Baseball poised to return to College World Series in 2013

The ASU Baseball team throw up their pitchforks after defeating Oregon State on April 6. (Photo by Sam Rosenbaum)

The No. 16 ASU baseball team ended its season with a record of 36-20, with 23 of those wins coming in the familiar setting of Packard Stadium.

The Sun Devils were not able to participate in postseason play because of a one-year suspension brought on by the NCAA.

Knowing that from the beginning, coach Tim Esmay and the rest of the team set a goal to win the Pac-12 regular season title.

Although the Sun Devils came up short, ASU certainly had success on the diamond. Three players were named Louisville Slugger All-Americans by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper.

Junior pitcher Brady Rodgers and sophomore pitcher Trevor Williams both earned second team honors. Rodgers (10-3, 2.27 ERA) and Williams (12-2, 2.05 ERA) were one of the most dominating one-two punches on the mound in college baseball this year.

Senior first baseman Abe Ruiz secured a third team All-American selection behind his conference leading 13 homeruns and .305 batting average.

The Sun Devils also had ten players taken in the 2012 MLB draft. Junior shortstop Deven Marrero was selected by the Boston Red Sox with the No. 24 pick in the first round. Juniors pitcher Brady Rodgers, second baseman Joey DeMichele and closer Jake Barrett were all taken in the third round.

With guys like Marrero, DeMichele, Rodgers and Barrett possibly leaving for the major leagues, the Sun Devils have key leadership roles that will need to be filled in the 2013 season.

DeMichele was ASU’s best hitter in 2012, batting .336 with 47 RBI and seven triples. The Sun Devils’ second baseman was a catalyst and kept the offense and defense consistent throughout the year. Moving from the outfield to second base in just one year, DeMichele handled the situation with ease, only committing seven errors on the season.

Marrero was a staple in the ASU lineup both with his stellar defensive play and clutch hitting.

Losing that much talent and veteran leadership, many would expect the Sun Devils to struggle next year, but likely will not be the case.

Esmay has a recruiting class loaded with talent. Thirteen of his recruits were taken in the MLB draft and ASU already has players that can step in and perform at those positions.

Freshman Drew Stankiewicz and sophomore Michael Benjamin will look to fill the voids at shortstop and second base.

Stankiewicz, a natural middle infielder, split time with Benjamin at third base this year and struggled with the glove. But, up the middle, Sankiewicz’s hands are as good as anybody and he will be a nice addition to the lineup in 2013.

Freshmen Adam McCreery and Darin Gillies along with junior Alex Blackford will be the pitchers vying to solidify the rotation behind Trevor Williams.

Coming off a year in which it couldn’t play in the post-season, ASU will be motivated to get back to the College World Series for the 23rd time in program history. The Sun Devils have too much talent to not succeed next year.

 

Reach the reporter at rdunham1@asu.edu