Wednesday's (10-22) Baseball Practice Notes

Big day at the plate for Putnam

Fall Practice is now halfway complete as the team prepares for the upcoming season. Today's practice session saw another intrasquad game which was highlighted by Danny Putnam's two home runs. On the mound, a veteran right hander put together one of the most impressive outings of any hurler this fall. Read on for all the latest from Sunken.

The fall season has reached its midpoint as today's practice saw yet another intrasquad game.  In this afternoon's contest, the Blue Team and the White Team faced live pitching while pitchers Drew Ehrlich, Matt Leva, and David O'Hagan saw time on the hill.

Blue Team
1. Brian Hall, CF
2. Adam Sorgi, SS
3. Danny Putnam, RF
4. John Hester, C
5. Ryan Seawell, LF
6. Joe Ayers, 2B/3B

White Team
1. Jim Rapoport, RF
2. Jonny Ash, 3B
3. Jed Lowrie, SS
4. Donny Lucy, C
5. Ben Summerhays, 1B
6. Ryan Kissick
7. Zachary Gianos

The Red Team only played in the field.  Unlike yesterday, today's game wasn't very competitive as the Blue Team crushed the White Team by a 10-0 score in a game that lasted 5 1/2 innings.  The majority of the offense on the Blue Team came from Sorgi, Putnam, and Hester.  In particular, Putnam had a spectacular game.  The junior outfielder finished the day 3-for-4 with two home runs, a triple, and three RBI.  Both of his homers were to the opposite field and one time it didn't even appear that Putnam got his whole body into the swing.  This is a guy who certainly had his breakout year last season, but it appears that Putnam is ready to take on the role of the star player in this lineup, the go-to-guy.  That's also now three homers in the last two days for Putnam.

Hester and Sorgi also each went 3-for-4 today.  Hester rapped out two singles and a triple to the right center field gap.  I think Lucy has a strong handle on the starting catching position right now, but that doesn't mean Hester won't see a lot of playing time this year.  If not some at DH, Hester would be one of the top right handed pinch hitters on the team.  And if needed, the 6'4" sophomore from Georgia could certainly play a very steady catcher.

The White Team had a tough time of it today.  No player had a multi-hit game as the team collected just four hits combined.  Lucy had the only extra base hit for the team, a ringing double down the left field line.  One aspect of Lucy's game that I continue to be impressed with his is improved patience at the plate.  A knock on Lucy's game over his first two years on The Farm has been is inability to draw walks.  This started to get better in the final few weeks last year, and I'm seeing even more improvement this fall.  Lucy is taking close pitches and has shown that he'll take the walk.  And I know I'm just jinxing him, but Donny is the only player with a significant number of at-bats this fall to not yet strike out.

On the hill, the star of the afternoon was senior David O'Hagan.  O'Hagan fired five excellent innings today yielding only one run on four hits (the lone run was one of Putnam's homers).  He walked two and struck out four and his breaking ball looked as good as ever.  I know I've already written about this before, but I really believe that Coach Marquess would like to have O'Hagan come out of the bullpen this year.  That's not to say he can't start.  O'Hagan has shown in the summer that he can go seven, eight, and even nine innings, but think what a pitcher like O'Hagan with his tremendous versatility could do out of the 'pen.  He can come in and get one batter to end the game.  He has plenty of big-game experience.  And, as mentioned, he can go more than just one time through the batting order.  I personally feel that O'Hagan is the third best pitcher on this staff, right now.  Whether Coach Marquess uses O'Hagan as a starter could very well depend on the success and maturity of some of the younger pitchers, most notably Greg Reynolds who looks to have a very good shot at cracking the weekend rotation this year.

Frosh Matt Leva was up-and-down today, but I was still encouraged by his performance.  In 3 2/3 innings, Leva allowed five runs (three earned) on six hits with one walk and four K's.  In two of his innings today, he breezed through the opposing hitters, but he did run into some trouble in his other two frames.  Still, I like the fact that Leva continues to challenge, especially on the inside corner.  He's shown excellent composure on the mound and also has displayed good control.  The last two runs he surrendered was on a Putnam homer to left.  Leva showcased a very nice change-up today.

Finally, senior Drew Ehrlich had a tough time on the mound.  He allowed four runs (three earned) on four hits in three innings.  Drew walked four and struck out three.  All four of the runs he gave up were in his first inning of work, so it was nice to see him settle down and throw two scoreless innings after the early problems.

Notes:
* As mentioned above, another strong day at the plate for Adam Sorgi.  He went 3-for-4 with a double, RBI, and a walk.  Jim Rapoport also had another hit today along with a walk and a stolen base.  After the first half of fall ball, I think it's clear that Sorgi and Rapoport are a cut above the other freshman position players right now.  I see Sorgi pushing for time at the middle infield positions this year while Rapoport can play any of the three outfield spots.

* Today was the sloppiest fielding day of the fall.  The team made numerous errors during infield and outfield drills prior to the intrasquad game.  Then during the game, Ash committed two errors at third, Lewis one at second, and Lowrie one at short.  Chalk it up to just a bad all around, but it's clear that Stanford's infield defense isn't quite where Coach Marquess wants it yet.

* The particular positions that each infielder will likely see the most time at this year are starting to come into focus.  First base continues to just be manned by Mayberry, Jr. and Summerhays.  I have yet to see Junior play any in the outfield.  Lowrie and Sorgi are both working out at second and short.  In fact, those are the only two players right now seeing extended time at shortstop during games.  Minaker and Ash are each both mainly playing second and third.  Lewis is moving all over the diamond.  In the infield, he's primarily seeing time at second, but also at third.  Lewis is also playing more corner outfield of late.  Ayers has been playing mostly second and third.

* In the outfield, Putnam is playing exclusively right field during intrasquad, but is still working out some in left during drills.  Hall is playing both left and center.  I think if we see a Hall-Fuld-Putnam outfield this year, it will have Hall in left with Putnam in right.  That particular arrangement would certainly be able to cover a lot of ground.  If Hall moves to the infield (he's not played any infield this fall because of an apparent arm injury), then Carter or Rapoport would likely slide into his place.  Carter is now working out in left while Rapoport can play anywhere.  And again, Lewis is playing much more out in the outfield of late.

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