The Sun Devils’ staff sees improvements in the renewed list after losing five players to MLB Draft
After the season was shortened due to COVID-19 and lost five of without a doubt the most talented players in the MLB draft in 2020, ASU baseball is at an important stage of development.
But almost a month at their annual fall camp, ASU baseball head coach Tracy Smith and the rest of his staff is not so concerned with the potential of their renewed list.
“I think we’re going to be a different team,” Smith said. “You can create a different identity with a number of different skill sets, and I think we have done that. I like what I have seen defensively and offensively. ”
ASU managed to bring in a top 10 recruitment class for the fourth time in the last five years to compensate for the losses of Alika Williams, Gage Workman, RJ Dabovich, Trevor Hauver and number 1 overall choice, Spencer Torkelson to the MLB draft.
So far, the class has not received a lack of praise from the coaching staff.
“I think it’s a very good and balanced group,” said the Sun Devils recruitment coordinator Ben Greenspan. “We think this is going to be a very good class over the next few years.”
Appropriate coach Michael earley has fantasized about Moss’ routine in the percussion cage and at the plate this autumn.
“His routine and daily preparation is by someone who has been here for five or six years,” Earley said. “He has a chance to become a star here one day, one of those pillars. Jack has a lot of abilities and abilities to beat. ”
The Sun Devils also added a group of transfers that include former Xavier sluggers Allbry Major and Auburn’s Conor Davis. Kai murphy, son of former ASU head coach Pat Murphy, is also transferring from Oregon State.
Murphy was recruited to be primarily a left-handed pitcher with the Beavers, but this fall he has seen many representatives in the field and at the plate. He threw 4.1 innings during his freshman year with Oregon State and did not log a single bat. Smith believes Murphy can be a valuable piece in the field and on the plate.
“When we explored the possibility of letting Kai come here and be a part of the program, we probably looked at him as more of a pitcher,” Smith said. “If you were to make me make a decision, I would say he’s probably going to help us more as a position player.”
The returning group has also attracted quite a bit of attention. Junior shortstop redshirt Drew quickly has taken the governments as one of the leaders in the clubhouse and on the field after a very strong season in the spring.
Before the abrupt end of the season, Swift was just on track, finishing with an average of 365 and logging his first collegiate home run.
Swift has continued to improve during the autumn and has grown to become a leadership role.
“The impact he’s had on our team has gone beyond anything I’ve seen in college baseball,” said Smith. “He’s literally like another coach on the pitch. He helps and teaches the young boys around him. ”
Redshirt beginner Sean McLain is another player who has improved noticeably since his first year of injury. The native of California was originally supposed to be ASU’s starting midfielder before he suffered a hand injury that limited him to five games in the spring.
Since then, McLain has not only recovered, but has made significant progress in the game offensively.
“The ball just sounds different from his bat,” Earley said. “I think he has beaten three or four home runs this autumn. Other than that, he sprays balls the other way and he causes chaos at the bases. ”
The Sun Devils relied heavily on the home run the past two seasons, hitting a total of 20 in 17 games last season and 94 throughout 2019. Although the Sun Devils are not as strong as they once were, hitters have embraced their new identity like a scrap , small ball heavy lineup this fall.
“We started early, and I was really honest with the guys, and I said, ‘I don’t think there’s anyone on this team who’s going to hit 20 home runs,” said Earley. “We get these knockouts when they come. I think we’ll be pretty ruthless one to nine.”
While the offense continues to shape its new style, pitching staff continue to build their successful campaign from the spring. Apart from Dabovich, the Sun Devils have maintained the rest of their pitching staff from last season.
Redshirt sophomore left hand Erik Tolman has added a little extra speed to his fastball and is now in his mid-90s. Junior red shirt Brady Corrigan has developed a curveball to compliment the rest of his repertoire.
Redshirt sophomore right hand Tyler Thornton has also made great strides after a solid 2020 season. In four starts, he recorded a 3.38 ERA over 24 innings, while surpassing an opponent’s average of .227. Second year pitching coach Jason Kelly considers Thornton as a mix of the starting role on Friday night next spring.
“He’s in the group of four competing for those spots,” second-year pitching coach Jason said In Kelly. “He was very good in his last outing, and the speed was up. He does things that are difficult to put on paper. ”
Kelly also expressed confidence in the back end of the bullpen even after losing the hard throw closer in Dabovich. Dabovich recorded four saves and posted a 0.77 ERA in his final year at ASU.
“I think there could be four or five boys there,” Kelly said. “I think we’ll let it play out the rest of the fall, and we’ll have some competitive maroon and gold intrasquad (scrimmages) over the next two weeks. I think the best case for us as a team is if we have five boys with four or five rescues. “
The Sun Devils will continue to practice and intimidate for the next few weeks before looking forward to the start of the season in February. While the list looks a lot different than they have done in recent seasons, the coaches said that they are still very happy with the product they have seen this autumn.