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Fall Ball Summary


All right, with fall ball finished, and Thanksgiving in the rear view mirror, we can count the days to the 2005 season.  With that in mind, here is my summary of Fall Ball 2004.   Remember, this is done mostly in fun, but it is based on my observations, and conversations with other persons at the ball park.  2005 should be a fantastic season, and quite frankly, anything less than Omaha would be a disappointment.  However, as we have learned in previous seasons, health can play a factor.


With that said, on to my views,  by position.  I will start with the catcher position, move through the infield, out to the outfield, and then finish with pitching.  Please remember this is my opinion only.



Depth chart - Dini, Madden, Everett, Griener, Robert.

Once again, catching seems to be a team effort.   Dini had the starting job locked up, but due to some circumstances, found himself not playing the 2nd half of Fall Ball.   Assuming he makes it back in the spring (and nothing has surfaced that he won't), Dini should be the starter.   Madden will relieve, and will rotate with others at the DH.  The most interesting aspect of the catching position was the emergence of Cat Everett.   Similar to Bormaster, Everett is an infielder by trade.  Everett showed a surprisingly good pop time, and has a solid arm.  Since SS will be occupied by Manzella this year, Catcher might provide Everett with some playing time. Griener will have a tough time squeezing in, and Marc Robert will most likely redshirt, and be the bullpen catcher. 


1st Base:

Depth chart - Hamilton, Owings, Rebowe, Morgan

Hamilton worked hard over the summer, and has improved his defense, so he will most likely be the starter at the beginning of the season.  Since Owings had arthroscopic surgery, and was unable to participate in fall ball, it's hard to know where he is going to play.  I suspect he will rotate among starting pitcher, outfield, 1st base, and DH.   Trying to guess what Coach Jones will do is difficult, but he always goes with the hot bat, so it's safe to say the hot bat will play.  Rebowe played most of fall ball at 1st (and can play OF), with Morgan playing occasionally.   It's hard to say how much they will see playing time there, but Jones has been known to make defensive changes late in the game - such as Guidry last year at 3rd. 


2nd Base:

Depth chart - Holland, Guidry (Everett / Emaus/ Barnett)

Holland is the best defensive 2nd baseman we have, but has struggled at the plate lately.   I think that he's still your starter, but since Guidry spent time at 2nd, you might see him play there.  If something drastic were to happen, I guess you could see some kind of shift happen, with Emaus, Manzella, Barnett, and Guidry moving around to cover 2nd, SS, and 3rd.   Quite honestly, I think the position is Holland's to lose.



Depth chart: Manzella, Everett, Barnett, Emaus

Manzella returns, and quite frankly, the position is his to lose.  Everett is the player of the future, so I suspect he will get some playing time here and there.   Tommy was hitting the ball pretty good in the fall, and Everett did a good job.   Everett should make the 4th straight outstanding SS since Cannizaro, Tony G., and Manzella.   Could we have 4 SS in the pros one day?? Cannizaro and Tony G should both be at AA next year, and Tony G. was named one of the outstanding prospects by Baseball America. 

Barnett also played a few innings at SS, and could see some playing time here and there.


3rd Base:

Depth chart: Emaus, Guidry, (Whitman? or Barnett)

Emaus is the Freshman from Georgia, and had an outstanding fall ball.  Great glove, strong arm, and good bat.  Obviously, he still needs to improve, but I think the position is his to lose.  Guidry will probably see some time, just like last year.  After that, it's anyone's guess.  Whitman played all fall at 3rd, and Barnett played some SS, so maybe one of them would be moved to 3rd if necessary.



Depth chart: Bogusevic, Barket, Owings, Southard, McFadden, (Rice, Rebowe, Riser, Powell, Griener),

Well, we have 2 positions that are log jammed - Outfield and DH.  They will intertwine with each other throughout the season, as will the pitching.  When Bogusevic and Owings pitch, they will be their own DH, so that will leave an odd man out at DH (most likely Madden).  So, to keep it simple, let's look at it this way.


Bogey and Barket are a lock for the starting outfield.  I suspect that the 3rd outfield spot would be Owings, Southard, or McFadden.  The 3rd outfielder will come down to who's hot at the plate, or who matches up better with the opposing pitcher. 


As for the rest of the depth chart, Rice had a good fall, and even though I didn't see Rebowe play outfield, I suspect either Rice, Rebowe or Riser would be next in line.  Riser brings in some impressive power stats from Pearl River CC in Mississippi, so I would suspect he would get some innings early in the year. Again, the hot bat plays. Powell is a freshman from Newman, and will have to battle for any playing time.



As we were talking at the practices, this is a team of DH's.  I would suspect that we will see at least 7 or 8 different people at DH throughout the early part of the year.   Owings, Bogusevic, Hamilton, Madden, Morgan, Everett, Dini, and Riser could all see time at DH, somewhere along the line.  Others might come into the picture later on.



Ok, this is the toughest part of the whole discussion.  Pitching will be determined by 2 things - health and throwing strikes.  Let's start with the health part, as several of our pitchers are still in rehab, and won't be through until January, February, or March. 


Healthy Starters: Mohl, Bogusevic. 

Probable starters, a little banged up: Gomes, Crowel, Owings.

So, right there we have 5 starters, and most weeks we have 4 games.   I suspect that Jones will find 4 healthy guys that can throw strikes, and then stick with them.  That would leave us with a bunch of guys fighting for innings.


Fairchild, Worster, Goebel, Latham, Morgan, Kimmons, Garrett, Connick, Porlier, Barnett, Young.  That's 11 guys fighting for innings.   Here's how my crystal ball looks (and it gets foggy sometimes :) ).


Mid Relief / possible starters:

If one of the starters is unable to start, or does not fully recover, I would suspect that the veterans would get a shot at some innings.  Goebel returns, and has some good stuff, his weakness in the past has been consistency.   Latham is another guy in that category, and gave the Wave some great innings last year.   Again, consistency is the key.  


That would leave us with Worster, Kimmons, Garrett, Connick, Porlier, Barnett and Young.  Worster is coming back from off-season surgery, and is still doing rehab.   He might be ready to return by February.   Porlier is a freshman, and is recovering from Tommy John.   He is supposedly on the same schedule as Gomes, although Gomes did throw from the mound very late in Fall Ball, and Porlier did not. 


Kimmons was used in relief last year, and still has that great breaking ball.   He's got to get better / more consistent with his other pitches.  He needs to keep the runners from advancing, as well.  Our change in pitching coaches might benefit Kimmons.


That leaves the young guns.  Garrett, Connick, Barnett, and Young.   All 4 of the guys saw plenty of playing time in the fall.   Barnett is a Transfer from UMASS, and had a decent fall.  He also saw a little time in the field, so he is a versatile player.  Garrett and Connick both started during Fall Ball.   Garrett is your typical right hand pitcher.   Connick is your typical "crafty lefty" that will drive you crazy with off-speed pitches.  Both of the guys had their moments this fall, I just think that it is going to be very difficult to get playing time.   Jones usually limits spring outings to around 5 innings, so maybe they can get some innings early in the year, and establish themselves as the go to guy.



Fairchild and Morgan will be the primary closers, with Latham getting some innings.  Morgan lit it up in Fall Ball, and absolutely dominated at times. It's been a long time since we have had the dominate righty that can hit 90's on the fastball, and hit 80's on a lively slider.


I've always liked Fairchild, and if he can throw strikes, and stay healthy, I hope that he will push Morgan for appearance time.  At this point, however, I would give the edge to Morgan.  Latham will also relieve, but I'm not sure he will be the closer.  That would give us 3 right hand closers, and I suspect that Jones will look for a lefty closer somewhere along the line, possibly the freshman Young.


Final Comment:

Please take all of these comments as they were intended - simply some insight into how I see, or saw, the team developing during Fall Ball.   There's always the exceptions - the guy that played great during fall ball suddenly disappears, and the guy that was absent during fall ball suddenly appears in the spring.   I am not a professional scout, nor do I intend my comments to be construed as such.   I appreciate every single one of the guys on the team - they have far more talent than I ever had.  


Let's get behind this team, and watch them bring us to the promised land. 


Feel free to disagree, and if you want your comments (or disagreements posted), I will do so.



Back to Fall Ball 2004 Pictures

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