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ASU baseball: 2018 infield preview

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Who’s on first?

Photo by Maxwell Madden

Projected starting infield: 3B Carter Aldrete, SS Drew Swift, 2B Alika Williams, 1B Jeremy McCuin, C Lyle Lin

Take a peak behind the mound, and you’ll see a pair of new faces with a bit a couple changes. Nobody, other than sophomore catcher Lyle Lin, will be in the same spot in the infield as last season.

Sophomore Carter Aldrete, who played second base last season switched to third, while last season’s third baseman, junior Jeremy McCuin, is moving to first. These changes make room in the middle infield for freshmen Alika Williams and Drew Swift.

Catcher

At .290, Lin posted the best batting average of ASU’s 2017 infield. The Taipei, Taiwan native also started all 55 games last season. He owns the spot. Highly-touted sophomore Sam Ferri is sidelined this season with a UCL tear. Backup catcher, Luke Leisenring, who ranked the No. 1 catcher in Colorado by Perfect Game, left high school a year early just in time to fill in for Ferri’s absence.

Middle infield

With 70 errors and a .967 field percentage, Arizona State posted the worst team fielding statistics in the Pac-12 a season ago. Manager Tracy Smith is relying on two freshmen middle infielders to fix that. Williams was drafted in the 32nd round by the Yankees and Swift, a Chandler native, was tabbed Perfect Game preseason Pac-12 freshman of the year. Swift, at shortstop, posted a .950 fielding percentage at Hamilton his senior season, while Williams batted .395 at Rancho Bernardo (San Diego).

Freshman Gage Workman is potential utility man for Smith. He was picked in the 14th round by the Brewers, but hasn’t found his fit. He’s in the running for a spot in left field, along with many others.

Corners

Aldrete had one error through 17 non-conference games, playing primarily second base last season, but recorded eight errors in his final 39. Now, he’s at third base. Aldrete hovered around the heart of ASU’s 2017 lineup, batting around fourth or sixth. He’s fourth among returners with last year’s .270 batting average.

Jeremy McCuin, who started 48 games last season, played primarily third base. He’s now at first. With a .253 average, McCuin sat around the end of the last season lineup.

Spencer Torkelson, a 6-1, 205-pound freshman from Petaluma, California, is second to McCuin at first. Senior Taylor Lane has played first base, but mostly fit in as a designator hitter last season. He is competing for a job in left field, though.