Top 25 Breakdown: No. 18 StanfordSeason Preview
2016 Record: 31-23. RPI: 74.
Coach (Record at school): Mark Marquess (1585-862-7, 40 years).
Ballpark: Klein Field at Sunken Diamond (Capacity: 4,000).
Postseason History: 32 regionals (last in 2014), 16 CWS trips (last in 2008), 2 national titles (last in 1988).
More: Fall Report on Stanford
Stanford's Projected Lineup
|C||Bryce Carter, Jr.||.273/.321/.390||1||13||1|
|1B||Matt Winaker, Jr.||.254/.356/.360||1||23||0|
|2B||Duke Kinamon, So.||.243/.313/.330||2||11||2|
|3B||Mikey Diekroeger, Jr.||.220/.301/.365||4||26||1|
|SS||Nico Hoerner, So.||.254/.298/.311||0||24||1|
|LF||Quinn Brodey, Jr.||.280/.302/.445||7||41||2|
|CF||Jack Klein, Sr.||.197/.295/.336||5||21||5|
|RF||Brandon Wulff, So.||.270/.356/.338||1||10||0|
|DH||Alex Dunlap, Sr.||.292/.392/.447||4||21||1|
|RHP||Tristan Beck, So.||6-5||2.48||83.1||76||26||0|
|LHP||Chris Castellanos, Sr.||8-2||3.41||87||42||15||0|
|RHP||Brett Hanewich, Sr.||3-2||3.92||43.2||30||22||0|
|RP||Colton Hock, Jr.||4-5||2.03||57.2||61||24||6|
Grading The Cardinal
Just as scouts grade prospects using the 20-80 scouting scale, we use a 20-80 scale to evaluate teams in our top 25. A score of 50 in each category is average, relative to a typical NCAA tournament team; 55 is slightly above-average; 60 is above-average (plus); 70 is well above-average (plus-plus); 80 is top of the scale, historically strong. Accordingly, 45 is fringe-average or slightly below-average; 40 is below-average; 30 is well below-average; and 20 is the extreme in that direction.
If you just look at last year’s numbers, you’re probably wondering why Stanford is in the Top 25. The Cardinal offense ranked 248th in the nation in batting and 220th in scoring; no Stanford regular even hit .300. But this year is not last year, and this year there is plenty of reason to expect a number of returning players to take big steps forward. Many of them seemed to do just that in the fall, led by middle infielders Hoerner and Kinamon, who figure to make this offense go. Hoerner has always had decent contact skills, but he’s gotten bigger and stronger since his freshman year, and he has shown the plate discipline to be a very good table-setter. Kinamon has sneaky strength to the gaps in his 5-foot-11 frame and should blossom into a key contributor now that he’ll get the chance to play every day as a sophomore.
The other key righthanded bat in the lineup is Dunlap, a physical senior who was the team’s leading hitter a year ago and one of its top run producers. Klein, another senior righthanded hitter, isn’t likely to put up gaudy offensive numbers but “really came on” in the fall, according to Mark Marquess. And Wulff is an emerging sophomore righty bat who could wind up platooning at a corner outfield spot with athletic bat-handler Alec Wilson and sweet-swinging freshman Kyle Stowers, both lefties. Another freshman, infielder Daniel Bakst, was a blue-chip recruit with a track record of strong performance for the USA junior national team. His advanced righthanded bat could force him into the lineup somewhere.
Of course, Stanford’s best player is Brodey, a premium athlete with emerging strength in his lefthanded swing. He followed up a quality sophomore season with a breakout summer in the Cape, where he showed advanced barrel awareness, the ability to shoot line drives to the opposite gap or turn on the ball with authority. Another lefty, Carter, was a high-profile recruit who struggled with offspeed stuff as a freshman but made some adjustments and started to come into his own in the second half of his sophomore year; he looks like a real breakout candidate as a junior. Diekroeger and Winaker are two mature veteran lefty hitters who should grind out at-bats and get on base much more consistently in 2017 than they did in their disappointing (and, in Diekroeger’s case, injury-plagued) 2016 campaigns.
Already a subscriber? Log In to access this article.