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Dirtbag's 2006 Rankings

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15th in NCBWA
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Posted Articles [View Selected Article Only]

More Articles

A Little Late...Baseball America's Weekend Preview

More On ASU Series

Two Rich Lederer Posts - Jered Weaver And The ASU Series

I'm Back From The Frozen Tundra....I Mean Tempe

Former Dirtbags To Appear At Tsunami Relief Fundraiser Sunday

Pitching Matchups At ASU

It's Time To "Git 'er Done!"

Dirtbags No. 18 in NCBWA Poll

More Info On Opening Weekend Opponent ASU

Former Dirtbag Jeremy Reed Is The "Go 2 Guy"

Boras And Angels Finally Talking Weaver Contract

Dirtbags 7, Alumni 2

Coach Mike Weathers Signs Contract Extension

Long Beach State Is Pipeline To The Show

Dirtbags Ranked No. 16 In ESPN/Sports Weekly Coaches Poll

Four Dirtbags Make Baseball America Top Prospects Lists

Bobby Crosby To Be Honored By Century Club

A Look Back, A Look Ahead

Big Series With ASU On Deck

Where To Buy Dirtbags Stuff

Baseball America's Opinion Of The 2005 Dirtbags

Hometown Press For Neil Jamison

Clock Is Ticking On Jered Weaver Signing

ASU Coach Pat Murphy On Dirtbags And The Big West

Tickets For Arizona State Series Go On Sale January 20

Thank You For Your Support!

Marco Estrada Joins Dirtbags In Key Relief Role

Dirtbags Preseason Roster

Media Day Revelations By Coach Weathers

College Baseball Media Day Will Be Live On The Web

Baseball America's Big West Conference Preview

Coach Weathers Playing Pitching Close To The Vest

Double Diamond Wedding For Mike Hofius

Does Jered Weaver Compare With Mark Prior?

Welcome To Dirtbags Baseball's Site Redesign

Highlights of Baseball America's College Baseball Chat Today

Dirtbags No. 8 in NCBWA Preseason Ranking

Coach Weathers Sounds Ready To Go

Troy Tulowitzki and Cesar Ramos Selected Preseason All-Americans By Baseball America

That's Why They Play The Games - II

Baseball America Puts Dirtbags 22nd in Preseason Ranking

Dirtbags May Be Stretching Recruiting Long Arm To Missouri


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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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This website is not affiliated with Long Beach State University or its NCAA Division I baseball program. All original material copyright 2004-2006 by Jeffrey A. Agnew.

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Monday, January 31, 2005

More Articles

Here are Long Beach Press-Telegram articles on the win Friday against ASU and the series clinching win on Sunday. No P-T article on the loss Saturday.

A Little Late...Baseball America's Weekend Preview

I was travelling, so I didn't get this one up on Friday. Baseball America had this to say about the Dirtbags:
Mike Weathers knew there would be questions about his Long Beach State pitching staff this year, but not these kinds of questions.

First, people continue asking if 2004 College Player of the Year Jered Weaver, the Angels' still-unsigned first-round pick, will return for his senior year.

Actually, Weaver did return to pitch in a Dirtbags uniform. He took the mound at Blair Field for the alumni team in an exhibition game against the ’05 Dirtbags last Saturday. Weaver struck out two in an inning of work, but won't pitch again for Long Beach State.

"He had thrown a few bullpens lately and told me he wanted to pitch," Weathers said. "He was about 50 percent, but still struck out two of our guys. Really, it was just great for the fans to see him here again."

Calls also started trickling into Weathers' office about 6-foot-7 sophomore righthander Jared Hughes, who transferred in from Santa Clara. Word was Hughes had decided to leave Long Beach State, and some junior-college coaches and area scouts started chasing the rumor. No need.

"He's here," Weathers said. "I don't know where that started, but it's like any other rumor."

That brings things to the third most popular question, one that actually has some substance: Who will be in No. 22 Long Beach State's rotation when it travels to Tempe to face No. 9 Arizona State this weekend?

Weaver and fellow 2004 starter Jason Vargas, who started for the alumni Saturday team after pitching on Sundays last year, surely will not be.

Turning over a significant part of the rotation is nothing new for Weathers. The 2003 rotation featured Abe Alvarez, followed by Weaver and Cesar Ramos. One has left per year, with the lefthanded Ramos moving up to Friday in this, his junior year, after a 12-4, 2.29 sophomore season on Saturdays.

"Obviously you know what you get with Cesar: He's not overpowering, but throws strikes and induces contact with his cutter and command," pitching coach Troy Buckley said. "It's his chance to establish the (tone for the) weekend being a Friday night guy. He's been able to see those two guys in front of him and how they did it."

Cody Evans, a 6-foot-5 righthander, transferred in from Golden West (Calif.) Community College to serve as the Saturday starter. Evans rang up five strikeouts against one walk in six innings against the alumni, allowing two runs on five hits.

This year's Sunday starter? That's another question. Weathers didn't plan to decide until the last minute, listing the candidates as Hughes, senior righthander Neil Jamison (3-5, 4.35 with 12 saves in '04) and junior righthander Marco Estrada, who transferred in from Glendale (Calif.) Community College.

The best-case scenario for Long Beach State is for Hughes to earn a weekend rotation spot. If he does, Jamison and Estrada will shift to the bullpen to join senior Brian Anderson and junior Brett Andrade in what should prove to be a team strength. It will need to be, as the staff lost 72 percent of its innings pitched from last year.

Buckley is certain five pitchers won't throw 85 percent of the team's innings this year, and said this could be his most challenging year as a coach. But he looks forward to that challenge.

"We have a lot of plugging in to do and have to see how season progresses,” Buckley said. "We're not obviously as top end (heavy) as we were, but we do have the talent, probably 10 guys that we're comfortable with."

The coaches will use the first several games to experiment with different players and their roles, something they weren't able do last season. So it's likely that even if Jamison begins the year in the rotation, he could still move back to the closer's role if it suits the team best. The fall and spring work as a starter has allowed the senior to further develop his changeup, adding an effective complement to his low-90s fastball.

"It's going to take a few weeks for that to play out," Weathers said. "We're going to try to do a better job getting more guys opportunities. I don't think we developed a lot of guys because we had some veteran guys in set roles. We might pay the price for it some early this year."

More On ASU Series

A couple things I left out previously:

...There was a virtual sea of scouts in the stands all weekend. It was quite amusing to watch dozens of radar guns rising and falling with each pitch.

...I'm wondering whether the Dirtbags might be better off spotting their opponents two outs when they come to bat! Between Friday and Sunday, Long Beach State had 11 of their 18 runs score with two outs. That is clutch, timely hitting!

Two Rich Lederer Posts - Jered Weaver And The ASU Series

Rich Lederer at Rich's Weekend Baseball Beat has these two pieces:

1. Two independent sources have Jered Weaver about to sign with the Angels.

2. Rich gives his take on the ASU series.

I'm Back From The Frozen Tundra....I Mean Tempe

How cold was it? Well, okay, there wasn't any snow, but it did go from cold (Friday night) to cold and wet (Saturday). But yesterday was a beautiful day...and the weather was pretty good too.

A few observations from the Dirtbags series win over the ASU Sun Devils at Packard Stadium in Tempe:

...I have no doubt that Arizona State will be outstanding this season, but they did not play up to their No. 9 ranking this weekend. For the series, they hit eight batters, threw five wild pitches and committed four errors. Long Beach State hit .336 (39 hits in 116 at bats), and drew 7 walks (in addition to the 8 hit batters). They looked especially bad Friday, when they committed 3 errors (4 of the Dirtbags 7 runs were unearned). Preseason All-Americans Travis Buck and Jeff Larish were hardly heard from. While Buck went 5 for 12, Larish was 2 for 12, and neither had a single run batted in.

...While the Dirtbags will miss Jered Weaver, pitching depth appears to have improved remarkably. Each starter (Cesar Ramos, Cody Evans and Marco Estrada) was impressive. Collectively, they gave up 5 earned runs in 16.2 innings (a combined 2.70 ERA). Cody and Marco, each in their Division I debuts (both are JC transfers), were outstanding. Cody went 4 innings before the long rain delay on Saturday, then returned for 2/3rds of an inning afterwards. He yielded only 1 earned run (and 1 unearned run). It's woulda, coulda, shoulda, but without the delay it seems likely that Cody and the Dirtbags would have won the Saturday game. Marco put in a very strong performance, scattering 8 hits over 6.0 innings, giving up only 1 run.

If this weekend is any indication, the bullpen will be much deeper than last season. Last year through the second half of the season the Dirtbags relied almost exclusively on setup man Brian Anderson and closer Neil Jamison. Each pitched outstanding at ASU, with Brian going 2.0 innings (no runs, 1 hit, 1 walk, 3 Ks) and Neil going 1.1 (no runs, no hits, no walks, 1 K, 1 save). You can add to that a very impressive debut by junior LHP Steve Hammond, a transfer from Sacramento City College. Steve pitched Friday and Sunday, going a total of 2.2 innings. He gave up no runs, 3 hits, 2 walks, and struck out 6. Having a go to leftie in the bullpen is going to make pitching coach Troy Buckley's day...over and over. Though it wasn't all smooth (see below), I was impressed with freshman RHP Andrew Liebel, who went 1.0 inning and took the loss on Saturday. Watching him throw for the first time as he warmed up, and then pitching to ASU, this young man has some pop in his fastball. He mostly kept the ball low in the zone. With experience, we may be hearing a lot from him in the future.

...Now for the rough spots in the inning Andrew Liebel pitched. Catcher Tito Cruz made repeated trips to the appeared that Andrew was not getting the signs correctly. Troy Buckley made a trip to the mound, but the problem persisted. Buckley went back to the mound with the count 1 ball, 2 strikes, called for a new pitcher and had an "animated" discussion with the freshman. As Andrew reached the dugout, the umpires converged on the mound and called for him to come back in. He was required to finish pitching to the batter (who hit an RBI single), before Buckley pulled him (for Brett Andrade). From the first base umpire, Bill from our party learned that there is a rule in college baseball that on the second trip to the mound by a coach during the same at bat by a hitter the pitcher cannot be replaced. This rule prevented Buckley from making the substitution.

...The Dirtbags' defense on Saturday left a lot to be desired. They were charged with 3 errors, and should have had a 4th (on a ball dropped by Steve Valazco in right field).

...On the flip side, that catch by freshman rightfielder Jose Hernandez in the 6th inning Sunday was the real deal. With two outs and the Dirtbags holding a slim 3-1 lead, ASU had runners at the corners when ASU first baseman Joe Persichina hit a line drive towards the right field corner and nearly to the warning track. Jose snagged it at full speed with the ball tailing away. It killed the Sun Devils potential rally, and they never threatened again (the Dirtbags scored 3 in the top of the 7th). All wind left in the sails died. It was simply an outstanding play at just the right time.

...Troy Tulowitzki is stepping up as the leader of this team. Troy went 7 for 14 with 2 doubles and 4 RBI. Just as importantly, he plays with enthusiasm that is clearly infectious.

...ASU has some fans who get a little surly when things don't go their way. One particulary obnoxious fellow in the third row of section A claimed to own all of the seats in the two rows in front of him (which were vacant when some Dirtbags fans moved down in the middle of the Friday night game). After an inning of bile from his mouth, our fans moved. One later went down and offered him $2 in rent for the use of the seats...I won't print his reply. On Sunday, by midway through the game he was gone. In fact, by the end of all three games Dirtbags fans came close to outnumbering Sun Devil fans (Saturday because of weather).

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Former Dirtbags To Appear At Tsunami Relief Fundraiser Sunday

Thanks to reader Kurt for passing this one along!

For those Dirtbags fans unable to make the trip to Tempe, you can catch former Dirtbags Chris Gomez, Paul McAnulty and Chad Bentz (who are expected to attend) at a fundraiser for Tsunami victims to be held Sunday on the campus of UC Irvine. The event, which will run from noon to 2:00 p.m. (rain or shine), is being sponsored by the Professional Baseball Scouts of Southern California and World Vision.

Learn more here.

Pitching Matchups At ASU

The probable pitching matchups for this weekend are:

Friday: LHP Cesar Ramos v. LHP Brandon Averill for ASU
Saturday: RHP Cody Evans v. RHP Jason Urquidez for ASU
Sunday: LHP Brett Bordes will start for ASU. The starter for Long Beach State has not yet been named.

It's Time To "Git 'er Done!"

Well, it's finally time for baseball! Dirtbags baseball!

I'm off to Arizona tomorrow morning courtesy of Southwest Airlines (well, not really, they made me pay). I heard a rumor that a couple of bus loads of boosters will make the trip, as well. I hope it's we can make some real noise!

The game tomorrow night is at 5:30, and both Saturday and Sunday are set for noon. If you can make the trip, come join us. You can buy tickets online here. But I'd call instead (1-888-786-3857 1-480-965-2381. The toll free number is apparently in state (AZ) only). Unless they have released them, ASU has been holding back a block of tickets for Dirtbags fans behind the Long Beach dugout. These tickets were not offered for purchase online. Make sure to tell ticket sales you are with Long Beach.

All games throughout the season are on the internet (the weekly broadcast schedule and links are here). Many games are also on KWRM 1370AM (their coverage area is described here). There is an expanded pre-game show tomorrow starting at 5:00.

To quote Houston Bob, it's time to "Git 'er Done!"

Dirtbags No. 18 in NCBWA Poll

The voters in the National Collegiate Baseball Writer's Association poll have ranked the Long Beach State Dirtbags 18th preseason. Here's the top 35:
1  	Texas  	  		58-15

2. Cal State Fullerton 47-22
3. Tulane 41-21
4. Miami (Fla.) 50-13
5. Stanford 46-14
6. LSU 46-19
7. South Carolina 53-17
8. North Carolina 43-21
9. Arizona State 41-18
10. Georgia 45-23
11. Georgia Tech 44-21
12. Texas A&M 42-22
13. Rice 46-14
14. Arizona 36-27
15. Washington 39-20
16. Florida State 45-23
17. Mississippi 39-21
18. Long Beach State 40-21
19. Mississippi State 35-24
20. Notre Dame 51-12
21. Florida 43-22
22. TCU 39-26
23. Clemson 39-26
24. Wichita State 49-16
25. UCF 48-17
26. Winthrop 37-23
27. Oklahoma State 38-24
28. Florida Atlantic 47-17
29. Arkansas 45-24
30. East Carolina 51-13
31. Stetson 36-23
32. Virginia 44-15
33. Baylor 29-31
34. Vanderbilt 45-19
35. Oral Roberts 50-11
Long Beach State, and it's 2005 opponents, are in bold.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

More Info On Opening Weekend Opponent ASU

Take a look at the ASU Sun Devils baseball season outlook for some background on the Dirtbags' opponent this weekend in Tempe.

One item of note in this article: ASU Senior RHP Jason Urquidez is likely to start on Saturday, with Junior LHP Erik Averill going on Friday against Cesar Ramos.

Former Dirtbag Jeremy Reed Is The "Go 2 Guy"

From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:
Go 2 Guy: Penciled in at center, Reed intends to get the lead out


RENTON -- This is all very cool to Jeremy Reed.

Last night he was signing autographs and posing for pictures at DJ's Sportscards.

This year he is supposed to be the Mariners' starting center fielder, playing the same position for the same team of his childhood idol, Ken Griffey Jr.

"A lot of guys are penned in," said M's general manager Bill Bavasi. "We've penciled him in."

To which the Go 2 Guy replies: "Get out the Sharpie, Billy boy. This kid's ready."

Or at least he sounds ready. And last September, he looked ready, batting .397 in his first 18 games as a major leaguer.

That was when Bob Melvin was still the manager, calling Reed "a steal" in the deal that sent Freddy Garcia to the Chicago White Sox.

The Mariners also acquired catcher Miguel Olivo and minor-league shortstop Mike Morse, but Reed could be the one who makes M's fans forget about Garcia. Although I'd venture to say Reed could hit a buck-60, and Garcia would be forgotten about anyway.

"I'm the type of guy who loves to play, loves the competition," Reed said. "I can't wait to go out and earn the position. You can say I'm penciled in, great, I hope so. But I still want to have the mindset to make the team."

If you didn't already develop a liking for Reed last year, you will this year. He's the anti-prima donna. He will play the game the right way. He will always have dirt on his jersey. He will look you in the eye and earn his paycheck.
Well, what else would you expect from a Dirtbag!
"I'm hard-nosed and will give it my all," he said. "I'll do everything I can to win and leave it all on the field."

There are a bunch of clichés in there, but I don't care -- if this kid cares that much, I'm hoping he plays center field at Safeco Field for the next 15 years.

But what about the millions he stands to make if he ends up being as good as everyone thinks he will be?

"I don't think anything could change the way I think about the game and respect the game," he said. "I love the game, and I play the game hard."

He started sliding head-first into every base at Long Beach State and still does.

I remember seeing him and thinking, "That guy just looks like a baseball player." And that's what he is, one with a knack for hitting and making the right first step on contact, compensating for his lack of blazing speed.

"Everybody talks about (my) instincts," Reed said. "I don't pay attention to that. I just try to catch it."

If Griffey and Mike Cameron are 10's defensively on a 1-to-10 scale, Reed's a "7 or 8 with upside," said Bavasi, comparing him favorably to St. Louis' Jim Edmonds.

At the plate, Reed has already proven himself, and he wasn't surprised.

"When I got hot, I believed in myself," he said. "I knew I had the ability to do what I was doing, but that's not to say I could do that all the time.

"Everybody was saying I'm not supposed to be doing what I'm doing. I loved proving people wrong and doing it again the next night. It shows how much I believe in myself."

His father always told him to be greedy.

"If you have two hits, get three. Three hits, get four. Never be satisfied," he said. "When you can get 'em, get 'em all at once."

Reed rarely strikes out and plans to bat .300 this year. He hits to all fields and is projected to clear the fences with more regularity in time.

More importantly, Reed's an 8-handicapper who loves to golf but, disappointingly, when asked what he orders from the beverage cart girl, he said: "A Coke."

"C'mon, really?

"I'm serious," said Reed, who "very rarely" quaffs a beer.

A Southern Californian who grew up in LaVerne, Reed doesn't surf but likes going to the beach to get some sun. Bad news for Mariner groupies: He's got a long-distance relationship with his girlfriend in New York.

This winter Reed has been working out in Newport Beach with major leaguers Adam Kennedy, Darin Erstad and little brother Mark, a Chicago Cubs' prospect.

Erstad is one of his favorites because of the way he plays the game, down and dirty, just like Reed plans to be here.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Boras And Angels Finally Talking Weaver Contract

From the Los Angeles Times (free registration required):
After six months of little dialogue and virtually no progress toward an agreement, the Angels and the representative for first-round pick Jered Weaver are in "serious discussions" that both sides hope will result in the former Long Beach State ace's signing before the start of spring training in February.

Neither agent Scott Boras nor Angel General Manager Bill Stoneman would elaborate, but Boras confirmed Friday that they had spoken by phone several times this week and would have face-to-face meetings "shortly."

Weaver, ranked by Baseball America as the player closest to the major leagues among draftees, was expected to be the top pick in last June's draft but fell to No. 12 because many teams feared they couldn't meet his asking price.

Weaver, younger brother of Dodger right-hander Jeff Weaver, and Florida State shortstop Stephen Drew, who was selected 15th by Arizona, remain the only unsigned first-round picks.

The market seemed to gain definition with the recent signings of Rice University pitchers Philip Humber (five-year, $5.116-million deal from the New York Mets) and Jeff Niemann (five-year, $5.2-million deal from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays), the third and fourth picks in the draft.

No. 2 pick Justin Verlander, an Old Dominion right-hander, signed a five-year, $4.5-million deal with the Detroit Tigers in October, and top pick Matt Bush, a high school shortstop, agreed to a $3.1-million bonus with the San Diego Padres last summer.

But Boras has maintained that Weaver, who went 15-1 with a 1.65 earned-run average, 201 strikeouts and 19 walks in 136 innings for Long Beach last season, was by the far the best college pitcher in the draft, a player who "could help a major league club in less than a year," and should command a package similar to the $10.5-million deal Chicago Cub star Mark Prior got coming out of USC in 2001.

But with teams feeling pressured by Major League Baseball to hold down first-round signing bonuses, the Angels have been hesitant to go near $10 million. That, however, didn't stop them from giving 18th-round pick Mark Trumbo, a high school infielder, $1.425 million, a record bonus for a player selected after the 10th round, or 14th-round pick Nick Adenhart, a high school pitcher who had Tommy John surgery last year, $710,000.

Boras and Stoneman are believed to be millions apart on Weaver, but at least they are talking again. And though Weaver would like to go to spring training, that's not a hard deadline; the Angels wouldn't lose rights to Weaver until June.

"You always want to get a deal done," Boras said. "He wants to play baseball. But he also wants to be treated fairly."

Dirtbags 7, Alumni 2

Here's an article at on the Alumni game, won by the current Dirtbags 7-2. Box Score.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Coach Mike Weathers Signs Contract Extension

From the Press-Telegram this morning:
Weathers signs extension

49ers give four more years to veteran coach.

By Frank Burlison
Staff writer

Long Beach State baseball coach Mike Weathers has agreed to a four-year extension to his contract that the school's athletic director hopes means Weathers is going to finish his career in Long Beach.

So does Weathers.

"This is a great vote of confidence," he said Thursday evening.

"I'm 54, and I'm not looking to go anywhere else. And I don't want to be anywhere else."

Weathers, who took over the program when Dave Snow resigned, will see his fourth Long Beach team open its season next weekend when it visits Arizona State for a three-game series.

Long Beach was, ultimately, only an out away in the first game of a three-game Super Regional Series with Arizona in Long Beach last spring won by the Wildcats from going to the College World Series in Omaha.

Weathers still had two years remaining, including this season, on the five-year deal he signed when he replaced Snow.

"But we've extended the contract through the 2010 season," LBSU athletic director Bill Shumard said. "We feel we have the best (baseball) coaching staff in America, and we wanted to do what was best for that staff."

Long Beach State Is Pipeline To The Show

Here's some interesting stats from Baseball America's "By the Numbers" piece today:

Southern California has fallen on relatively hard times of late, failing to reach the NCAA tournament the last two years while going just 52-60 in that period. But the 12-time College World Series champions hold the distinction of having more players on major league rosters in 2004 than any college team. Here's the top 10 producers of big league talent among college teams:

14 Southern California
12 Stanford
11 Cal State Fullerton
11 Long Beach State
10 Florida State
10 Louisiana State
10 Miami
10 Oklahoma
10 Texas
One more anecdotal piece of evidence that the NCAA's RPI, the formula used (in part) to select and seed post-season play, needs to be fixed. The RPI favors teams in the southeastern United States (and in the SEC and ACC conferences in particular). Read Boyd Nation's explanation here. But with 5 of the top 10 schools producing MLB talent located in California, the far west is always under-represented in Omaha.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Dirtbags Ranked No. 16 In ESPN/Sports Weekly Coaches Poll

In it's preseason poll, ESPN/Sports Weekly has ranked the Long Beach State Dirtbags at number 16. Here is the complete poll:

Rank	School			2004 Record

1. Texas 58-15
2. Cal State Fullerton 47-22
3. Miami (Fla.) 50-13
4. LSU 46-19
5. Tulane 41-21
6. Stanford 46-14
7. South Carolina 53-17
8. Georgia 45-23
9. Arizona State 41-18
10. Texas A&M 42-22
11. North Carolina 43-21
12. Washington 39-20-1
Arizona 36-27-1
14. Rice 46-14
15. Georgia Tech 44-21
16. Long Beach State 40-21
17. Florida 43-22
18. Mississippi 39-21
19. Florida State 45-23
20. Notre Dame 51-12
21. Baylor 29-31
22. Vanderbilt 45-19
23. Clemson 39-26
24. Arkansas 45-24
25. TCU 39-26
Others receiving votes: Oklahoma State 105; Mississippi State 97; Wichita State 81; Virginia 79; East Carolina 62; Nebraska 48; Oral Roberts 44; Oklahoma 27; Central Florida 25; Winthrop 22; Auburn 21; Florida Atlantic 19; Hawaii 18; Southern California 17; Cal Poly 16; Tennessee 16; UCLA 16; UC Irvine 14; Fresno State 13; North Carolina-Wilmington 13; Charleston 12; Pepperdine 12; Louisiana-Lafayette 8; Southern Mississippi 8; Coastal Carolina 7; Houston 7; North Carolina State 7; Michigan 6; Stetson 6; Nevada-Las Vegas 5; Southwest Missouri State 5; Alabama 4; Creighton 4; San Diego 4; South Florida 3; Minnesota 2; Texas Tech 2; California 1; Nevada 1; Northwestern State 1; UC Santa Barbara 1.

[Long Beach State, and it's 2005 opponents, are in bold].

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Four Dirtbags Make Baseball America Top Prospects Lists

Baseball America is out with their Fab 50 lists of the 50 top prospects in each class. Four Long Beach State Dirtbags are on their lists this year:

Senior Class:
#3 Prospect (among Seniors): Neil Jamison, rhp, last drafted by the Mets in 2004 (8th round)
Junior Class:
#6 Prospect (among Juniors): Troy Tulowitzki, ss, never drafted
#18 Prospect (among Juniors): Cesar Ramos, lhp, last drafted by Devil Rays in 2002 (6th round)
Sophomore Class:
#31 Prospect (among Sophomores): Jered Hughes, rhp, last drafted by Devil Rays in 2003 (16th round)

Bobby Crosby To Be Honored By Century Club

From the Press-Telegram:
Take some of the Century Club's marquee honorees over the decades and you'd have the makings of a one capable baseball team.

From Ron Fairly and Tony Gwynn to Jason Giambi and Jered Weaver, the charitable organization dedicated to recognizing and promoting Long Beach athletics has seen its share of diamond greats receive top billing at its annual Sports Night Banquet.

Come Feb.8, reigning American League Rookie of the Year and former Dirtbag Bobby Crosby will add some solid defense from the left side of the infield to the group when he is handed the Century Club's Athlete of the Year award....
Read the rest here.

A Look Back, A Look Ahead

Bob Keisser in the Press-Telegram this morning:
Sting of 2004 still there

By Bob Keisser
Staff columnist

Mike Weathers still talks about the 2004 Dirtbags season as if it was a death in the family.

Long Beach State's baseball team beat Stanford in the NCAA regionals and came home to Blair Field to host Arizona in the super regional with a spot in the College World Series at stake. The Dirtbags took a lead into the ninth inning of Game 1, before losing. They were an out away from a Game 3 win that would have sent them to Omaha, for the first time since 1998, before losing.

It was all bad. A gifted defensive team, sixth nationally, made errors. Pitching decisions on a squad with the best pitcher, Jered Weaver, and the fourth-best staff (3.11 ERA) in the nation backfired. The Dirtbags ran themselves into outs.

Time hasn't dissipated the pain enough, perhaps because it was magnified by watching the Dirtbags' blood rival, Cal State Fullerton, ride a late-season winning streak to the national title.

In fact, Dirtbags head coach Weathers has spent a lot of time talking about it with his 2005 team, which opens its season with Thursday's annual Lead-Off Dinner and Saturday's alumni game.

"We underachieved as a team," Weathers said. "You don't always get a team with the ability to get to the World Series, and we had our chance and didn't get it done.

"We were all disappointed. It wasn't a good feeling to lose at home and end the season like that. So we all talked about what went wrong so that we can learn from it."

It isn't nostalgia that fuels the feelings. It's expectations. Dave Snow created a program that almost instantly became a national power and has become, along with women's volleyball, the premier programs at the university.

Weathers embraced that fully. There was a tremendous sense of confidence around the program and the coaches didn't do a lot of experimentation.

Weathers admits he didn't spend as much time developing his roster as he would have if the opportunities for the ultimate road trip hadn't been such a reachable goal. It shows in the stats.

Five pitchers starters Jered Weaver, Jason Vargas and Cesar Ramos and relievers Brian Anderson and Neil Jamison accounted for 462 of the Dirtbags' 541 1/3 innings pitched. There certainly wasn't any reason for him to mess with success.

Plus, nonconference schedules on the West Coast are hardly exhibitions. The Dirtbags faced ranked teams in all nine of 10 non-Big West series in 2004 (two games or more). NCAA seedings being what they are, there was an incentive to win those series.

The Dirtbags were 30-9 and unbeaten in the Big West through late April. But then were unexpectedly swept at Blair by an unheralded UCSB team, which knocked them off stride. They ended the regular season with seven straight losses, three each to Fullerton and Miami.

No shame there. But six of the Dirtbags' last nine losses were by one run. That makes for a lot of offseason what-ifs and second-guessing.

"I have to do a better job developing (his younger players)," Weathers said. "We could have used a few more fresh arms last year."

The 2005 edition won't match the ability of the 2004 squad simply because the 2004 team was loaded. Weaver (15-1, 1.62 ERA) virtually swept all of college baseball's 2004 awards, and Vargas (7-8 on the mound, .354 at the plate) went on to have the best short-season of any 2004 major league draftee. Catcher Brad Davis (.329), left fielder John Bowker (.320) and first baseman Mike Hofius (.291, team-high 48 RBI) are also gone.

But a strong nucleus remains, topped by shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and left-hander Cesar Ramos, who won gold medals for the U.S. national team this past summer. They're the 2005 edition of Bobby Crosby and Abe Alvarez.

Besides Tulowitzki, five other starters return to the lineup, topped by third baseman Danny Mocny (.318) and Sean Boatright (.330), who missed half of 2004 to injury.

Weathers thinks the 2005 team will be quicker and more athletic than the 2004 team, fitting the contours of Blair. Weathers has added a fleet of hitting stars from the junior college ranks to supplement the returnees.

Los Alamitos High product Brandon Godfrey is a former Junior Olympic team member slated to replace Hofius, and Weathers will find a place in the lineup for Evan Longoria, who hit .430 for Rio Hondo last season.

Ramos (12-4, 2.29) becomes the ace of the staff and will fill the series opener role held by Alvarez and Weaver before him. Jamison (4.35, 12 saves), last season's closer, will be given a shot at the rotation along with two newcomers.

Cody Evans won a CIF title at Edison, went 9-2 at Golden West last season and is coming off a great summer season in the Cape Cod League. Jared Hughes was a prep All-American and former first-round draft pick who transferred in from Santa Clara and is healthy after more than a year of shoulder problems.

Brian Anderson (2.98 ERA) was a solid setup man in 2004 and Brandon Villalobos pitched well as a true freshman filling the midweek starting spot. If Jamison makes the rotation, Marco Estrada, a power pitcher from Glendale, could take over his spot as the closer.

The Dirtbags may not have as much talent on the 2005 team as last season, but they do have an advantage of knowing how much 2004 hurt.
Very interesting perspective. On April 30, 2004, just before the wheels came off against UCSB, the Dirtbags ascended back into first place in the ERA race - topping the Texas Longhorns. Bob is right, it's hard to be critical of Coach Weathers continuing to go with what had worked well for three months. But from Mike Weathers comments, it definitely appears that more guys will get a few innings in so when one of the regulars slumps others are ready to go.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Big Series With ASU On Deck

The Dirtbags face a big test right out of the gate as they meet the Arizona State Sun Devils in Tempe January 28-30. ASU is ranked 9th by Baseball America, and 11th by Collegiate Baseball (Long Beach State is 22nd and 14th, respectively). Winning this series, on the road, would likely move the 49ers to 9th or 10th in Collegiate Baseball, and the mid-teens in Baseball America. It would also likely make an important impression on key opinion makers, and quiet some of those who doubt that the Dirtbags have enough talent to sit in the Top 10 this season. Those key opinion makers include voters in the "polls" that actually are polls [NCBWA (baseball writers), and ESPN/USA Today (coaches)], the writer's at Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball who decide their rankings, and the members of the NCAA committee that seed post-season play.

Winning this series will be no easy task. The Sun Devils, who have racked up quite a few frequent flier miles for flights to Omaha (if not too many recently), field a very good team this season. Here's what Baseball America has to say about them:
9. Arizona State Sun Devils

2004 Record (Ranking): 41-18 (23). RPI: 5.
Coach (Record): Pat Murphy (401-196, 10 years).

Offense: SS Dustin Pedroia departs with his .393 average and grinding intensity atop the lineup, but plenty of run producers remain from an offense that ranked 12th nationally in batting a year ago. Preseason first-team All-American Buck ranked second on Team USA with a .412 average over the summer, and Larish, a first-teamer before the 2004 season, should bounce back to his sophomore success (.372-18-95) while moving back to the infield. Gosewisch hit safely in 44 of his 59 games in '04.

Pitching/Defense: Urquidez led the Pac-10 in wins while ranking third in ERA, seventh in strikeouts and eighth in innings. The strong-armed Zinicola flashes a low-90s fastball and power breaking ball that could make him a rotation stalwart, or land him in the closer's role. Averill went 5-3, 1.70 over the summer in the Cape Cod League. Six-foot-3 freshmen Drew Bowman, a lefthander, and Seth Garrison, a righthander, could push for rotation spots.

X-Factor: This is a strong club across the board, but how a talented freshman class adjusts to the college level is important. Romine, son of former major leaguer Kevin, possesses the defensive skills to replace Pedroia at shortstop. Sferra, whose father, Jay, is a Sun Devils assistant, is a speedy, scrappy player in the Pedroia mold. Strong debuts by the duo of sons and the emergence of Bowman and Garrison on the mound could make this an Omaha team.
The pitching matchup Friday evening is set, unlike Saturday and Sunday. Junior LHP Cesar Ramos will go against Senior RHP Jason Urquidez (who, like Jered Weaver, lists his hometown as Simi Valley). Here's how their statistics stack up from last season:
Player     ERA  W-L  App GS CG   IP  BB SO HR WP HBP B/Avg

Ramos 2.29 12-4 19 19 1 133.2 35 97 4 4 13 .226
Urquidez 3.41 12-3 19 17 1 97.2 47 94 11 2 6 .251
They pitched in very different home ballparks. Blair Field is definitely a pitcher's park. In fact, it's one of the top 10 most difficult parks for scoring runs. In order to fairly compare their ERAs, some adjustment must be made for "park effect." Thankfully, Boyd Nation (at has developed a formula (the 2001-2004 results are here). As Boyd explains:
The numbers represent a percentage; a game scored in a park with a park factor of 125 will feature one-fourth more runs than the same game scored in a park with a park factor of 100.
Using the weighted average park factor for all stadiums ASU and Long Beach played in during 2004, ASU comes in at 106 and the Dirtbags at 88. As a result, Cesar's ERA would need to be increased by multiplying it by 1.2 (106/88, rounded) to fairly compare it with Urquidez'. The result is 2.75 for Cesar versus Urquidez' 3.41. Urquidez struck out .97 batters per inning, compared with Cesar's .73. But Urquidez walked .48 per inning, while Cesar gave passes to only .26 batters per inning (a low 2.34 per nine innings). Urquidez was prone to the long ball. He gave up a team high 11 homeruns. These two appear to be very well matched, with the edge going to Cesar.

The rest of the starting pitching for the weekend is a huge question mark. The Dirtbags are likely to go with Cody Evans (a JC transfer), and Jared Hughes (who transferred from Santa Clara after his freshman year, in which he was injured most of the season and pitched only 6 innings). There is no way to tell how either will do moving to this level of play (though Jared would likely have been drafted in the 1st round out of high school had he not committed to Santa Clara). It is possible Neil Jamison will start in place of one of these two. Though it is clear the senior can pitch at this level, it would be his first college start - a very different role from setup or closer.

ASU's starters on Saturday and Sunday don't seem to be set, nor is their effectiveness much more certain than the Dirtbags'. Soph Zachry Zinicola and Junior Erik Averill both pitched primarily in relief last year, with each making 4 starts. Zinicola posted a team low ERA at 3.36 in 55.1 innings. Averill's ERA was a lofty 5.19 in 76.1 innings. Opposing batters posted a .246 batting average against closer Zinicola, while they hit .280 against Averill. The other two potential starters are freshman, and thus have no D-I experience.

The Dirtbags will need stellar pitching. Last season, ASU posted a .325 team batting average. Long Beach State, which hit .297 as a team, had only 2.5 players at .325 or better [Jason Vargas at .354, Sean Boatright at .330 (in 100 at bats), and Brad Davis at .329]. The 49ers did have 4 other regular players between .312 and .320. Each team has lost key hitters. With the Dirtbags replacements, it seem likely they will hold their own and may improve some at the plate. Losing
Dustin Pedroia is a big blow to the Sun Devils, but if Jeff Larish bounces back to his soph. form (.372 versus .308 last season) they are likely to be just as good at scoring runs, if not better. I hope the 49ers bring their "A" pitching game, and the usual cliche's hold true: "good pitching stops good hitting"..."85% of winning baseball is pitching"....yada, yada.

The second and third games of this series are likely to give both teams a great first look at how their roster changes will work out in live competition.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Where To Buy Dirtbags Stuff

I occasionally get e-mail asking where to buy Long Beach State Dirtbags stuff...shirts, caps, etc. Here's the options I know of:

1. The Long Beach State University Bookstore. The bookstore is located on campus, and has a large selection of clothing and other LBSU merchandise, Dirtbags and otherwise. You can also shop online here.

2. At Dirtbags home games, you can shop in the Dugout Store at Blair Field in Long Beach. The Dugout Store now sells online here. There is merchandise offered here that is not available in the bookstore (and the reverse holds true as well). I don't know if all of the items offered in the Dugout Store at Blair Field is available in the online store.

3. Name Your Game, Inc., has some great jackets and other clothing. A lot of what they do is a little bit higher end. They have "off the shelf" items, and do custom embroidery and screen printing. You can buy items elsewhere, and have embroidery done by them. They have a wide array of LBSU and Dirtbags embroidery already digitized, which reduces the expense you would incur with another shop. They are located at 3106 Willow Street in Signal Hill, and can be reached at 562:595-6406. Call for hours. The last I checked, they were closed Sunday, and only open on Saturday morning for a couple hours.

4. You can sometimes find Dirtbags items up for auction or sale on eBay here.

posted on 1/17/2005 by Jeff Agnew

Baseball America's Opinion Of The 2005 Dirtbags

Baseball America, which places the Dirtbags 22nd in its preseason rankings, has this capsule analysis of the team:

2005 Lineup








Tito Cruz







Brandon Godfrey


Redshirted in 2004


Chuck Sindlinger







Danny Mocny







Troy Tulowitzki







Jamie Huizar


Tr.--Sacramento (Calif.) CC


Steve Velazco







Sean Boatright







Evan Longoria


Tr.--Rio Honda (Calif.) JC







Cesar Ramos







Cody Evans


Tr.--Golden West (Calif.) CC


Jared Hughes*







Neil Jamison (12 SV)






* Statistics at Santa Clara

Offense: Long Beach State ranked 196th among 285 Division I teams in scoring last year and lost its top three regulars in terms of average. But teams don't earn the nickname Dirtbags for doing things effortlessly, and they should continue to scratch across enough runs to win with their pitching-and-defense formula. This year's offense could actually be better. Boatright ranked second on the team in average, but missed half the season because of an elbow injury. Longoria (.435) and Huizar (.362) proved their offensive talents in junior college and figure to bat in the middle of the order. Their presence should help potential three-hole hitter Tulowitzki improve on his .410 on-base and .491 slugging marks from last season.

Pitching/Defense: The Beach ranked fourth nationally in ERA and sixth in fielding percentage, a big reason why it was able to overcome its lowly offensive showing. The defense could take a slight hit with the loss of slick-fielding 1B Mike Hofius, a team leader who saved countless infield throwing errors. Jered Weaver and Jason Vargas leave huge voids on the staff, but Ramos' command led him to nearly as much success as his departed teammates. Two hard-throwing newcomers fill out the rotation. Hughes was a potential first-round pick out of high school whose college commitment dropped him to the 16th round. Evans went 9-2, 2.98 and averaged nearly a strikeout per inning in junior college.

X-Factor: Jamison, senior RHP Brian Anderson (0-2, 2.98) and junior RHP Brett Andrade (1-0, 4.95) return to a deep, experienced bullpen. However, there are mental hurdles to clear after a late swoon. Jamison blew late-season saves at Miami and against Arizona in the super-regional series loss, while Anderson posted a 6.75 conference ERA.

Hometown Press For Neil Jamison

Dirtbag Neil Jamison, who was a standout pitcher/shortstop at Ramona High School (Ramona, San Diego County), was featured in this San Diego Union Tribune piece yesterday:
Long Beach State right-hander Neil Jamison (Ramona High) must feel like he has some unfinished business for the Dirtbags, who came within one out of the College World Series last season. Jamison was drafted by the Mets in the eighth round in June, but chose to return for his senior season. Jamison saved 12 games for Long Beach in 2004, but might move into a starting role.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Clock Is Ticking On Jered Weaver Signing

From the Ventura County Star:
When he is standing on the mound staring down opposing batters, Jered Weaver feels in complete control.

The ball is in his hands and the pitches are his to make.

But when it comes to signing his first major league contract, Weaver's agent, Scott Boras, is the one calling the shots.

"It's coming along. I have a good feeling about it," said Weaver about the ongoing negotiations between Boras and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

After one of the finest seasons by a pitcher in collegiate history, Weaver, a Simi Valley High graduate, was drafted out of Long Beach State by the Angels with the 12th overall pick last June.

The lanky 6-foot-7 right-hander is optimistic the powerful arm that had scouts flocking to his games last season will soon be on display at Angel Stadium.

"Scott and (Angels owner Arte) Moreno met during the winter meetings about things, and that's just one step forward in this long process," said Weaver, who does not wish to discuss financial terms.

But Angels director of scouting Eddie Bane said the club hadn't had any recent conversations with Boras about Weaver's contract as of two weeks ago.

If Weaver remains unsigned, he is eligible to re-enter the upcoming June draft.

"We have basically developed a no-comment situation. We haven't talked to Scott in a while about anything," said Bane. "But we still believe we are going to get Jered signed. I believe the next big date will be spring training (Feb. 20)."
Uhhh....February 20 is only about five weeks from now. Just a suggestion, but it might be nice if the Angels and Boras had a conversation or two.
Boras had a busy offseason representing several other heavily sought after free agents, including Adrian Beltre, Carlos Beltran, Derek Lowe, J.D. Drew and Jason Varitek.

To keep his mind occupied during these uncertain times, Weaver has turned to training. He is working with a personal trainer at Soka University in Aliso Viejo to increase his strength and flexibility.

"It is tough, for sure, because you want to know what is going on," said Weaver of the contract situation. "But I just let Scott take care of it, and when he knows something, he calls me."

Weaver has often sought the council of his older brother, Jeff, a pitcher for the Dodgers. Their potential Weaver Freeway Series showdown is stuck in a traffic delay until Jered signs.

"Hopefully, I can give him advice that keeps him collected and helps him understand the business side of baseball," said Jeff, who endured a similar situation when he was drafted by the White Sox in 1997, but decided to go back to Fresno State when negotiations stalled.

"It's every player's dream come true to go out there and play," added Jeff. "One thing is when you are as talented as Jered is, you have to kind of set the standard. That is what he has to understand and abide by."
In my opinion, Jered would do well to worry about Jered! There's plenty of pressure without having the burden of maintaining the salary structure for the player's union!
The cautionary draft tale for every highly touted pitcher is that of Matt Harrington.

The Palmdale High product was selected by the Colorado Rockies with the seventh pick overall in 2000 draft. Harrington turned down offers of $4.9 million over eight years, $5.3 million over eight years and $4 million over two years.

He went back into the draft the following year, and was selected in the second round by the San Diego Padres. They offered him $1.25 million over four years with a $300,000 bonus, but Harrington also turned that down.

According to a July 2004 New York Times Magazine article, Harrington was making $800 a month playing in an independent league in Texas while living with his girlfriend and stocking shelves at Target during the offseason.

But Bane hopes a deal with Weaver will get done this season. He was thrilled when the Golden Spikes Award winner who led the nation in wins (15-1) and strikeouts (213) was still available when the Angels made their first selection.

"We knew it would be a long process, and we knew all along his first year would be 2005," said Bane.

"He is such a good kid. We hear such great things about him, and we did our research. He had a nice career at Long Beach State, but it's time to go out and play some baseball now."
With some of the comments Bane has made recently, it's good to hear the scouting director for the team formerly known as the Anaheim Angels hasn't lost sight of some of the reasons they selected Jered. He is "such a nice kid," and I hope Scott Boras' never ending zeal to squeeze the last drop of blood doesn't end up squeezing Jered.

Friday, January 14, 2005

ASU Coach Pat Murphy On Dirtbags And The Big West

From a live chat with Arizona State Coach Pat Murphy on November 23:
Martha, San Diego: I think it's great to open the season at home against Long Beach State. Will there be an effort made to schedule more regular season match-ups with Big West teams in future seasons? (Fullerton, Riverside, Irvine, Northridge) I guess it's a matter of coordinating schedules. Good luck this year. Thanks for having the games available via online.

Pat Murphy: We are very excited for our season-opening series against a great program like Long Beach State. It should be a great way to start our season and get our fans ready for another exciting home schedule. The Big West has really come on strong as a baseball conference and we strive the play the toughest teams year in and year out.
The rest of the chat is worth the read to get some insight on the Dirtbags first opponent of the season, now only two weeks out.

Tickets For Arizona State Series Go On Sale January 20

This from the Arizona State Sun Devils website:
Single-game tickets for the 2005 season will go on sale starting Thursday, Jan. 20, at 9 a.m. Single-game tickets can be purchased over the phone (480-727-000), in person at the ASU Ticket Office or on the internet at Tickets for the Long Beach State (Jan. 28-30), Oklahoma (Mar. 18-30), Stanford (Apr. 15-17) and Arizona (May 14-16) series' are $12 for field level, $10 for reserved and $5 for general admission. For all other home games, pricing is $8 for field level, $6 for reserved and $5 for general admission.
Hmmm...guess we rate an extra four bucks! If you're going, you might want to get your tickets in advance. This will be the Sun Devils home opening series, and it is against the Dirtbags!

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Thank You For Your Support!

Yesterday, Dirtbags Baseball blog exceeded 200 visits and 500 page views for the first time since it's inception in last March, 2004. Thank you!

Marco Estrada Joins Dirtbags In Key Relief Role

Together with Brian Anderson, Coach Mike Weathers yesterday named junior RHP Marco Estrada (5-10, 175) as a potential closer in the event Neil Jamison is shifted to a starting role. Marco, who graduated from Sylmar High School, comes to Long Beach State after pitching two seasons for Glendale Community College (2002 and 2003).

In 2002, in conference games Marco pitched 17.1 innings in 10 relief appearances, going 0-1 with two saves, and was second in the league in ERA at 1.05. He struck out 25 (1.46 Ks per inning). He was a unanimous selection as All-Western State Conference 2002 (South) 1st team relief pitcher.

In 2003, he shifted to a starting role, pitching 62.1 innings in 10 conference games, going 6-2 with a 1.45 ERA. His strikeout ratio remained high at 1.45 per inning (90 Ks). He became the first Glendale College Vaqueros pitcher since 1996 to throw a no-hitter, striking out 13 in an 8-0 victory over Pierce College on April 1, 2003. Overall, he was 8-3 in 86 innings, with 110 strikeouts (1.28 Ks per inning). He was a unanimous selection as All-Western State Conference 2003 (South) 1st team starting pitcher.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Dirtbags Preseason Roster

Preseason Roster

No.Player             Pos.  B/T  Ht.  Wt. Yr.

1 Tom Wolf OF L/R 5-10 180 JR
3 Chuck Sindlinger IF R/R 5-9 170 JR
4 Sean Boatright OF R/R 6-0 190 JR
5 Troy Tulowitzki IF R/R 6-3 200 JR
9 Cole Jacobsen IF L/R 6-0 170 SR
10 Neil Jamison RHP R/R 6-3 185 SR
12 Danny Mocny IF R/R 5-9 180 SR
16 Steve Velazco IF/OF R/R 5-9 165 SR
17 Scott Bradley UT R/R 6-0 185 JR
24 Chris Jones C R/R 6-0 195 JR
26 Brett Andrade RHP R/R 6-4 190 JR
27 Cesar Ramos LHP L/L 6-2 190 JR
29 Josh Tamba RHP L/R 6-2 185 RFR
30 Brandon Villalobos LHP L/L 5-10 190 SO
32 Scott Juneau RHP R/R 6-3 220 JR
33 Tito Cruz C/3B R/R 5-11 195 JR
41 Ross Stout RHP R/R 6-0 195 JR
42 Romeo Newman RHP R/R 6-3 190 SO
44 Brandon Godfrey UT L/R 6-0 175 RFR
48 Brian Anderson RHP R/R 6-3 210 SR
Zach Barger OF L/R 6-2 190 FR
Kyle Bradbury IF R/R 6-2 205 SR
Donnie Ecker IF L/R 6-3 190 FR
Marco Estrada RHP R/R 6-0 180 JR
Cody Evans RHP R/R 6-5 195 JR
Matt Fitts RHP R/R 6-2 190 FR
Steve Hammond LHP R/L 6-2 205 JR
Jose Hernandez OF L/L? 5-10 178 FR
Jared Hughes RHP R/R 6-7 235 SO
Jamie Huizar OF L/R 5-9 200 JR
Donnie Hume LHP R/L 6-1 185 FR
Andrew Liebel RHP R/R? 6-1 190 FR
Evan Longoria 3B R/R 6-2 185 SO
Tom Sarti C/OF R/R 5-9 180 JR
Ryan Shopshire RHP R/R 6-3 180 FR
Jordan Struble C/OF R/R 6-0 205 JR

Head Coach: #21 Mike Weathers
Assistant Coach (Pitching): #34 Troy Buckley
Assistant Coach (Hitting): #31 Don Barbara
Volunteer Assistant Coach: #28 Tim McDonnell
Administrative Assistant: TJ Bruce

posted on 1/12/2005 by Jeff Agnew

Media Day Revelations By Coach Weathers

During the College Baseball Media Day Dirtbags Coach Mike Weathers revealed:

In his view, in light of its talent, the 2004 team underacheived - in his words "something was missing". Though the talent level is less this year, he's impressed with the leadership on the current team.

In the infield, starters at third (Danny Mocny), shortstop (Troy Tulowitzki) and second (Chuck Sindlinger) will be the same as last year. At first, after the departure of Mike Hofius, he'll be looking to Scott Bradley...and one or two others. Behind the plate, he'll be looking to Tito Cruz, Chris Jones, Jason Struble and/or Tom Sarti.

In the outfield, Sean Boatright will start in center, and Steve Valazco in right. He mentioned a leftfielder, but I missed the name (I believe a transfer from Sacramento City College).

On the mound, Cesar Ramos is set for starting on Friday night. Coach Weathers mentioned Cody Evans and Jared Hughes as potential starters. He also stated the Dirtbags will probably start Neil Jamison, the closer on last year's squad. At closer, according to Weathers, the 49ers will look to Brian Anderson and/or another incoming pitcher.

I'll try to fill in a few blanks, and update this post.

UPDATE: According to the prospectus handed out at the Media Day event, here's the projected starting lineup:

C - Tito Cruz
1B - Brandon Godfrey
2B - Chuck Sindlinger
SS - Troy Tulowitzki
3B - Danny Mocny
LF - Jamie Huizar, Jr. (transfer from Sacramento CC - all league in 2004, hit .362)
CF - Steve Valazco
RF - Sean Boatright, Jr.
DH - Evan Longoria (transfer from Rio Hondo CC - JUCO All-American, hit .435 - 14th in state, .707 slugging percentage, 15 HRs, 39 RBI0

Projected weekend starting rotation:

Friday - Cesar Ramos
Saturday - Cody Evans, Jr.
Sunday - Jared Hughes


Neil Jamison
Brian Anderson
Marco Estrada, Jr. (transfer from Glendale CC - all conference, 8-3, 86 innings, 110 Ks in 2002)

In light of the comments made by Coach Weathers during the Media Day event, it would appear that Neil Jamison may be in the starting mix at some point.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

College Baseball Media Day Will Be Live On The Web

The 3rd annual College Baseball Media Day, set for tomorrow (Wednesday) at 10:00 9:30 a.m. at the Pyramid in Long Beach, will be broadcast on streaming audio. Here is the link.

All of the baseball coaches in the Big West Conference are expected to participate, as well as other southern California college baseball coaches.

If the above link doesn't work, then try this one.

Update: Though the streaming audio link at currently says 10:00 a.m., I believe it may actually start at 9:30 a.m.

Baseball America's Big West Conference Preview

Baseball America is out with their Big West Conference 2005 preview (no link, paid subscription area only). BA gives the Big West a conference power rating in 6th place, and projects the following finish (records are from 2004):
			 Conference 	Overall

1. Cal St. Fullerton (3) 19 2 47 22
2. Long Beach State (22) 14 7 40 21
3. Cal Poly (38) 10 11 38 23
4. UC Irvine (40) 10 11 34 23
5. UC Santa Barbara 10 11 33 21
6. UC Riverside 11 10 33 24
7. Cal State Northridge 5 16 19 38
8. Pacific 5 16 20 34
They predict that Fullerton, Cal Poly and the Dirtbags will be Regional teams. Highlights in the "Players to Watch" prognostications:

All-Conference Team: Troy Tulowitzki and Cesar Ramos.
Player of the Year: Troy Tulowitzki.
Top Newcomers: #3 RHP Jared Hughes and #4 RHP Cody Evans.
Top Prospects, 2005 Draft: #1. Troy Tulowitzki. #2. Cesar Ramos. #4. Neil Jamison.
Top Prospects, 2006 Draft: #3. Jared Hughes.
Best Athlete: Troy Tulowizki.
Best Defensive Shortstop: Troy Tulowizki.
Infielder/Best Arm: Troy Tulowizki.
Best Control: Cesar Ramos.

Here's BA's take on the Dirtbags' team:
Long Beach State featured one of the best starting rotations in Division I in 2004 with first-rounder Jered Weaver (15-1, 1.62), second-rounder Jason Vargas (7-6, 4.14) and LHP Cesar Ramos (12-4, 2.29), who projects as a first- or second-rounder this year. Ramos, who pitched last summer for Team USA, assumes the role of ace from Weaver, who remains unsigned but is not expected back for his senior year. The 49ers rotation should get a boost with the transfer of sophomore RHP Jared Hughes, who ranked as the nation's top prep pitcher entering his senior year in high school. Hughes transferred to Long Beach State after going 0-1, 4.79 in 21 innings as a freshman at Santa Clara. The 49ers staff also got an unexpected lift when senior RHP Neil Jamison, who saved 12 games in 2004, elected to return after being selected by the Mets in the eighth round of the draft . . .

Monday, January 10, 2005

Coach Weathers Playing Pitching Close To The Vest

Dirtbags Coach Mike Weathers ain't tellin' who's startin'. Here's his quote last week on
"Cesar is capable of the same Friday night's as former All-Americans Abe Alvarez and Jered Weaver," said fourth-year Head Coach Mike Weathers in the team's preview, relating Ramos to National Pitcher of the Year Jered Weaver and current Red Sox prospect Abe Alvarez. "It will be much different heading into this season, with only Ramos set in the rotation, but we continue to have a lot of good, quality arms, which has been our strength."
I couldn't agree more!

My opinion is worth every penny you pay for it! So here goes with my take on weekend starting pitching:

Friday starter: Cesar Ramos. Now, that was hard!

Saturday starter: Cody Evans. I hear that the job he did in fall ball was outstanding and likely landed the Saturday starting role. Here's some background on Cody.

Sunday starter: Now we are getting into the real guessing game. My best guess is one of the following: Brian Anderson, Neil Jamison or Jared Hughes. As I noted here, Jared has a blazing fastball, but has had control problems. If Dirtbags Pitching Coach Troy Buckley has helped him consistently find the strike zone, he's a real contender with that fastball. Neil Jamison, the Dirtbags standout closer last year - right at the top in the nation in saves for a time and finishing 12th in Division I - has been given a hard look at starting. He pitched well in extended assignments in fall ball. Number one setup man last year, Brian Anderson, had an outstanding year. Like Neil, he's a senior this season. His ERA over his first two seasons was 5.52. Last season, something clicked and he turned in a stellar 2.98 ERA. It was no fluck. In summer ball with Alexandria in the Northwoods League, Brian went 2-3 in 7 appearances (6 starts). Over 47.1 innings, his ERA was 2.85. My best bet is that either Neil or Brian will start on Sunday, and the other will be the closer.

Double Diamond Wedding For Mike Hofius

Mike and Lindsay on Senior Day 2004Dr. Dan reports on his Diamond Dust blog:
Lots of press and actually a break in the weather for the wedding of Dirtbag first baseman Mike Hofius and his number one fan and now his new boss, Lindsay Hamblin. They got hitched Saturday between showers at a well-rinsed Blair Field.
Congratulations, and the very best of luck!

Does Jered Weaver Compare With Mark Prior?

Here is an excellent post at Rich's Weekend Baseball Beat on the Jered Weaver v. Mark Prior comparison, and how it plays into the negotiations with the team formerly known as the Anaheim Angels. [In addition to the more common complaints about the ridiculous renaming of the Orange County MLB franchise, does anyone else think the name "The Angels Angels of Anaheim is strange?]

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Welcome To Dirtbags Baseball's Site Redesign

For those who have been here before, you've probably already noticed the new look. In addition to the appearance, there are some other changes, including:
A new home page, in addition to the Blog home page.
A photo gallery
A page devoted to Dirtbags in professional baseball
Pages for links, contact and game schedule
Some of the pages - notably the photo gallery and professional players pages - are really works in progress. I'll be editing and updating them until complete, then on an ongoing basis.

The site update adds flexibility to include features beyond the blog. If you have ideas you'd like to see on Dirtbags Baseball, please drop me an email at

Highlights of Baseball America's College Baseball Chat Today

Will Kimmey at Baseball America took questions online today concerning the upcoming college baseball season. Here's the transcript. And here are the Long Beach State Dirtbag highlights:
Will Kimmey: Hey, here's a welcome to everyone and an apology for being a minute or so late. I'm in Nashville for the American College Baseball Association convention and I bumped into Long Beach State coach Mike Weathers in line for a $4 bottle of water and got delayed a little bit. But here we go, let's have fun here.
Now we know where Coach Weathers is! Next question:
Q: Rick from Des Moines asks:
What prompted Jared Hughes to transfer to Long Beach and what kind of impact do you think he'll have?

A: Will Kimmey:
He's going to be a key for that LBSU staff. Hughes ranked as one of the nation's top prep arms before he committed to Santa Clara. Things didn't work out for him there, but Beach pitch coach Troy Buckley has done wonders with guys like Jered Weaver, Jason Vargas (both gone to the draft last June) and Cesar Ramos, so a betting man might like the odds that Hughes fulfills his potential.
Jared Hughes had control problems at Santa 20.2 innings he had 9 wild pitches, hit 5 batters and yielded 13 walks. But he has outstanding velocity on his fastball - topping out at 96 MPH his senior year in high school. Here's a prior post including info on Jared.
Next question:
Q: Dave from Fullerton asks:
Will, thanks for taking the time to answer questions today. Fullerton and Long Beach have been the top two teams in the Big West for a while now and figure to be in regionals again this year. With the Big West usually getting three regional spots (have done so each of the past four years), how many other Big West teams do you see getting into regionals this year? Irvine has almost everybody coming back except for Smith, UCSB has most of their position players and all of their pitchers back, Riverside has most of their position players back (rebuilding the starting rotation) and Cal Poly has all of their pitchers back (holes to fill in the batting lineup).

A: Will Kimmey:
I like the Big West. A lot. The Titans and Dirtbags are always in the national mix, but I think Poly has some arms in Garrett Olson and returning senior Jimmy Shull, plus speedy Brandon Roberts to start things offensively. And your Irvine take is right on, though Brett Smith will be missed more than you think. The Anteaters should get back to regionals, though, giving the league four teams.
Sounds like it's shaping up to be a great season of baseball in the Big West!

Dirtbags No. 8 in NCBWA Preseason Ranking

I haven't got a link to the full ranking yet, but the National Collegiate Baseball Writer's Association has ranked Long Beach State 8th in it's preseaon poll. Here's the story at, and at the Long Beach Press-Telegram.

Update: The 8th place ranking may have been in error. NCBWA had Long Beach at #8 preseason last year. When I get confirmation of the 2005 preseason ranking, I'll post it.

Coach Weathers Sounds Ready To Go

Check out this article at, which includes this from Dirtbags Coach Mike Weathers:
"With the experience Cesar and Troy got with Team USA this summer, I know they came in ready to handle anything. They know they are the go-to guys and with others, took the team and said it's our time," said fourth-year Head Coach Mike Weathers in this year's team preview. "The team chemistry is as good as any team we've had, the young arms have been impressive in the fall, and the staff's a lot deeper. The defense is right there, backing up our pitching and our hitters have bought into our philosophy as good as any team I've coached. We are also going be able to run a little more. I really like this team."

Troy Tulowitzki and Cesar Ramos Selected Preseason All-Americans By Baseball America

Long Beach State Dirtbag shortstop Troy Tulowitzki has been named to the Baseball America Preseason All-America second team. LHP Cesar Ramos is included on the third team.

Troy started all 61 games for the 49ers last season, batting .317 with a .491 slugging percentage. He belted 7 homeruns, 2 triples and 15 doubles. Cesar, the Dirtbags regular Saturday pitcher, started 19 games, going 12-4 with a 2.29 ERA.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

That's Why They Play The Games - II

With Baseball America out with their preseason crystal ball, as I did with Collegiate Baseball I've checked out BA's track record last year. I've compared their 2004 preseason Top 25 rankings (this year they went to 50) with the final Top 25. The results:
Pre-	School			Final

season Poll

1. Rice 11
2. Louisiana State 7
3. Miami 4
4. Cal State Fullerton 1
5. Georgia Tech 10
6. Stanford 9
7. South Carolina 3
8. Texas 2
9. Long Beach State 13
10. Tulane 19
11. Clemson NR
12. Auburn NR
13. Baylor NR
14. Wichita State NR
15. North Carolina NR
16. Arizona 12
17. Mississippi 23
18. Arizona State 22
19. Notre Dame 15
20. Florida 16
21. Texas A&M 20
22. Florida State 14
23. Florida Atlantic NR
24. Nebraska NR
25. North Carolina State NR
As I did with Collegiate Baseball, I averaged the change in ordinal position from preseason to final poll. Since only 25 teams were ranked in each, a team not ranked in the final poll (NR) was assigned 26th position. The average ordinal difference (whether up or down) was 6.08. Eight out of 25 teams - 32% - fell out of the rankings in the final poll.

All of the double digit position changes involved over-ranking teams, with Rice dropping from 1st to 11th, and the 11th through 15th place schools (Clemson, Auburn, Baylor, Wichita State and North Carolina, in order) all falling out of the poll by season end.

It's also interesting to note that three of the teams in the final Top 25 (Georgia at #5, Arkansas at #6 and East Carolina at #8) were not ranked in the 2004 preseason poll.

Baseball America Puts Dirtbags 22nd in Preseason Ranking

Baseball America is out today with their preseason rankings for Division I baseball. Their list was compiled by editor Allan Simpson and national writer Will Kimmey. BA places Long Beach State 22nd.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Dirtbags May Be Stretching Recruiting Long Arm To Missouri

According to this site, and this one, Scott Turmail, a 6;4" 190 lb. righthanded pitcher at Hazelwood Central HS in Missouri has verbally committed to Long Beach State for 2005-2006. Here's an excerpt from this feature article at
The gifted righthander, who ... will be a senior at Hazelwood Central this fall, just returned from pitching for the PONY National All-Star Team at a tournament in Joplin, Mo. ...

"It made me feel awesome to be a part of it," said Turmail. "I got a couple of calls from (college) scouts that saw me throw at that tournament."

Those calls, which came from college recruiters from Long Beach State and Notre Dame, are not the only ones Turmail has gotten. On Thursday, the first day recruiters could contact him, he heard from seven total including representatives from Southwest Missouri State and Mizzou.

Turmail has been extremely hard to beat the past two years. He was a cumulative 13-2 with around a 1.60 earned run average at Hazelwood Central and is 11-2 with an earned run average of just below 1.00 the last two years for the Stallions which includes a 2-0 mark this year and a 0.50 ERA.

"It's his location and command of his pitches that makes him so good," said Zoellner. "I've never seen a pitcher who can spot a pitch whether it's a fastball, slider, curve or changeup. He has a command of all those pitches. Plus, he does not get rattled. He works hard to get out of tough situations."
Sound like he already knows a fair amount about how to pitch. Here's some additional stats.