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USC Trojans Remain Undefeated

February 27, 2015 | by RotoRob | Comments Comments Off
Brooks Kriske had a successful season debut for the Southern California Trojans.
Brooks Kriske fanned 10 in five innings in his 2015 debut. (Tucker McWhirter, Daily Trojan)

It has now been a decade since the University of Southern California Trojans have made the NCAA Baseball Tournament. However, with the team winning its first seven games at home and then another two on the road to fuel a 9-0 start, there’s excitement building early on this season for the Trojans.

This is the best start for USC since 1988.

Sure, it’s hard to gauge how good this team is until Conference play begins, but if the Trojans keep winning, sooner or later, the NCBWA will begin to take note and elevate this squad into the top 30.

Tuesday, in his first start of the season, junior righty Brooks Kriske held Fresno State to three hits and a run over five innings. He fanned 10, but walked four in a no-decision. During his first two seasons at USC, Kriske has been used mostly out of the bullpen, making just five starts combined. He was easier to hit last year, yet went undefeated as he lowered his ERA substantially. Coming out of high school (see video below), Kriske was considered someone that would throw strikes, but he needed work on his secondary pitches.

USC wound up winning the game Tuesday 3-2 in 10 innings as Fresno State (3-5) lefty Ricky Thomas again struggled, giving up three hits and three walks in just 2 1/3 IP before getting the hook. The freshman actually managed to lower his ERA with this outing, but it’s been a rough start to his college career.

For the Bulldogs, Austin Guibor continues to rake, going 2-for-4 with an RBI. The sophomore outfielder established himself as a solid leadoff option last year, and is doing the same in 2015, batting .471 with a .761 slugging percentage and more walks than strikeouts. Guibor is someone to pay attention to in the 2016 MLB Draft.

For Fresno State, Tuesday marked its fifth straight loss after a nice start to the season.

The Trojans’ early season success suggests the program rebuilding is nearly complete. Two years ago, there was 17 freshman on this team; now there’s 19 upper classmen, including seven returning starting position players and two returning starting pitchers.

Senior catcher Garrett Stubbs is the team’s biggest bat, raking at a .500 rate through nine games with one double, six RBI and four walks. He’s swiped seven bags on eight tries already. Stubbs was a full-time starter as a Junior, but has taken his game to a new level early on in 2015. His relatively small stature (5′10″, 165) will likely hold him back from excelling at the next level — at least as a catcher.

Now it’s your turn. Let us know in the comments below whether you think the Trojans can make it to the tourney this year.

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Prospect Watch: Tyler Wilson

February 25, 2015 | by RotoRob | Comments Comments Off
Wilson is not someone that will blow hitters away or light up the radar gun, but he always seems to rack up the Ws wherever he goes (his 25 career wins ranks third all-time at Virginia). The fact that his command did not really suffer in the move from Double-A to Triple-A was a great sign.
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Baltimore Orioles Rotation 2015 Preview

February 24, 2015 | by RotoRob | Comments (3)
Showalter is entering his sixth season at the helm of the O’s and his .535 winning percentage is second only to his tenure with the Yankees, when he won at a .539 clip. His time with B-More has enabled him to now move almost 100 games over .500 for his managing career (1,259-1,161) for a fine .520 mark. It’s that pesky 9-13 postseason mark that haunts Showalter.
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Can Stand Pat Orioles Repeat in AL East?

February 20, 2015 | by RotoRob | Comments (3)
In 2014, the Baltimore Orioles pretty much ran away with a much less competitive than normal American League East.
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2002 MLB Draft Recap: Part IV

February 18, 2015 | by Michael Seff | Comments Comments Off
And we’re back! With the 2015 Major League Baseball season just around the corner, we pick up our retrospective of the 2002 MLB Draft with Part Four.
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