Minneapolis Regional BreakdownPostseason
Most Exciting Player: Terrin Vavra, ss, Minnesota. An All-Big 10 first-team selection and a finalist for the Brooks Wallace Award given to the nation’s best shortstop, Vavra can hit for average and power. He’s the son of a coach, so he has a terrific baseball IQ as well.
Best Hitter: Terrin Vavra, ss, Minnesota. The Golden Gophers’ top weapon has finally been freed of chronic back issues that plagued his first two seasons and didn’t let him showcase his full skill set. Vavra has the regional’s highest average at .385 to go with 10 homers and 55 RBIs.
Best Defensive Player: Daniel Amaral, cf, UCLA. The son of former big leaguer Rich Amaral and younger brother of Mariners farmhand Beau Amaral, Daniel gets great jumps and can track balls into the gaps well. He’s not afraid of the wall as has been evident by some of the terrific catches he’s made throughout his career.
Best Pitcher: Patrick Fredrickson, rhp, Minnesota. Only a freshman, Fredrickson has already earned a Big 10 Pitcher of the Year award. He locates his fastball well and has good feel for a 78-81 slider and an 82-83 changeup that he’s unafraid to throw in any count..
X-Factor: Siebert Field. The Gophers will be tough to beat at their home field hosting a regional for the first time in 18 years. Their opener against Canisius has already been sold out.
Best Starting Rotation: Gonzaga. Minnesota, UCLA and Gonzaga all in the top 30 nationally in hits per nine and walks allowed per nine innings and in the top 10 in the country in ERA and WHIP making it tough to choose, but Gonzaga’s starters consistently go deep in games. Daniel Bies, Alek Jacob and Mac Lardner all have ERAs below 3.00, opponents averages lower than .250 and have combined for 271 strikeouts.
Best Bullpen: UCLA. The sheer volume of options that the Bruins can call out gives them the nod. Three relievers with 30+ appearances tells you their value to the baby blue.
Best Offensive Team: Minnesota. The Gophers have five hitters batting above .300, five hitters with five or more home runs, five hitters with at least 32 RBIs, four batters with 40 or more runs, four batters with double-digit doubles and three players with double-digit stolen bases. And it all starts with Vavra.
Best Defensive Team: Gonzaga. Fielding percentage doesn’t tell the whole story when it comes to team fielding, but when you are second in the country by mere percentage points, you are playing some strong D.
No. 1 Seed Win Probability (1-10): 5. The pitching staffs of UCLA and Gonzaga have quality depth. If this regional goes to Monday will the Gophers be able to say the same?