Friday, November 12, 2010

Initial Fall Practice Thoughts Pt. II

As soon as I published part I I immediately thought of a handful of other notes and thoughts I had from the fall session of practices and intra-squad series. So without further delay, here are more bullet-points of Buckeye tidbits.

*Catcher- Coach Beals has a small army of backstops. This after Dezse moved from behind the plate to first when in the field, David Fathalikhani transitioned into a pitcher, and DJ Hanlin no longer with the program. Between Brad and Blake Hutton, Steel Russel, Greg Solomon, and Josh Bokor, Ohio State has five full or part-time catchers. Obviously not all five will see action, Blake Hutton and Bokor are both true freshman who are candidates for redshirting, but after that Ohio State has three viable catchers.

From what I witnessed during fall practices and reports around Bill Davis, Solomon stands out defensively behind the plate. No question who the Buckeyes best receiver and backstop is from that end. Solomon also surprised me a bit showing a good bat, putting to rest some of my concerns are an abysmal summer circuit. Living up to expectations at the plate was Brad Hutton. While I believe no Buckeye has more power potential than Dezse, no Buckeye has the power right now in the bat that Hutton does. His swing does have holes, but when he connects there is juice in it. Hutton appears in line for the DH role.

With that said do not forget about Russell. As a true frosh last year, Russell had a very solid S&G World Series but with the reigning Big Ten Player of the Year in Dan Burkhart in front of him, playing time was not to be had forcing a redshirt on Russell. However in another fall series he again showed he has the ability to play at this level. He emerged as the #2 catcher in my opinion behind Solomon with Hutton reserved for DHing.

*Outfield- DeLucia and Wetzel have pretty much secured two thirds of the outfield. The last spot, which will be in left field is very wide-open. Thoughts that perhaps Hunter Mayfield would walk into the vacancy didn't come to fruition. There really was not much separation in the outfield behind DeLucia and Wetzel. Freshman Jacob Hayes received time in the outfield, throwing his name in the hat along with Joe Ciamacco, David Corna, and Mayfield. I expect Mayfield to emerge, but would not count out Hayes.

*Rucinski and Wolosiansky- For Ohio State to get back to the level expected of the program, the season these two have will go a long way in helping that cause. Over the previous three seasons the two have shown flashes of dominance, but for one reason or another those flashes were not continued and provided seasons of ups and downs. The fall practices again showed the two are capable of shutting down the opposition, but consistency was still an issue. As the veterans of the ballclub the pressure is on them more now than ever with the departure of Wimmers to live up to the potential. Perhaps adding the urgency is a new staff that has not promised any positions, and a group of young arms waiting in the wings to step up.

*Transfers- A mixed bag in what the transfer showed. While Hutton and Solomon showed well, the true star of the six transfers was Mike Carroll. Carroll may have had the most impressive bat throughout all of the World Series, unfortunately he is not eligible to play until 2012. On the mound the results weren't as good as at the plate. John Kuchno was shaky in his time on the mound, as was Brock Trimbur. Brad Goldberg dwas able to mix in a few good stretches to overcome his rought spots, but all in all the three pitchers struggled. Kuchno is eligible for the 2011 season as he was not on Wake Forest roster in 2010 while Goldberg will not be after playing for Coastal Carolina a season ago, same for Trimbur who was at Ohio last year.

*Beals and staff- After an era in which Coach Todd had a professional workers-like environment, Beals is trying injected new enthusiasm and of all things fun, back into the program. With his energetic demeanor and aggressive play style, things will be different when you see the Buckeyes next spring.

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