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Freshman Nu’u Contrades ready to face new challenges far from home

As a new addition to ASU baseball, Contrades has much to prepare for before the season begins


Freshman infielder Nu’u Contrades watches an incoming pitch at Phoenix Municipal Stadium on Monday, Jan. 23, 2023.

In a loaded group of 10 other infielders, freshman Nu’u Contrades is vying for playing time on ASU head coach Willie Bloomquist’s roster. 

A standout Hawaiian high school player, Contrades has demonstrated raw offensive potential and a team-first mentality in his short time at ASU. 

Contrades started playing baseball when he first participated on a T-ball team called the Phillies when he was four years old. From there, he knew baseball was the sport he loved.

In his senior season at the Saint Louis School in Honolulu, Contrades batted .462 with a home run, hit .667 in the state tournament and had 17 RBI. He was named the 2021-2022 Gatorade Hawaii Baseball Player of the Year for his efforts, making him the fifth to receive the honor from Saint Louis School. Contrades was ranked as the 500th national recruit and 16th overall recruit in Hawai'i in his class.

Besides his talent on the field, Contrades was recognized for his leadership in the locker room and community service.

“Contrades is a quiet leader, but he chooses when to speak up and lead when needed,” Saint Louis head coach George Gusman said in Gatorade’s press release. “He leads with his work ethic and by example.”

Before arriving in Tempe, Contrades initially committed to California State University, Northridge before recommitting to ASU on Sept. 15, 2021. Contrades said he switched schools after meeting with Bloomquist and touring ASU baseball’s facilities, according to Hawaii Prep World. 

Now a Sun Devil, Contrades is one of 10 freshmen on Bloomquist’s roster, three of which are infielders. Bloomquist said his freshmen are competing for lineup spots with returning and transfer players, adding that he is confident in his team’s depth before the season.

“Those guys are chomping at the bit to get into the lineup and making it tough on us, which is exactly what we wanted,” Bloomquist said. “We wanted to have to make tough decisions on who's going to play and who's going to get the lion's share of playing time.”

When crafting his infield, Bloomquist focuses on consistent play and emphasizes the importance of fundamental fielding skills. He said Contrades would earn playing time as early as this season if he can execute routine defensive plays and string together successful at-bats. 

While competing with other infielders, Contrades said he's improved his hitting and defensive skills during the offseason. He praised Bloomquist and assistant coach Mike Goff for helping him develop his play and prepare to face college pitchers.

“It's been kind of a big leap from high school to college,” Contrades said. “You know, my coaches helped me to kind of shorten things up and make things easier on me.”

During fall scrimmages, Contrades recorded the second-highest peak exit velocity on the team at 109.6 miles per hour, according to ASU Baseball Analytics. Recognizing his potential, junior infielder Luke Keaschall said Contrades may struggle initially but will find his footing and contribute to the team this season.

“We’re going to have a lot of new guys who are getting their feet wet, but I think once they get settled in halfway through the year, they’ll be good," Keaschall said. "I think Nu’u is going to be able to figure it out. It might be a little slow, but once he gets going, I think he’s going to be good.”

Contrades spends his free time off the field with his roommate, fellow freshman infielder Luke Hill. Contrades said he grew close to Hill during the fall semester and is eager to play next to him in the middle infield. Echoing Contrades’ excitement, Hill said the team’s freshmen are tight-knit and working to build strong chemistry. 

With his freshman season in sight, Contrades hasn’t set personal goals and seeks to build a winning team culture. He said he is excited to participate in ASU’s rivalry with UA and face the Wildcats this season. Above all, he is grateful to play for Bloomquist and promised to do his best whenever he’s on the field.

“Being with Bloomquist during this era of Sun Devil baseball has been super special,” Contrades said. “The way he took me in is great, and I just want to pay him back by giving my all and performing.”

Edited by Walker Smith, Jasmine Kabiri and Grace Copperthite.

Reach the reporter at and follow @jackcbarron on Twitter. 

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