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Baseball America's Analysis Of The Dirtbags And Wildcats


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Welcome to Dirtbags Baseball blog! I was introduced to Long Beach State baseball in 2002 when my nephew, Neil Jamison, joined the team (and university) as a freshman. I started the blog in March of 2004, and generally discuss the team, current players and those that have moved on to professional baseball - as Neil has done in the San Diego Padres organization. Living in San Diego County, and with Neil moving to the next level, I won't be attending as many Dirtbags games. But, mostly from a distance, I'll remain a Dirtbags fan. I welcome tips on stories and information concerning the Dirtbags (current, past and future). I can be contacted at


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Thursday, June 10, 2004

Baseball America's Analysis Of The Dirtbags And Wildcats

Baseball America scouts the Super Regionals as follows (read the entire article here):

College baseball is down to its Sweet 16, and we're just a week away from the College World Series. We've told you about these teams all year, but in one of the season's most exciting weekends, we turn the analysis over to professional area scouts and college assistant coaches who have watched the 16 remaining teams during the season....


Arizona Wildcats

Coach: Andy Lopez (third season at Arizona; three trips to Omaha, two with Florida, one with Pepperdine, where he won the 1992 CWS title).

How U of A Got Here: Won the South Bend, Ind., regional, beating host Notre Dame.

Fab Five: So. OF Trevor Crowe (.337-5-31 with 23 steals); Fr. SS Jason Donald (.323-7-41); So. 1B Jordan Brown (.326-11-53); Jr. RHP Koley Kolberg (9-6, 4.52 with 110 strikeouts and 59 walks in 131 innings); So. RHP John Meloan (8-0, 4.89 with 55 strikeouts and 33 walks in 70 innings).

Lowdown on the Wildcats: "There are some great athletes; they have that freshman shortstop and he's going to be pretty good. Crowe can hit and he can run. Offensively they are very difficult to pitch to because they don't strike out a lot and run deep counts.

"Arizona took some good passes at Weaver the first time they played, and his strikeouts were low. So you have to play good defense because you won't get nine, 10, 11 strikeouts. If you get the first guy out it strips their game plan in terms of bunting and hit-and-run. They can put one or two (runs) on the board any time because they are so feisty and have good at-bats, but don't have the thunder to get a bunch at once.

"They have good flexibility left and right and they can run, but there's no big power. The addition of Brown into the lineup in the middle of the year has added a middle-of-the-order threat. He hit 11 home runs in like half a season. One through nine, they can hit. Even (second baseman John) Hardy's down at the bottom and he's legit.

"Kolberg without question has the stuff to be a No. 1 guy. The whole staff turns on him. He will stay in the game a long time because there's not a lot of confidence in the bullpen. If you get in that bullpen, you can really get to them. Be patient with Kolberg. He's thrown a lot of pitches this year, and came back to close that one in the ninth last week, so he could be tiring. I think Arizona has its hands full."

Long Beach State 49ers

Coach: Mike Weathers (third season at Long Beach State).

How the Beach Got Here: Swept through the Palo Alto, Calif., regional, beating Stanford in the final.

Fab Five: Jr. RHP Jered Weaver (15-1, 1.65 with 201 strikeouts and 19 walks in 136 innings); So. LHP Cesar Ramos (11-4, 2.12 with 94 strikeouts and 33 walks in 127 innings); Jr. DH/LHP Jason Vargas (.355-5-32 and 7-6, 4.23 with 86 strikeouts and 29 walks in 104 innings); So. OF John Bowker (.332-7-41); So. SS Troy Tulowitski (.313-6-41).

Lowdown on the Dirtbags: "It's the same old song and dance for them. It's all about legit pitching and defense. They are going to hit enough at Blair Field. They tend to hit more away from Blair. There are capable hitters in that lineup. If they get to Omaha they will be an offensive team and can surprise some people. To beat Long Beach you need to keep it close. They play little ball, but play it closer to the vest because they know they can beat you 2-1. They're not going to put you away because they don't score enough. If you stay close, you can get a big hit late and make a comeback, like St. John's almost did (in regionals). Four runs might be enough to beat them sometimes.

"With Weaver and Ramos and Vargas, they have as good starting pitching as is left in the tournament. Can you get enough runs to beat them? No one's really proved it yet. There's nothing conventional about their pitchers. Weaver, the way he throws with that delivery and command, you don't see that much. Ramos just goes changeups and fastballs and command. The number three guy, Vargas, he's the most conventional using mostly his fastball. All those guys are like golfers in the tee box: They just focus on the pitch, and it doesn't matter if they give up three hits in a row, they still look like nothing's changed. I'm not thoroughly in love with their pen. (Neil) Jamison and (Brian) Anderson are OK, but they're not starting.* It's a good bullpen, not a great one.
*My comments: [Hand raised]...pick me! Ummmm, is it really fair to criticize a bullpen because it's populated with pitchers who are not starting? I'd like to know which schools have bullpens filled with starting pitchers.

"Defensively, Tulowitski is really good at shortstop. (Brad) Davis is a Gold Glover behind the plate and (Mike) Hofius is Gold Glove caliber at first. Second base has been a trouble spot. They're ranked really high in defense, but they don't make as many plays as most teams because the pitchers get so many strikeouts...."**
**My comments II: Pick me again! Is is really fair to criticize a defense because they don't get as many chances to make plays as teams with inferior pitching? Hey BA, who wrote this stuff anyway - nameless assistance coaches and area scouts I see.

My final comments on this piece. Much of it is good analysis, but I really wonder whether the editors at Baseball America asked themselves whether parts of this make any sense at all!

posted on 6/10/2004 by Jeff Agnew

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