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2009 College Baseball Opening Weekend – Little Bit of Everything Version

Quick spin around college baseball’s opening weekend. A whole bunch of Friday starters (and relievers) were already covered, so let’s take a look at some of the most meaningful hitting performances of the weekend. Of course, since I can’t resist, I threw some interesting pitching lines in at the bottom. Small sample size caveats apply, as always.

Hitting Notes

Caleb Shofner (Texas A&M) isn’t a prospect per se, but a weekend like this will get a guy noticed. The draft-eligible sophomore went crazy on opposing pitching, putting up the following numbers: 9-10, HR, 3B, 5 RBI, 11 R, 2 BB, 4 HBP

That’s good for a line of .900/.938/1.400! That’s a mind-boggling three game stretch for anybody, anywhere. There was once an infielder for a top college program that wasn’t highly thought of, but just kept hitting, and hitting, and hitting, and hitting. Eventually, Tony Thomas from Florida State got himself drafted within the top 100 picks by the Cubs (97th overall). It’s a huge stretch to say Shofner can sustain numbers good enough to get noticed like Thomas did, but he’s off to a fantastic start all the same.

Ryan Schimpf: 7-10, HR, 2 2B, 6 RBI, 3 R, 4 BB, 0 K
DJ LeMahieu: 5-9, 3 3B, 3 RBI, 2 R, 1 BB, 0 K

The LSU middle infield wasted no time getting off to hot starts this season. I guess you can’t really waste time if you want to get off to a hot start, right? Schimpf may be a better comparison to Tony Thomas than Shofner was. LeMahieu has three triples through three games. That’s weird.

Brooks Raley: 9-15, 3 2B, 4 RBI, 3 R, 0 BB, 2 K

Raley has had as good a start as any college player in the country. If nothing else, he has the most well-rounded start – the bat has clearly been huge and he pitched a gem of his game to kick off the season. While I’m making up comps with no research, how about Raley as a pre-injury version of Joe Savery?

Ryan Jackson: 3-10, 3B, 2B, 1 RBI, 5 R, 4 BB, 1 K
Yasmani Grandal: 4-7, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 5 R, 6 BB, 1 K
Harold Martinez: 6-15, 2B, 5 RBI, 3 R, 1 BB, 3 K

Jackson is going to be a really fun player to watch this season. His glove is top notch, but his bat has loads of question marks. If he can at least show competence with the bat, he’ll be a premium draft come June. Martinez has played first, third, and a tiny bit of shortstop so far for the Hurricanes.

Ryan Lollis: 6-15, HR, 2 2B, 6 RBI, 5 R, 1 BB, K
Greg Folgia: 5-14, HR, 3B, 2 2B, 3 RBI, 7 R, 3 BB, 3 K

Two pretty promising starts for key players on the Missouri squad. Four of Folgia’s five hits went for extra bases, that’s always nice.

Grant Green: 2-11, HR, 1 RBI, 2 R, 1 BB, 3 K
Robert Stock: 6-11, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 R, 1 BB, 1 K

Tale of two weekends. Green, everybody’s All-American, struggled mightily against the Long Beach State staff, especially through two games (0-8). Stock had a lovely weekend in all phases of the game – hitting, pitching, and throwing players out from behind the dish. His power will be well worth tracking as the season moves along.

Gabe Cohen: 5-11, 4 RBI, 2 R, 4 BB, 0 K

The toolsy Bruin showed a little something this weekend. I’m a sucker for college players with big tools and little production (see Stock, Robert) and Cohen fits the bill. It’s only a weekend, but that BB/K ratio is promising.

Dustin Ackley: 9-13, 3 2B, 2 RBI, 4 R, BB, K
Mark Fluery: 5-10, 3 2B, 6 RBI, 4 R, 2 BB

Ackley just hits. He had a five-hit day on Sunday. Hit, hit, hit, hit, hit. Fluery is one of the many good, not great college catchers eligible for the draft this year. He’s a definite prospect.

Golden Tate: 7-14, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 4 R, 1 BB, 2 K

The star Notre Dame football player with the best name ever had a heck of a start to the season. We know he is a plus athlete, so he’s got that going for him.

Jason Kipnis: 12-17, 3 HR, 3B, 4 2B, 8 RBI, 11 R, 4 BB, K, 2 SB
Carlos Ramirez: 8-14, 4 HR, 3B, 2B, 9 RBI, 6 R, 3 BB, 4 K

I was way down on Kipnis as a prospect heading into this season. Apparently, somebody tipped him off about me slighting him so he has decided to go make me look as bad as humanly possible. Thanks, champ. It’s February 23rd and Jason Kipnis has been on base 16 times already. The man has 8 extra base hits! Ramirez, Kipnis’s Sun Devil teammate, has had a powerful start to his debut season with Arizona State. He is a plus defender behind the plate and another solid 2009 draft catching prospect worth watching.

Positional Notes

Curt Casali (Vanderbilt) played first base, Preston Clark (Texas) played DH, the aforementioned Harold Martinez (Miami) played both first and third (and SS), Brooks Raley hit leadoff and played both outfield corner when not pitching, Andy Burns (Kentucky) started a game at second, and Phil Gosselin (Virginia) played leftfield and second base (after playing mostly on the left side of the infield last year).

Pitching Notes

Alex Wilson (Texas A&M): 6.2 IP 3 H 0 ER 1 BB 14 K 4 GO 2 AO 99 pitches
Matt Harvey (North Carolina): 5 IP 3 H 3 ER 0 BB 11 K 2 GO 1 AO 1 LO, 90 pitches
Brandon Workman (Texas): 7 IP 2 H 0 ER 0 BB 7 K 8 GO 6 AO

Three dominating pitching performances by three excellent prospects. If Wilson is healthy and throwing like this with any kind of consistency, the Aggies are going to be hard to beat this season. Harvey and Workman are both attempting to position themselves at the top of the 2010 draft, with Harvey the clear favorite to go number one overall.

Rob Kumbatovic (Hofstra): 8 IP 9 H 3 ER 0 BB 4 K 100 pitches (L)

Kumbatovic is a junior righthander who pitched a beauty against Florida State. He’s got good size (6-4, 200) and had a few college offers from decent baseball schools (Elon being one of them), but he’s still not considered a prospect of any real consequence. Call him the Caleb Shofner of pitching prospects, I guess. Even though he’s not a prospect, I thought a line like that against competition like that was worth a mention.

Andrew Oliver (Oklahoma State) struck out the first five batters he faced. His first six outs all came on strikeouts. Nice way to start a season, right?

Kyle Blair (San Diego): 5 IP 4 H 5 ER 2 BB 5 K 4 HBP 3 GO 3 AO 3 LO
Alex Meyer (Kentucky): 3 IP 4 H 3 ER 1 BB 1 K 2 GO 6 AO, 59 pitches 2 WP

Blair hit four batters in his debut. Nice way to start a season, right? Meyer’s first college appearance showed he has plenty of room for improvement going forward…

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