.58 with 145 strikeouts in 125 2/3 innings.
In addition, he pitched in Cape Cod for the first time last summer, and he was an all-star for the league champs, going 2-0, 1.28 with 33 strikeouts in 28 1/3 innings.
He also finished the summer with a streak of 25 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run.
"Statistically, Ryan is lights out," McInerny said. "But he hasn't been pitching that long. He still hasn't hit his ceiling, and that's what's most exciting."
D1Baseball.com is your online home for college baseball scores, schedules, standings, statistics, analysis, features, podcasts and prospect coverage.
View More
P1477430

GSA Spotlight: George Kirby

May 16, 2019
ELON, N.C. - It's the kind of stat you'd expect to see from a finesse pitcher: just six walks in 82.2 innings, spanning 13 starts. But Elon's George Kirby is no thumber - he's one of the premier power arms in college baseball. Kirby also has 105 strikeouts and has
ELON, N.C. - It's the kind of stat you'd expect to see from a finesse pitcher: just six walks in 82.2 innings, spanning 13 starts. But Elon's George Kirby is no thumber - he's one of the premier power arms in college baseball.
Kirby also has 105 strikeouts and has held batters to a .203 average this season, while going8-1, 2.07 for the Colonial Athletic Association regular-season champion Phoenix. Kirby ranks fifth nationally with a 0.83 WHIP, and he leads all of Division I with a ridiculous 17.5-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
"It's quite a floor, ain't it?" said Elon pitching coach Sean McGrath. "He's the best of both worlds. He's a command guy, kind of what you see from a mid-major Friday or Saturday guy who's a mid-to-upper-80s guy, and he's doing it at 95. And beyond that, he's doing it probably better than most ever do it."
The combination of plus fastball velocity, an ideal pitcher's frame at 6-foot-4, 201 pounds, and elite strike-throwing ability gives Kirby perhaps a better combination of a high floor and a high ceiling than any other pitcher in the 2019 draft class. In his final regular-season start Sunday against UNC Wilmington, Kirby came out of the chute sitting at 96 mph with his fastball and bumped 97. He pitched comfortably at 94-95 and touched 96 repeatedly over the first four innings, and he didn't throw a fastball below 93 mph in his five excellent innings of work, before Elon pulled him at the 79-pitch mark to get him a little extra rest heading into the conference tournament and hopefully the NCAA tournament. It was typical Kirby dominance: he allowed just one unearned run on two hits while striking out nine - and walking none, as usual.
For most college pitchers, learning to pound the strike zone is paramount. Kirby, however, has had to learn to expand the zone more often.
"He's really taken to being able to leave the zone, because the beginning portion of this year, he was so much in the zone that he was putting guys in swing mode," McGrath said. "Then he learned, 'OK, I can pitch a couple balls off or I can pitch a couple balls up, and they're probably still gonna offer.' And he commands it well enough that even if you do it 1-0 and 2-1, you're not afraid you're gonna go walk them, and it gets called more because he has the reputation."
Kirby showed good control as a sophomore too, going 10-3, 2.89 with a 96-27 K-BB mark in 90.1 innings. But he's gotten better across the board as a junior.
"One thing I've done a lot better this year is be able to command and limit the walks, which has helped me a lot. I expect to do this well every time I go out," Kirby said. "I think just the work I do during the week, trying to hone in my mechanics, I think that's helped me a lot. The pitch calling helps me a lot to expand, so I just try to hit those spots, keep it out of the zone. I didn't really change anything mechanically, I just tried to add more flow in my delivery. I changed the way I step back, I'm a little quicker to the plate now, which has helped me in the flow of the game, staying consistent. … It kind of just clicked."
Kirby took an important step forward last summer in the Cape Cod League, where he posted a 1.20 ERA in 11 relief appearances for Harwich. He said he enjoyed the closer role last summer, and he gained confidence from facing the best hitters in college baseball day-in and day-out. He also worked hard to improve his changeup and slider in the summer and throughout the fall.
Kirby's calling card remains that electric fastball, which served as the putaway pitch on eight of his nine strikeouts against UNCW. But he has refined his secondary stuff to the point that he now feels comfortable mixing with four quality pitches. His 85-86 mph straight changeup has been his best secondary pitch for most of his collegiate career, and he threw it with good arm speed against the Seahawks, helping him get ahead of hitters early in counts. He also excels at throwing his 78-80 mph curveball as a backdoor strike against lefties. It's not a hammer, but he has developed it to the point that he can get occasional swing-and-misses with it, as he did Sunday against Riley Zayicek, who struck out on the pitch.
"He's been able to go ahead and leave that thing short and believable, more often than he was last year," McGrath said. "Last year it was almost, how do you mix early to finish with fastball? Now we can give any assortment of pitches early in the AB and finish them whichever way we see fit late in the AB."
The biggest difference from last year is the development of Kirby's slider, an 82-85 mph offering that flashes solid-average. That's become an important weapon for him, as he has learned to throw it harder, with more intent, as he put it.
"We tried to add a slider last spring and it never really took shape. Some days he'd have it and would be able to throw a couple, and other days it just wouldn't be there," McGrath said. "And then this fall, a little bit this summer when he was up in the Cape, he was able to go ahead and fiddle around with grips and fiddle around with thoughts of what exactly he's looking to do with the slider, if he were to add one. Man, he's hammered away at it in bullpens and game plan, and it's taken shape. But he went from fastball-changeup with a show-me breaking ball, to now he can put people away with four different pitches."
Kirby and fellow junior righthander Kyle Brnovich form one of the best one-two pitching duos in college baseball, giving Elon a chance to beat any team in America in a weekend series. They have two very different styles - Brnovich pitches heavily off his devastating slider, one of the best in the country, while Kirby lives off that fastball - but they complement each other well. They also have a healthy competitive relationship; last year Kirby pitched on Friday and Brnovich went 8-2, 1.71 with 147 strikeouts in 105 innings as the Saturday starter. This year, Brnovich is 6-3, 3.81 on Fridays, and Kirby has been utterly dominant on Saturdays.
"We definitely push each other, but I'd say it's more individual, honestly," Kirby said. "We both have different styles of pitching, and we both worked on that during the week all the time, bullpens and everything. But we definitely do push each other a little bit, because Friday-Saturday, either of us could really have the Friday spot. So we're both competing with each other, and it's good to be competitive when you're good friends."
Kirby places great value in being a model teammate and helping Elon's young arms improve. He's soft-spoken and even-keeled, and he isn't afraid to offer teammates some insights.
"He's a guy's guy. Teammates love him. They know not to bother him too much on game day, but you won't to be able to tell, 'Oh, that's George Kirby.' He doesn't want to look any different than any of these other 33, 34 guys," McGrath said. "He's just one of the boys. The guys take to him. The other thing he's been really, really good at is he's been a great leader, whether it be allowing young guys to watch his bullpens and allowing them to take something from him, or he'll sit down with guys and talk about how he thinks about using his lower half, or his thoughts on certain pitches, where to execute, how to execute. He's done as much developing as I have with those freshman and sophomore arms, in terms of getting in touch with them and making sure in his catch play that he's a good example for others. He's diligent, and I think he's helped some buy-in, and other guys carry themselves pretty similarly."
"I'm just trying to share all the information I can give them," Kirby added. "A lot of times we struggle just hitting the zone, so I'll spot some things that guys are doing down there that I think have worked for me. I think having McGrath down there, we're both on the same page, so if I have something to say he'll let me say it, and he usually agrees with it. I think just giving my advice has helped them get a little more confidence on the mound, and I think it's shown. The past couple weeks the younger guys have gone out and done pretty well."
After going 19-5 in CAA play to run away with the regular-season title, Elon is now focused on winning the automatic bid that goes to the conference tournament champion, and getting the program back to regionals for the first time since 2013. With Kirby and Brnovich leading the way, and talented sophomore Jared Wetherbee rounding out the rotation with flame-thrower Ty Adcock anchoring the back of the bullpen, the Phoenix have the pitching firepower to make some serious noise in the postseason. And Elon's progression over the last three years has been very gratifying for Kirby, as you might imagine.
"Came here freshman year, we didn't do very well. Last year we got bumped out in the semis. So I'm just glad we're making progress every year," Kirby said. "We have a special group of guys, our pitching staff's really good, gave our guys a chance to win every time out there. You see we just dominated the CAA this year, so it was pretty fun to watch."
Kirby is awfully fun to watch, too.
D1Baseball.com is your online home for college baseball scores, schedules, standings, statistics, analysis, features, podcasts and prospect coverage.
View More
Semifinalists_GSA_Round2

USA Baseball Names 2019 Golden Spikes Award Semifinalists

The 42nd Golden Spikes Award will be presented on June 13 in Omaha
May 15, 2019
DURHAM, N.C. - USA Baseball named the 25 semifinalists for its Golden Spikes Award on Wednesday. Presented in partnership with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation, the 42nd Golden Spikes Award winner will be announced on June 13 at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska. The list of semifinalists spans 20 different
DURHAM, N.C. - USA Baseball named the 25 semifinalists for its Golden Spikes Award on Wednesday. Presented in partnership with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation, the 42nd Golden Spikes Award winner will be announced on June 13 at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska.
The list of semifinalists spans 20 different colleges and universities, one high school and nine NCAA conferences. The list also features three athletes who were also a semifinalist in 2018 with Josh Jung (Texas Tech), Spencer Torkelson (Arizona State) and 2018 Golden Spikes Award winner Andrew Vaughn (California). Since 2007, 29 athletes have been named a semifinalist more than once in their careers, including past Golden Spikes Award winners Stephen Strasburg (2009), Trevor Bauer (2011), Mike Zunino (2012), Kris Bryant (2013), Brendan McKay (2017) and Vaughn (2018).
"The twenty-five student-athletes honored as Golden Spikes Award semifinalists this year highlight the depth of elite amateur baseball talent in the United States," said USA Baseball Executive Director and CEO Paul Seiler. "Each and every one of these athletes have excelled on the field this season and we are honored to continue our partnership with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation to recognize their contributions to their teams and schools."
Joining Sun Devils teammate Torkelson as a 2019 semifinalist is Hunter Bishop (IF; Arizona State), meanwhile Mississippi State, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt join Arizona State as the only schools with multiple semifinalists with the selections of Jake Mangum (Mississippi State), Ethan Small (Mississippi State), John Doxakis (Texas A&M), Asa Lacy (Texas A&M), JJ Bleday (Vanderbilt) and Austin Martin (Vanderbilt), respectively.
Jackson Rutledge (San Jacinto College) and Bobby Witt Jr. (Colleyville-Heritage High School) have also been named a Golden Spikes semifinalist in 2019. Since USA Baseball introduced semifinalists to the voting process in 2007, Rutledge is the fourth semifinalist from the junior college ranks while Witt is the first-ever high school student athlete to earn this honor. To this date, Alex Fernandez (1990) and Bryce Harper (2010) are the only non-NCAA Division I athletes to win the Golden Spikes Award.
Last year, Cal's Vaughn took home the prestigious award, joining a group of recent winners that include Brendan McKay (2017), Kyle Lewis (2016), Andrew Benintendi (2015), A.J. Reed (2014), Kris Bryant (2013), Mike Zunino (2012), Trevor Bauer (2011), Bryce Harper (2010), Stephen Strasburg (2009), Buster Posey (2008), and David Price (2007).
Beginning with the announcement of semifinalists, a ballot will be sent to the Golden Spikes Award voting body consisting of national baseball media, select professional baseball personnel, previous Golden Spikes Award winners and select USA Baseball staff, totaling a group of over 200 voters. From Wednesday, May 15 through Sunday, May 26, each voting member will select three athletes from the Golden Spikes Award ballot of semifinalists and fan voting will simultaneously be open on GoldenSpikesAward.com. Selections made by the voting body will carry a 95% weight of each athlete's total, while fan votes will account for the remaining 5%. 
The finalists will then be announced on Wednesday, May 29. Beginning that same day through Monday, June 10, the voting body and fans will be able to cast their final vote for the Golden Spikes Award winner.
The winner of the 42nd Golden Spikes Award will be named on Thursday, June 13.
USA Baseball has partnered with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation to host the Golden Spikes Award since 2013. The Foundation was formed to honor legendary University of Southern California and USA Baseball Olympic team coach, Rod Dedeaux, and supports youth baseball and softball programs in underserved communities throughout Southern California.
A complete list of the 25 Golden Spikes Award semifinalists is as follows:
Name, Class, Position, School, Conference
Hunter Bishop, Jr., OF, Arizona St., Pac-12
JJ Bleday, Jr., OF, Vanderbilt, SEC
Isaiah Campbell, RS-Jr., P, Arkansas, SEC
Reid Detmers, So., P, Louisville, ACC
John Doxakis, Jr., P, Texas A&M, SEC
Ryan Garcia, Jr., P, UCLA, Pac-12
Nick Gonzales, So., IF, New Mexico St., WAC
Emerson Hancock, So., P, Georgia, SEC
Kody Hoese, Jr., IF, Tulane, AAC
Josh Jung, Jr., IF, Texas Tech, Big 12
George Kirby, Jr., P, Elon, CAA
Asa Lacy, So., P, Texas A&M, SEC
Jake Mangum, Sr., OF, Mississippi St., SEC
Alek Manoah, Jr., P, West Virginia, Big 12
Austin Martin, So., IF, Vanderbilt, SEC
Jackson Rutledge, So., P, San Jacinto, Region XIV
Adley Rutschman, Jr., C, Oregon St., Pac-12
T.J. Sikkema, Jr., P, Missouri, SEC
Ethan Small, RS-Jr., P, Mississippi St., SEC
Noah Song, Sr., P, Navy, Patriot
Bryson Stott, Jr., IF, UNLV, MWC
Zack Thompson, Jr., P, Kentucky, SEC
Spencer Torkelson, So., IF, Arizona St., Pac-12
Andrew Vaughn, Jr., IF, California, Pac-12
Bobby Witt Jr., HS-Sr., IF, Colleyville-Heritage High School
View More
.jpg

From Golden Spikes to First Overall

May 14, 2019
Since the inaugural Golden Spikes Award was presented in 1978, there have been seven winners selected first overall in the MLB First-Year Player Draft. In the spirit of the upcoming 2019 Draft, here are the eight Golden Spikes Award winners to be taken with the number one overall pick. 1978

Since the inaugural Golden Spikes Award was presented in 1978, there have been seven winners selected first overall in the MLB First-Year Player Draft. In the spirit of the upcoming 2019 Draft, here are the eight Golden Spikes Award winners to be taken with the number one overall pick.

1978 - Bob Horner (Arizona State)

The winner of the first-ever Golden Spikes Award, Bob Horner was selected by the Atlanta Braves with the first overall pick in the 1978 MLB Draft after a junior season in which he batted .412 with 25 home runs and 100 RBIs. Horner skipped the minor league ranks entirely, becoming just the thirteenth player to do so in the decade, and went straight to the Major Leagues where he homered off of current Hall of Fame pitcher Bert Blyleven in his Major League debut. He played 10 years in the show, including nine with the Braves and one season with the St. Louis Cardinals. While still with the Braves, he had four home runs in one game on July 6, 1986, one of only 18 players to ever accomplish the feat.

1989 - Ben McDonald (LSU)

Ben McDonald was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles with the first overall pick in the 1989 MLB Draft after a stellar career at LSU that was capped off with him winning the Golden Spikes Award. In his time with LSU, McDonlad led the Tigers to the College World Series twice and set an SEC record by fanning 202 batters in 1989. The previous summer, he led Team USA to the gold medal at the Seoul 1988 Olympic Games, pitching complete-game victories against Korea and Puerto Rico. After McDonald was selected by the Orioles, he went on to become the second player from the 1989 Draft class to receive the call up the Majors. In total, McDonald enjoyed a nine-year Major League career, splitting time between the Orioles and the Milwaukee Brewers. He finished his career with a cumulative 3.91 ERA. 

1992 - Phil Nevin (Cal State Fullerton)

Phil Nevin had a big year in 1992 as he was named Most Outstanding Player of the 1992 College World Series, where his Cal State-Fullerton Titans finished second. Nevin was then selected first overall by the Houston Astros in the 1992 MLB Draft, becoming the third Golden Spikes Award winner to be selected first overall. After the Draft, Nevin went on to play in the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games for Team USA where he finished second on the team in batting average (.347) and first in doubles (9). The corner infielder and outfielder made his Major League debut in 1995 and played in the big leagues over the span of 12 years for seven teams. He was named an All-Star when he was with the San Diego Padres in 2001, finishing the season with a .301 batting average and a career-high 41 home runs. Nevin last played in 2006 as a member of the Minnesota Twins and finished his career with 208 home runs.

1998 - Pat Burrell (Miami)

Pat Burrell was the first overall pick out of the 1998 MLB Draft after winning the Golden Spikes Award. A force at the hot corner, Burrell capped off his college career with a .442 batting average and a .888 slugging percentage in his junior campaign, which both rank among the top 10 in college baseball history. Burrell made his Major League debut with the Philadelphia Phillies on May 24, 2000, and went 2-for-5 with a triple and two RBIs. In total, Burrell enjoyed 12 years in the big leagues between the Phillies, Tampa Bay Rays and San Francisco Giants. He won a World Series ring with both the Phillies (2008) and Giants (2010).

2007 - David Price (Vanderbilt)

David Price was the winner of the 2007 Golden Spikes Award after a fantastic season with Vanderbilt in which he recorded 194 strikeouts, shattering the Commodores' single-season record of 155. The figure represents the second most strikeouts in a single season in SEC history behind only fellow Golden Spikes Award winner Ben McDonald's 202 set in 1989. Price's efforts were rewarded as he was the first player selected in the 2007 MLB Draft, going to the Tampa Bay Rays. He would make his Major League debut the next season and was a key piece on a Tampa Bay team that went on to win the 2008 American League Pennant. Price won the American League Cy Young Award as a member of the Rays in 2012 and has since gone on to play for the Detroit Tigers, Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox. He has been named an All-Star five times and won a World Series with the Red Sox in 2018.

2009 - Stephen Strasburg (San Diego State)

Stephen Strasburg won the 2009 Golden Spikes Award after a stellar season with San Diego State University, just a year after he was the youngest member on a Team USA squad that won a bronze medal at the Beijing 2008 Olympics. He finished the 2009 season with a perfect 12-0 record, 1.34 ERA and 174 punchouts in 94.1 innings pitched and was named the 2009 Mountain West Conference Pitcher of the Year. Strasburg was selected by the Washington Nationals with the first pick and made his much-anticipated Major League debut against the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2010, getting the 5-2 win and striking out 14 in seven innings of work. Strasburg is currently in the middle of his tenth year in the Major Leagues, all with the Nationals. He has been named an All-Star four times.

2010 - Bryce Harper (Southern Nevada)

Bryce Harper posted impressive numbers during his one season at the College of Southern Nevada, setting the school's single-season home run record with 31 home runs while also driving in 98 RBIs and posting a .443 batting average. The Las Vegas native was named the 2010 Southwestern Athletic Conference Player of the Year and First Team SWAC All-Conference. At the time, Harper joined Alex Fernandez (Miami Dade CC [JUCO], 1990), Michael Tucker (Longwood [Division II], 1992) and Alex Rodriguez (Westminster Christian High School [Fla.], 1993) as the only non-Division I players selected as Golden Spikes Award finalists in the last 20 years. Harper was the No. 1 overall selection by the Washington Nationals in the 2010 MLB Draft and made his debut in 2012, at the age of 19. He finished his rookie campaign with a .270 batting average and 22 home runs and was named 2012 National League Rookie of the Year. Harper has since gone on to win the 2015 National League MVP award, has been an All-Star six times and is currently a member of the Philadelphia Phillies.
View More
DsjhmFvVYAAstTA

GSA Spotlight: Corbin Carroll

May 10, 2019
For OF Corbin Carroll (Lakeside School, WA), the high school season is over. Lakeside was eliminated in the playoffs Monday, but on Tuesday, Carroll lifted weights and hit. A season is over and chapter closed, but much is still to come for the UCLA recruit. So the work doesn't stop.
For OF Corbin Carroll (Lakeside School, WA), the high school season is over. Lakeside was eliminated in the playoffs Monday, but on Tuesday, Carroll lifted weights and hit. A season is over and chapter closed, but much is still to come for the UCLA recruit. So the work doesn't stop.
"I'm just thinking what got me to this position," Carroll said. "I don't think anything is changing right now. I'm just trying to work as hard as I can."
That hard work has made him one of the top high school players in the country, one who will likely hear his name called early in the first round of the 2019 MLB Draft, less than a month away. It would put a stamp on the last 11 months, an impressive run in which Carroll traveled the United States to play in different showcases and tournaments, as well as to Panama where he helped Team USA's 18U National Team win a gold medal in the 2018 Pan Am Championship. As part of the squad's offensive dominance, Carroll hit .500 with three home runs, 15 RBIs and nine stolen bases in eight games. An important time for many rising seniors, the summer and fall seasons served as a proving ground for Carroll.
"I learned that I can go out there and compete with whoever I want to compete with," he said. "The biggest thing for me was confidence. Going into that summer, not really playing at that level before, and then coming out of that summer feeling like I can hang with anyone. That was huge for me and pretty cool to see, given that I didn't really have those expectations going in per se."
Carroll's confidence, and talent, extends off the field as well. He was just selected to the all-league academic team and hasn't received a B since he was a sophomore. That's a noteworthy accomplishment in itself, but Lakeside is an academically rigorous institution and boasts an impressive alumni list that includes the co-founders of Microsoft-Bill Gates and Paul Allen.
"The community there is really incredible and supportive," Carroll said. "One of the coolest things about being at such a rigorous academic school is you're constantly challenged. I'm constantly challenged in the classroom, which is really cool, competing in those different ways."
Carroll has a bright future in baseball, no matter which direction his path takes next month. However, if a Plan B were to become necessary, science seems to be his calling. His declared major for UCLA is physiological sciences and he's currently taking sports medicine and physiology courses. That same drive that elicits success on the field, helps off it too. Being a senior and baseball being his likely career, it would be easy for Carroll to hit cruise control.
"(I'm) not making excuses for myself from the baseball front," he said. "(I'm) going in with the mindset that I'm just another student here and I need to get my business done. That's really paid off for me. I was named to the all-league academic team. Seeing that hard work pay off has been rewarding for me."
Rewarding and a testament to the work he's put in since freshman year. As much as he's proven as a player, he's also done so as a student.
"I definitely wasn't this caliber of a student going into the school freshman year," Carroll said. "School was definitely a lot tougher for me then. I didn't have some of the study habits that I do now. I just think that's a testament to the work I've put in, as well as the school.
"Freshman year, I was mostly a B student. And then I haven't had a B since sophomore year. From the work perspective, what that looked like, was those two hours a night not really making excuses and saying I've done enough. Just pushing through that extra hour and finding ways to get my stuff done. If I have a 45-minute free period and I've got work to get done, I have the self control now where I say, 'I'm not gonna goof off with my friends. I'm gonna go get some work done.'"
The work is only beginning for Carroll, but you can bet he'll find his way on Lakeside's notable alumni list.
The Prep Baseball Report is the No. 1 resource for amateur baseball in each state it covers through its variety of events, boots-on-the-ground scouting staff, daily coverage, and multimedia platforms.
View More