- The fall series starts Friday. I’ve been out to watch several practices and scrimmages. The trick to watching fall baseball is to separate the meaningful from the meaningless. Unfortunately, I have yet to master that trick. Hey! That pitcher struck out the side. Is that good or bad? We won’t really know until the spring who is going to help the Shockers. Nonetheless, here are some observations:
- The spot I will be watch most closely in series games is second base. Freshman Tyler Coughenour looks like he can handle it defensively and he hits with some power. By unofficial count, he has one of two home runs with the new bats (which aren’t as bouncy) over the past week. Sophomore Walker Davidson started the fall as the favorite due to his defense. It appears Coughenour will make winning the spot a challenge.
- Freshman Dayne Parker is playing shortstop behind Tyler Grimes, who is hitting the ball well. At third, Erik Harbutz and freshman Josh Halbert are on the clock. Freshman Cale Elam plays several positions and is pitching. Johnny Coy is working in left field, as well as first base. When he plays the outfield, Ryan Hege often steps in at first.
- The most interesting move I’ve seen is sophomore outfielder Garrett Bayliff as a pitcher. He pitched in high school and, apparently, he’s doing well enough the coaches are giving it a serious look.
- The top-of-the-line pitchers – Tim Kelley, Brian Flynn, Charlie Lowell – are throwing this fall. Some falls, the experienced returners take a break. I’m not sure how much we will see them in the series.
- Freshman pitcher Kris Gardner had shoulder surgery and isn’t throwing this fall.
- Reliever Grant Muncrief threw for the first time this fall on Monday.
- Grimes and Chris O’Brien appear to be the hottest hitters this fall. Both of them look like the veterans they are. They’re not trying to do too much and, as so happens, they’re hitting to all fields and hitting line drives. WSU needs both of them to hit consistently in 2011.
- Expect the series rosters on Wednesday. Pitching coach Brent Kemnitz will divide the pitchers and coach Gene Stephenson will split up the rest of the roster.