A 2015 Preview That Has Nowhere Near The Depth, Detail, and Quotes of the Athletic Department Preview

Posted on February 22, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Is it really a new baseball season again? Am I really 28? Is the world really a spinning rock flying around a gaseous orb at 30 km/sec? Apparently so. That means it’s time to make another attempt at writing things about the baseball program I watched for four-plus years and covered for two while at CWRU. As usual, since I’m living in Pittsburgh with limited time to make any 2.5-hour trips to Cleveland, any previews throughout the season will lack the detail and depth of ones written by people right next to the action, like the season preview written by the athletic department. Please read it if you haven’t, it has actual quotes from Coach Englander and everything!

Returning starters:
C – Jordan Swisher (.380/.468/.632, team-leading 7 HR)
1B –
2B – Kerrigan Cain (.381/.401/.446, team-leading 8 SB)
3B – Andrew Gronski (.439/.502/.628, team-leading 86 H, 24 BB)
SS –
LF – Antonio Damiano (.292/.382/.377, team-second 6 SB)
CF – Aaron Cain (.326/.390/.382, .963 fld%)
RF –
DH – William Meador (.275/.369/.340, team-second 20 BB)
SP – Jake Shields (6-2, 3.06 ERA, 47 K/22 BB/47.0 IP)
SP – Kevin Johnstone (4-3, 5.56, 48 K/20 BB/56.2 IP)
SP – Neal Krentz (2-1, 5.18, 18 K/12 BB/33.0 IP)
SP –
RP – Daniel Sondag (2-1, 2.86, 5 saves, 33 K/9 BB/34.2 IP)
RP – Rob Winemiller (1-0, 4.05, 1 save, 21 K/18 BB/20.0 IP, 25th-round selection by Toronto)

Who will fill the blank space? (baby)

No clue. I’ve learned long ago not to forecast preseason competitions, especially at the college level. As Englander says in the preview, plenty of players will rotate in the lineup throughout the season, so even a de facto starting lineup probably won’t emerge until the postseason. One thing I do know from reading the preview is that on the infield side, “Zack Tobias brings significant experience to the group having batted .258 with 3 homers and 18 RBI…” When even I can read between the lines, the lines were left way too far apart. Please tighten the lines next time. Tobias’ isolated power (essentially extra base hits per at bat) of .187 was second-best among returning players with >50 ABs. Outfielder Marques Winick (.387/.512/.645, 3 3B) had the highest ISO among all players last year at .258.

Which newcomers will make an impact?

I have little idea as I haven’t seen a single practice or fall scrimmage or anything. Aside from what the AD preview says, I’ll add a couple notes from my cursory search of the team roster and Maxpreps:
– LHP Liam Killingstad not only was the team’s top starting pitcher, but also led his high school team (the Obezags!) in most batting categories. I definitely think he’ll get some innings this season, especially because he’s left-handed.
– 1B/OF Daniel Watson had a triple, a homer, three walks, a stolen base (!) and four runs scored in the only game Maxpreps tracked. Congrats!
– I’m pretty sure the father of the one of the freshmen is a local newscaster where I live. If so, that’s pretty cool! I’ll have to watch more Hometown High-Q.

So, how will the Spartans do this year?

There is a nice mix of returning starters and talented backups/newcomers from a team that went 34-12 last year. I would think between 31 and 37 wins over the same number of games is a reasonable guess, meaning another postseason berth and a good chance to advance far.

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