The Arizona State baseball team wrapped up fall practice last week with their annual Maroon and Gold World Series. Sitting bored on a Wednesday night, Skip ask fans on Twitter to ask him some questions about this year's squad as they continue preparations for their 2016 season.
Here is what we learned.
Nobody clear cut...Erives and Bueno leading candidates. https://t.co/rdLA2Du6jY— Tracy Smith (@ASUSkip) December 3, 2015
The Friday night starer remains one of the biggest question marks for the Sun Devils. Gone are Ryan Kellogg and Brett Lilek and Seth Martinez was up-and-down towards the end of the season. What is interesting about Smith's response here is both of the leading candidates to start on Friday's pitched out of the bullpen in 2014.
Erives was one of ASU's top bullpen arms last season, often setting up for closer Ryan Burr. He threw 30.1 inning to the tune of a 3.26 ERA. He pitched well in the Cape Cod Baseball League over the summer and even started a game for the Orleans Firebirds.
A lot of people will say Hever Bueno has the best pure "stuff" on the pitching staff, however he has struggled with his command much of his first two years at ASU. He walked 12 batters in 16 innings last season, posting a 7.88 ERA.
Besides me? I would say Bueno, Woody, and Serven...and a bunch of our signees. https://t.co/IR83yaM9Pc— Tracy Smith (@ASUSkip) December 3, 2015
ASU has not had a player selected in the first round of the MLB Draft since Deven Marrero in 2012. That trend looks to continue in 2016 as ASU lacks a truly elite draft prospect. Both Brian Serven and Colby Woodmansee saw their summers in the Cape Cod League cut short because of injury (Woodmansee was hitting well over .300).
Expect both Serven and Woody to be selected inside of the top-5 rounds next June and Woodmansee could see himself selected higher if he has another standout season as it is not a banner year for college middle infielders.
The Sun Devils' incoming recruiting class is ranked No. 4 in the country according to Perfect Game. Baseball America released its top-100 high school prospects earlier this week and three ASU commits were placed inside the top-50 (RHP Reggie Lawson No. 9, INF Bo Bichette No. 36 and SS Gavin Lux No. 47).
The Sun Devils have a very deep class but if they could get at least one of those players to campus it would mean a lot to the program for 2017 and beyond.
Shaps https://t.co/RU0gSFEasz— Tracy Smith (@ASUSkip) December 3, 2015
The back end of the bullpen is another question mark heading into 2016 for the Sun Devils, especially if Erives and Bueno move to the rotation. Andrew Shaps is a sophomore LHP from Scottsdale, Ariz. He threw just 4.2 innings in seven appearances last season.
Unforgiving as usual... https://t.co/75BOa3J9Vq— Tracy Smith (@ASUSkip) December 3, 2015
It should be an interesting year in the Pac-12. Arizona and Washington State are both breaking in new coaches and many believe Cal is the preseason favorite in the league. Expect Oregon, Oregon State and UCLA to be very good again with USC and Washington being X-factors this season.