The ASU baseball season begins Friday night against Bethune-Cookman and this is the projected starting lineup, based on last Saturday’s alumni game and preseason scrimmages.
1. Jr. | 3B| Michael Benjamin
Benjamin is the perfect fit as the leadoff hitter. His .322 average in 2012 ranks second among returning players, and he amassed a .408 on-base percentage, also good for second among returners. Benjamin’s knack for getting on base was apparent in the final 16 games last season as he hit .382.
2. Jr. | CF | Kasey Coffman
Coffman didn’t hit well last year, batting only .234. The junior’s potential is palpable, and his 13 hit by pitches led the team. Coffman also stole 11 bases last year, so his speed will be important at the top of the lineup.
3. RS-So. | RF | Trever Allen
Allen’s .279 batting average and 25 RBI’s last season might not seem worthy of the three hole in the Sun Devil lineup. Regardless, he had a team-best 12 game hit streak and collected eight multiple RBI games. Look for Allen to be an RBI machine.
4. So. | DH | Nathaniel Causey
At 6 feet, 2 inches and 236 pounds, Causey has the frame of a cleanup hitter. Causey has the numbers, too. He led all true freshmen in batting average, at-bats, hits and runs and led the entire team in on-base percentage at .422.
5. Sr. | C | Max Rossiter
The only projected senior starter and 2012 Pac-12 All-Conference honorable mention is the top returning hitter for the Sun Devils with his .326 clip. Rossiter needs to improve his on-base percentage (.371), but he provides good gap power with nine doubles last year.
6. Jr. | 2B | James McDonald
McDonald, also a 2012 Pac-12 All-Conference honorable mention, may be the Sun Devils’ most complete hitter. The switch hitter reached base in the final 13 games of the 2012 season and was second in the Pac-12 with 35 walks. Don’t be surprised if he ends up at the top of the lineup later in the season.
7. So. | LF | Jake Peevyhouse
Peevyhouse didn’t do much in limited action in his freshman year. Hit only .095 in 21 at-bats. He is a very speedy player and could provide a spark on the base paths if his production rises.
8. So. | 1B | Rouric Bridgewater
In limited action last season, Bridgewater was very productive, logging 16 RBI’s in only 52 at-bats. His role as starting first baseman isn’t secure, so another strong offensive campaign can cement his position.
9. So. | SS | Drew Stankiewicz
Stanciewicz will fill the role of the nine hitter well. The sophomore had thee multi-hit games last year and earned 10 walks in less than 80 plate appearances.
Reach the reporter at email@example.com