Fall Report: Cal State FullertonFall Report
FULLERTON, Calif. — Normally, any report on the Titans would entail a lot of talk about how deep and talented the pitching staff is, how the infield is fundamentally sound and the batting order is scrappy and fast.
This isn’t one of those normal years for Fullerton, because while the last two components of that statement above are true, the biggest question mark coming out of the fall session is the pitching staff.
Make no mistake, head coach Rick Vanderhook made sure to let me know that the pitching staff will be talented, led by expected staff ace Tanner Bibee, a super-soph All American who is ready to take the bull by the horns on Fridays. But other that it is all about who will take what roles in the rotation, in the midweek and in the bullpen.
When I asked coach Vanderhook what he would say his rotation would be if opening day was today, he responded, “If it were up to me the starting rotation would be Tanner Bibee, Tanner Bibee and Tanner Bibee.”
After seeing the Titans play a pair of fall scrimmages against Arizona and New Mexico State, you could certainly see there are flashes of typical Titan modus operandi on this roster. And in case you have forgotten that Titan mentality has won seven of the last nine Big West championships and has won 30-plus games for 44 consecutive seasons at the Division I level.
“We put an emphasis on hitting this fall more than we normally do,” Vanderhook said. “I thought we handled the bat pretty well in our scrimmages, considering it was the first time these guys had seen a breaking ball because our pitchers don’t throw them in the fall.”
Let’s start with the bad news first, if you will. But again, is there ever really “bad” news when it comes to the Titans mound staff? Not really. You’ll see here that coach Vanderhook considers this to be a talented arms corps and expects them to keep the team in contention for another post-season run.
“We haven’t been young on the mound like this in a long time,” Vanderhook said. “There has been some scuffling and struggling on the mound this fall. We still have to establish an identity there.”