Aggie Sports Talk
2022 UCD baseball-Done
I honestly don't know what to expect from UCD baseball in 2022. To say the team did not do well as a unit (ignoring individual stats or exceptional play in certain games) would be an understatement. The hitting was below average. The fielding was just ok and the pitching was very inconsistnt.
I suppose you can attribute some of the struggles to not being able to have a standard full-team practice schedule in the fall. Also, recruiting in 2020 would have been very difficult due to the truncated season.
The 2021 team also seemed to suffer for a lack of depth in position players other than catcher. This meant that when a hitter was slumping there were fewer substitute options.
I managed to get out to 5 games this year after they started allowing tickets to be sold and I got the feeling it was a small roster. For example, Jackson O'Boy received lots of at bats at designated hitter even though his batting average was under .200 most of the year. Cooper Morrison scarcely got to rest when he was struggling. There were 37 names on the roster but 5 didn't play and there were a handful who didn't play very much. If you saw lineup variations from game to game from the middle to the end of the season it was at catcher or the corner outfield spots.
Now according to the senior day ceremonies the Aggies are losing at least 10 players. Just like 2020 recruiting would have been more difficult because of a reduction in games and stringent safety protocol limiting spectators. And don't rely on uncommited junior college players too heavily-their seasons were also reduced. In fact the local JC only played 17 games, all of which were of the 7 inning variety and were entirely against the closest teams from their conference.
So take 37 players, subtract the 10 graduates and you have a maximum of 27 returing players, with 5 of them not having played in 2021. I am given to understand that some of the redshirts/new recruits are scheduled to play for the Yuba-Sutter Gold Sox this summer, but trying to get information about the Gold Sox is difficult.
Seriously, look at their website it seems more like a Geocities website a 1990's teenager might have been tinkering with. I don't even know if the team is playing this season.
Now for my position guesses:
There's some room for optimism here. A lot of younger pitchers got significant innings and delivered some quality, albeit somewhat sporadically.
They lose Brett Erwin an Tim Weiser but there are in-house replacements for them already.
Erwin didn't look himself this year. Maybe it was the short practice season or the 3 weeks during the season he didn't play, but he looked pretty gassed around the 5th inning, looked like he was laboring out there
Zach Carrel and Kaden Riccomini had a few excellent appearances out of the bullpen and as starters.
If they have 4-game weekend series again I think Nate Freeman wins the 4th spot over Nolan Meredith. Freeman has delivered several strong long relief appearances his first 2 years (including 7 innings of shutout ball in the 24 inning game.
Meredith did prevent the Aggies from getting swept against WSU, but that was the best appearance of the season. When I saw him pitch (1 relief appearance + 1 start) he was having trouble throwing strikes, missing down, down, down. In fact he has more career walks than strikeouts. That's not a good reccomendation for the rotation.
I like that several true and redshirt freshmen got some work. Aside from Freeman I was most impressed by Andrew LaCour and Nico Ryder.
Key relievers: Nathan Peng, Andrew LaCour, Ryan O'Hara, Nico Ryder, Daniel Carrion, Nolan Meredith.
Closer: Peng or Ryder
Michael Campagna is likely your starting catcher. Behind him you have Omar Plasencia, Ben Griffin, and Nathan Peng.
Plasencia got some good opportunities on account of the 4-game series. He hit a couple homers, and he looked like a good defender when I saw him.
Given it'll be his 4th year and he's pitched way more than he's played behind the plate I think it's safe to assume Peng will concentrate on pitching.
Griffin looks like he has some pop. Actually played more first base.
FIRST BASE-They have to replace Spencer Gedestad. Jonah Henrickson probably is the main first baseman because of his glove. He didn't play in 2021-possibly due to injury. Griffin is a good candidate too.
Second base-Nick Iverson. He has a very good glove. The offense will pick up
SHORTSTOP:Kyler Arenado. Second verse-same as the first....
THIRD BASE- Shaun McHale, J.D. Mico (if he didn't secretly graduate), or redshirt freshman Will Bermudez.
Why no Jalen Smith ? I'll explain in a moment. McHale probably logged the most time at third of the three. He had a few nice games at the plate, but disappeared from the lineup when his hiting cooled off.
Bermudez is a shortstop who redshirted at a time when they could have used him. That tells me they're teaching him a new position or two, and most likely third base.
Graduation took the biggest hit here losing Cooper Morrison, Colton Evans, and Isaiah Verrett.
Left Field-Conner Longrie or Daniel Carrion. No strong opinion either way, although Carrion might be a better runner (regularly used as a pinch-runner). This may the position where a freshman I haven't mentioned takes the job.
Center Field-Jalen Smith. See ? I told you I would get to him. To my knowledge he is the only returning Aggie who's even played a game there. And as for the newcomers-no idea. Smith is talented enough to do well anywhere in the infield or outfield. And if he has pro aspirations versatility will only help.
And this is where the pandemic really hurt the Aggies. Had the 2020 season been completed Cooper Morrison's eligibilty would have expired and they would have spent 2021 trying out different players in CF, would now have an idea of at least two in-house candidates. Instead they're a year behind because they had an extra year of Morrison.
Right Field-Jake Brandel. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Designated Hitter: Kind of pointless to guess the DH, but here goes-Ben Griffin when he isn't needed at catcher or first.
So to recap
Jake Spillane (completely missed talking about him, didn't I ?)
Kaden Riccommini (sp ?)
Zach Carrell (sp ?)
Closer: Peng or Ryder
I keep thinking there is something you asked us to say if you EVER wrote about baseball again. What was it?
(Please keep it up.)
Roy’s Hoskins getting a lot of great press and TV coverage during the Phillies series with the Giants. Of course, he is a Sac State grad and was called the “California Kid” by the Peacock guys. Hometown Sac kid who got one schollie offer and it was from Sac State. He is a great kid and Sac will use him very well in their recruiting efforts. Do we have anyone in the majors now? How did we miss on Hoskins?
UCD is not on equal baseball recruiting footing with Sac State. Even if we assume that Rhys Hoskins would have met the academic requirements to get into UCD there wasn't really anything specific about the UCD baseball program to recommend it over other Division I programs nearby. If it was his intent to play pro baseball and be near his family then Sac State was a good choice.
Now as alumni we might tend to think that UCD is the be-all-end-all college experience because we loved it, but we don't easily remember the parts that weren't so great. Take UCD football for instance. I fondly remember that UCD football went 17-2 in games I attended as a student, but I selectively forget from time to time what a pain it was to be herded onto those old end zone bleachers and not being able to sit down the entire game- if I wanted to see any of it. I will say that UCD baseball as I remember it was a fun time during the D-II years because they won a lot more and there were more real rivalries that brought the students out ready to let the visiting team have it. Since the move to D-I It's become a more dull and sterile experience,more like a little league game where none of the home fans care about the outcome and you're not allowed to even voice your displeasure about the officiating. Prospective student-athletes pick up on these things when they visit. So maybe Hoskins just didn't want to play for UCD ? Or perhaps it was
To the best of my knowledge Daniel Descalso and Joe Biagini are still playing but not in the majors at present. Sac State actually has two former players in the game today. Sam Long is making his first MLB start for the Giants. Long and Hoskins were college teammates in 2014. I wonder if either of them knew Alyssa Nakken from school ? She is the first female member of a major league baseball coaching staff-and don't think the Giants didn't make sure everybody knew they made the historic hire.
Go, I think you nailed it. We won in DII and are not winning in DI. So no fans. No excitement. Irvine and SB seem to have to have the magic that we are missing. Watch out. I think UCSD will soon be up there with them. I do not like to think we are the bottom of the UC’s in any sport, but we are. Rocko, are you listening?
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