Sunken Diamond: An Absurd Stab At The Stanford Travel Roster

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Fall Ball concludes on Wednesday, and that means The OG and Co. will go into hiding for two excruciatingly long months. When the Owls emerge, RF Chad Mozingo should be healthy, RHP Anthony Fazio will be closer to 100 percent, and RHP Mike Ojala might slightly resemble Bobby Bell. Have you placed your reservations for The Drover yet? Tables are going fast!

What can be done in the interim? Recklessly speculate on who travels to Stanford for the season-opening series February 19-21! The OG can take 25 players, and despite his persistence and insistence, Ojala won't be ready for that intersectional non-conference series. Otherwise the rest of the roster is fair game, so let's haphazardly throw names at the wall.

CATCHERS (3): Diego Seastrunk, Craig Manuel, Geoff Perrott. The OG continues to rave about what a 'blessing' Perrott has been, so it's safe to assume that he'll be on the initial travel roster. Besides, a third legitimate catcher allows the staff to manipulate Manuel and/or GDG at designated hitter when the other isn't behind the dish. Perrott allows The OG flexibility with GDG switch hitting and Manuel adding a lefthanded stick to a righty-dominated batting order.

INFIELDERS (6): Jimmy Comerota, Michael Ratterree, Rick Hague, Anthony Rendon, Abe Gonzales, J.T. Chargois. The starting quartet - SAK, Ratterree, Slick Rick and Rendon (still accepting suggestions) - is set and stout. Chargois, a switch hitter, has established himself as a viable backup to Ratterree against righties with filthy stuff while Gonzales might back up Comerota. Gonzo entered the final week of fall ball hitting .400/.459/.600 minus the exhibition.

OUTFIELDERS (5): Steven Sultzbaugh, Michael Fuda, Jeremy Rathjen, Ryan Lewis, Mozingo. Sultz, Mozingo and the LF platoon will cover a ton of real estate, which should make the pitchers feel comfortable attacking the strike zone. Lewis seems a more likely option to DH given the need for his lefthanded stick and the emergence of Gonzo at first base. It's difficult to imagine his cracking the starting lineup here because the top three could be exceptional.

PITCHERS (11): Taylor Wall, Jared Rogers, Boogie Anagnostou, Tony Cingrani, Tyler Duffey, Doug Simmons, Matthew Reckling, Mark Hanyes, Chase McDowell, Tyler Spurlin, Fazio.

Two-thirds of the rotation against the Cardinal appears set (LHP Wall in the opener and RHP Rogers on Saturday), with Boogie and Cingrani presumably in the mix to start the finale. Fazio is an ideal candidate as the midweek starter, but he makes the trip just in case the opportunity arises for him to make his Rice debut. Duffey and Simmons are golden as the RHP and LHP long relievers, respectively, while Reckling has too confounding a breaking ball to leave at home. Haynes over Andrew Benak is a coin flip IMO, so The OG could go the other way there.

Things get interesting with McDowell and Spurlin. The OG could take as many as five two-way players with him to NoCal (Gonzo, Chargois and Simmons included), and that gives him some serious versatility. Gonzo and Simmons (.346/.433/.538) are among the top four hitters this fall, and the three freshmen haven't embarrassed themselves at the plate. The fact that they can hit and pitch makes them valuable, far too valuable to leave home as the season opens.

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MK, great stuff as usual. Thanks! I do think Lewis and Rathjen start the season as you DH platoon (when GDG is catching). However, if Fuda struggles out of the gate, it won't take The OG long to get Ryan and/or Jeremy into the OF. I can also see Jimmy and Ryan (or Jimmy and Gonzo) platooning at 1B when we need another powerful left-handed bat in the lineup or when going against a tough RH pitcher (e.g., any of UT's Big 5 or TCU's Purke). We're certainly loaded with elite level right-handed hitters (AR, Rick, Sultzy, Ratterree for starters), but we have the potential to have as many as 5 quality left-hand hitters in the lineup against tough righties (from amongst Diego, Manuel, Lewis, Manuel, Gonzo, Chargois, Simmons). My bet is that Lewis proves himself so valuable during January/February workouts that he somehow becomes a fixture in the everyday lineup.

BTW, with regards to pitchers, I take it the ommission of Matty Evers was an oversight? Also, any inside knowledge on why Matthew Reckling has been shutdown for the past two weeks (and is not scheduled to pitch this week)? Thanks.

I'll be roadtripping for the opening weekend series, and can't wait to cheer the team on!

Walt: Undisclosed on the injury to Reckling. As for Evers, it was not an oversight on my part. He needs to show me that he's back to his fantastic freshman form before I reserve his seat on that bird to Cali. Will he get there? I'm sure of it. When? - MK

Gonna have to go OT here - it's still a bit too early for in depth baseball talk for me.

Will the O-Line finally be back to season advent form with the return of Hicks this weekend. i.e. Mitchell back at LT and Parish at RT?

Any major changeups come out of the bye week program-wide evaluations? Personnel wise, coach wise, scheme wise...?

Talon: The original O-line is back: Mitchell (LT), Allen (LG), Carrington (C), Hicks (RG) and Parish (RT). Bailiff eluded to some schematic changes defensively this afternoon, and I did witness a few new wrinkles on offense last week. However, there was a mix-up regarding practice time today so I missed the action. I'll confirm tomorrow what is different and what has remained the same. - MK

Thanks for fixing the commenting bug!

What's up with Jeremy Fant? He was leading the team in ERA then hasn't pitched in a while. Also, might Fazio be a closer candidate? Every time I look at the box score I see no hits and a lot of K's. Sounds promising to me.

wheredidmypantsgo: Given that he's had more time to recover from TJ surgery and Ojala, Fazio should slip back into the rotation where he belongs. He has 10 Ks and 0 BBs in 7 IP, so as he continues to gain strength and control, he should become an even greater asset. Don't know what's up with Fant. Some guys have been ill this fall, so I'll have to check and see if he's fallen victim to any floating bugs. - MK

It's so easy to leave a comment... Thanks to the computer gods responsible for this improvement. Can't say that my replies will be numerous, but at least I can if I want to...

Looking forward to your next football post (as hard as that is to believe)...

potential name for Rendon:


definition of "redonkulous", as provided by urbandictionary: significantly more absurd than ridiculous to an almost impossible extreme; something so out of control, so over the top that it takes ridiculous to the next level.

wheredidmypantsgo: That's appropriate. - MK

Ryan Lewis will be available to play baseball in February?

Guy: Lewis' shoulder injury isn't serious. He'll be fine. - MK

Thanks, MK.

Interesting take on Evers.

Hopefully we have a strong conclusion and beginning to the respective seasons of football and basketball, to hold us over until baseball kicks up again.

At Ease: The OG won't give up on Evers, and neither will I. His stuff is too good not to utilize next season, so hopefully he makes up ground between now and January. - MK

The pitching staff is long on middle relief and sans closer. I gotta think Evers travels ahead of Haynes.

austinowl73: A closer will emerge with or without Evers. - MK

If Graham is indeed trying to work Evers into a position of the closer, I don't see him getting left at home on the first road trip of the year.

louismcc: Whoa, I never wrote anything about The OG saying Evers would close. Evers will be a functional member of the bullpen, hopefully by the start of the 2010 season. How did this post turn into a discussion on Evers anyway? - MK


Interesting stuff. Here are some thoughts about the season not necessarily just opening weekend.

1. I bet Evers begins the season as a starter. Matt walked the lead off batter Saturday for the 4th time in a row. We need Matt to be a contributor in the bullpen this season, but he's not at a point now to be able to do so. I think the staff uses him as a starter to begin the season with the hope that extended innings will enable him to regain his form.
2. Reckling is reported to have shoulder tendenitis. It's not believed to be serious and he's expected to be at full strength by the start of the season.
3. A parent expressed the opinion to me that Gonzales could lead the team in batting average if allowed to hit every day. I expect to Abe to get lots of early DH at bats. But I think both Lewis and Rathjen get starts at 1B before Gonzales for defensive reasons.
4. As for weekend starters, I'd say you can throw a blanket over Rogers, Boogie, Cingrani and maybe Duffey to begin the year. I couldn't guess which 2 of the 4 will start behind Wall in Palo Alto.
5. Longer term, I think Fazio has an excellent chance to be a Saturday or Sunday starter. Graham has said, "Anthony has something below the belt." He only says that about guys he REALLY likes. But do you think he'll be strong enough to go 5-6 innings by February? I guess not and that he starts the season in long relief.

Coatzaowl: 1. I'd agree if Evers could develop a reliable third pitch. As of now the change-up is iffy, and if he can get some tilt back on his slider, he can be effective at the back end of the pen. He has plenty of time between now and Feb. 19 to accomplish that task. 2. I prefer the word 'undisclosed.' 3. Gonzo has been a revelation at the plate and on defense. He's been fine with the glove, something that can't be said about Rathjen at first or Lewis, who has been busy dodging oncoming defensive ends. 4. I think Rogers has emerged from under that blanket, but I agree on the other three. 5. Fazio will be plenty strong by February, and his control this fall has been outstanding. It's hard not to be excited over him. - MK

MK, sorry for even bringing up Evers in my initial comment. However, given his outstanding Summer and very solid Fall Ball performance (albeit in limitted action), I don't understand why Matty wouldn't be playing a very prominent role toward the backend of the bullpen from the get-go in 2010. Having said that, I do think both Anagnostau and Reckling have both the stuff and mental toughness to be closers, as well...and with any bit of good luck, Mike Ojala will be back in form by the May stretch run, and with his competitiveness, experience and dominant stuff, he could provide us with a true shut-down closer heading into the post-season.

Walt: No need to apologize. I try to shy away from focusing on one guy too much because it makes it appear as though I've singled him out, which isn't the case here. I'm rooting for Evers because I know what he is capable of - I was at The Disch when he ripped through Texas' order on April 1, 2008. Until Evers limits the walks and regains his confidence as a set-up guy, the door is open for guys like Boogie, Reckling, Chargois, etc. Ojala keeps insisting that he will be back before April 1, and if he is sharp and strong, I wouldn't hesitate using him as closer. - MK

Thank goodness on being able to comment! Early prediction is that commenting will increase exactly 353%.

Thanks for the update. Hear's to hoping the football team can finish strong and the basketball teams give everyone something to be excited about while we're waiting for baseball.

mymrbig: I hope you prediction is accurate. I was beginning to think that I was blogging in a vacuum. The comments are welcome, even at a 353% increase. - MK

"A closer will emerge with or without Evers". Intriguing. I'm assuming Oj would be the guy later in the year, but initially to start off the season, I'm left scratching my head a bit. Simmons might fit the bill if Gonzales could be the left handed reliever

wheredidmypantsgo: From chatting with The OG, I don't think he is too worried over who will finish games in February and March. He isn't married to the notion of one guy closing every contested game, and like you, I think Ojala will eventually earn that job for the second half of the season. He certainly has the stuff and the makeup. - MK

Wasn't trying (still not) to turn this into a discussion about Evers, though as someone who has followed his career since he was in high school, I am interested in his progress.

It had been brought up by you and others that Evers is a Graham project right now and somewhere along the line someone mentioned him as a potential closer.

My point is on the much broader issue you bring up in the blog entry about who is going to Stanford. We're not talking about the travel squad to Omaha, but rather the squad to an early season series to a non-conference foe. If a coach doesn't take a few of his "projects" with him at this stage, how will he determine if they can perform when the series begin to take on importance?

louismcc: Excellent point. That's why I titled this blog entry an absurd stab. - MK

One more large "THANK YOU!" for getting the commenting program fixed.

This may be a bit OT, but Ratterre appears to be everything we were hoping for from our top freshman.

Of the other freshmen, which ones have surprised the most in terms of contributing this year? I've heard a number of good things about Chargois (by the way, how IS that pronounced?), and Duffey clearly must have made a very positive impression to be so prominent in the pitching mix.

Your thoughts?

BetontheOwl: Chargois (Sha-Gwa), Duffey and McDowell are my clicks to pick on the staff, and Perrott will play a role as the third catcher. Ratterree might be the only freshman to make an impact in the everyday lineup, although Chargois is slated to back him up at second base. Spurlin could get some run on the mound, too. - MK

I'd like to see Daniel Gonzalez-Luna get a shot at the travel roster, although with our deep outfield, his shot may only be at DH. I really like his approach to the game -- and he has produced when called upon.

After reading the blog and the comments, I have one quick question. Why Haynes over Wright?

krehbr: Haynes made more than three times as many appearances as Wright last season and logged 35 more innings. If I'm not mistaken, all seven of Wright's appearances came at The Reck, and at this point in their respective careers, Haynes is more of a known quantity. But like I eluded to, once you get down to the 10th through 12th pitchers you are splitting hairs, and my guesses are based in part on what certain pitchers did last season as well as how they've pitched this fall. - MK

MK, for whatever reason, Mark Haynes appears to have taken a huge step backwards since the end of the 2009 season. He had a miserable Summer, and I don't believe he had a single quality outing during Fall Ball. Last year he was up and down, but was a solid contributor in an otherwise (save for JoRogers, who was up and down himself) struggling bullpen. Now that they have a year under their respective belts, I really see both Reckling and Benak (as well as Simmons and Gonzales) ahead of Haynes. Heck, even Harwood has had a couple good outings this Fall. I think the bullpen, though a work in progress, will be much improved and consist of Reckling, Benak, Simmons, Gonzo, McDowell, Chargois, Anagnostau and Evers (presuming Duffy earns the second mid-week starter role). While largely unproven, that group has the potential to be very good and very deep.

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