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Another Take On The '06 Dirtbags


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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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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Another Take On The '06 Dirtbags

Baseball America's Pre-Season Top 25 includes the Dirtbags at #22. Here's their capsule on Long Beach State (paid area):
Offense: The infield returns three of its four starters from a year ago, though the one loss - shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (.349-8-29) - is major. Look for Evan Longoria to fill his role as the key offensive cog, reprising his 2005 role during Tulowitzki's 20-game absence with a wrist injury. Longoria led the Cape Cod League in home runs (eight) and RBIs (35) over the summer. Robert Perry, a Little League teammate of Tulowitzki's, should set the table for Longoria and the oft-injured Sean Boatright. Tito Cruz or freshman Kip Masuda must replace Chris Jones (.308) at catcher. Expect the small-ball attack to score just enough to win, as usual.

Pitching/Defense: The Beach lost Jered Weaver and Jason Vargas after 2004 but still led the nation with a 2.53 ERA a year ago. This season provides a similar opportunity as Cesar Ramos (10-7, 2.64) and Marco Estrada (8-3, 2.43) are gone. Jared Hughes stands as the returning ace after going 7-0 on the Cape. As for the newcomers, Vance Worley throws four pitches for strikes and reaches the low 90s, while Andrew Carpenter seeks to serve as the key JC plug-in the Dirtbags have found the last two years in Vargas and Estrada. The bullpen could prove shaky following the losses of seniors Neil Jamison (0.00 ERA, 11 saves) and Brian Anderson (0.83 ERA).

X Factor: Long Beach State likes its depth of position players, and this roster features the normal mix of seasoned players and key juco additions. Still, there's reason to expect true freshmen to prove vital this year. Worley and Danny Espinosa must prove ready for their roles, and at least one of three other freshmen - lefty Shane Peterson or righthanders Bryan Shaw and Scott Turmail - must emerge on the mound to add depth to the bullpen.

posted on 1/17/2006 by Jeff Agnew

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