WSU Baseball: Looking At The 2013 Depth Chart
The WSU baseball season begins in mid-February, about two and a half months away, so I thought this would be a good time to take a brief look at what the Cougars depth chart may look like in 2013.
After talking to my contact from WSU Media Communication, and a little work on my part, I have what should be a pretty accurate look at what the depth chart looks like come February. Quick disclaimer: This is not set in stone, and should not be taken as absolute fact. This is what the depth chart looks like now and most likely looks like when the season begins.
Before we get into the word/number heavy part, I’ve got a cool graphic for you to check out. After you’ve sufficiently appreciated the graphic, head through the jump for my explanation of said graphic!
Three of the four guys currently in the rotation got significant starting time last season, Scott Simon being the only one with less than 12 starts (he had one). The most interesting part of this group is the exclusion of J.D. Leckenby, who has been moved into the closer role, but more on that later.
There’s some decent experience in that rotation, with a sophomore, sophomore, redshirt sophomore and senior, respectively. Before he got tired late last season, Pistorese impressed, so his inclusion in the 2013 rotation is not at all surprising. Chleborad is a hard throwing righty who has high upside.
There’s a lot more to be said about the rotation, but that’s better suited for a separate post.
Here we’ve got an interesting situation, two players that essentially split time 50/50 behind the plate in 2012, with different skill sets.
For each position I’m going to include the following chart, where “games” means total number of games they appeared in the game for at least one AB at that respective position. 20 does not necessarily mean they played 20 whole games, it just means that in 20 games they made an appearance at that position.
I would imagine these two continue splitting time next year, based on which skill set Coach Marbut would like in that particular game. Both hit for similar averages, while Slaybaugh brings serious speed and Jones provides more power potential.
Baring injury to either one, I see this position being played the same way it was in 2012, split time. An interesting prospect for such an important position.
The Cougars lost two year starter and slugger Taylor Ard, who was drafted by the Mariners last summer. The only person currently on the roster that had any time at first in 2012 was Jason Monda, but he’s not an option.
What we’re looking at is Brett Jacobs, who played in the outfield his first three years here, and Matt Mendenhall, a freshman. Jacobs was injured last year and didn’t get any playing time, so we have two unknowns at first this year.
The most I have for the table here is Jacobs’ stat line from 2011, the last time he got any at bats. My original guess was that Jacobs stayed in the outfield this season, but my contact said otherwise.
Second is the other position that is a big question mark going into next season, as the two deep at the position currently has two true freshman.
Trek Stemp and Shea Donlin will both get a chance to win this position I would guess, so neither should be viewed as the sure-fire starter just yet.
The Cougars lost Tommy Richards to graduation, a very solid second baseman. With two true freshman fighting for the spot, a lot of the middle infield defense will lie with the two returning shortstops from 2012.
Adam Nelubowich (pronounced nelbow-witch) was the only player on the roster with any experience at third in 2012, making six appearances. That being said, I’m not surprised to see him end up at third, it was my guess before speaking with my contact.
Nelubowich had six games at third and 16 games in left, but the outfield is pretty cluttered with talent, so his move to the infield was inevitable.
Nelubowich got most of his time in 2012 at DH, and hit four home runs, nine doubles and a triple. His bat is good and still developing into what could be a pretty good corner infield plate presence.
Trace Tam Sing was the starter heading into 2012 before injuries derailed his season fairly early, when Ian Sagdal took over. It would appear the coaching staff is still decently high on Tam Sing, even after Sagdal took over and made a strong case for himself.
Although Tam Sing is listed above Sagdal on the two deep, I would imagine Sagdal is given an opportunity to win the job again.
|Trace Tam Sing||6||17||.118||.250||.118|
Neither bat is spectacular, but Sagdal performed very well up the middle with his glove in 2012. Tam Sing had surgery on his shoulder (I believe) last season, so if for some reason it has affected his fielding ability I could see Sagdal keeping this job.
Ben Roberts is someone Cougar fans have been excited to see since he arrived in Pullman last season, when he redshirted. Nate Blackham saw a decent amount of time in left last season as well, making him an obvious choice to back up the redshirt sophomore.
Blackham started out 2012 incredibly hot at the plate, but cooled off significantly once Pac-12 play began, making room for the coaching staff to go with the promising freshman in Roberts.
I saw Roberts hit and field at practice a few times prior to last season and he sure seems to have all the skill needed to play everyday. The year of development in 2012 could have only helped that, I could see Roberts contributing in a large way his first year.
Jason Monda is the obvious choice here, he has essentially the only experience at center on the roster, has a great bat, and got pushed out of left to make room for Ben Roberts. Monda was voted as the Pac-12’s best MLB prospect for this season prior to last year, his bat and glove in the outfield are pretty amazing.
After an incredibly impressive freshman campaign, Monda fell into a bit of a sophomore slump last season. If he can find his freshman form again this year he will probably be the best bat in the Cougar lineup.
Yale Rosen didn’t play much in right during the 2012 season, but more than anyone else (Monda was the only other one, with one game). While Rosen didn’t start, he got into 13 games in relief of Derek Jones, usually late in lopsided games.
While he didn’t show much at the plate in 2012, I know the staff still likes what potential is there for him at the plate, probably the reason they’re going with him over true freshman Tyler Carson.
Well there you have it, the WSU baseball two-deep as it is right now. Remember, things can change between now and February 15. Some of the positions that might be up for grabs stand out as things to look for in the rest of the offseason. Here’s to hoping for an injury free final two months for the Cougars.