'Jacks 2008 Preview: Infield
Feb. 13, 2008
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - It is always hard to replace an All-American, but that is the task Adam Bosley will have in 2008. After taking 2007 off to recover from hand surgery, Bosley is back to 100 percent and is set to take over the first base duties for the 'Jacks with the departure of Steven Hill. Bosley saw action in 47 games in 2006, including 31 starts, and is expected to see the majority of the reps this season.
"First base is going to be a fun place to watch with Bosley seeing time there," Watson said. "Bosley is an outstanding defensive first baseman that gives us a left-handed bat in the lineup."
The other considerable hole to fill can be found on the opposite side of the diamond as the graduation of Chris Smith has created a vacancy at the hot corner; however, once again depth and flexibility should provide Watson with plenty of seletions at third base.
The frontrunner for the spot looks to be Brian Ferguson with his defensive abilities, and if he hits consistently the job could stay his; however, nipping at his heels for playing time on the infield are junior college transfers Jeffrey Kello and Sean Meyers, along with Croft and Whatley.
"Meyers has worked very hard in the off-season proving that he can hit at this level after hitting .410 at Alvin Junior College a year ago," Watson said.
Kello, a transfer from Cisco Junior Collge, has impressed the coaches enough with his ability to hit the long ball to merit playing time, while Croft and Whatley each have previous experience at third and provide plenty of depth.
After seeing each corner infielder depart, it is a comfort to be able to look at the middle infielders and find a sense of familiarity with seniors Noel Trevino and Jeff Brewer seeming to have a firm grip on the starting slots heading into opening day.
"Second base is locked up as long as Noel Trevino can stand up, but we will have to move him around some," Watson said. "He was an all-conference outfielder in junior college, and against left-handed pitching, we should be able to move him to the outfield and bring in Gabriel Garcia-Serrano to play second or short."
Trevino earned all-conference honors last year in his first year as a 'Jack, but will be asked to provide more of a power role in '08 after slugging .516 with nine home runs as a junior.
At shortstop, Jeff Brewer was as steady as there was in the SLC last season, but his biggest progression may have come offensively in '07. Brewer showed some occasional power with a pair of home runs last year, but was most dangerous on the base paths with a team-best 12 steals.
"Jeff made defenses really have to work last year," Watson said. "He hit some home runs, bunted for base hits and stole some bases for us in addition to playing nearly flawless defense at shortstop."
As a senior it will be hard to pry Brewer out of the everyday shortstop role, but he will get plenty of competition from redshirt sophomore Gabriel Garcia-Serrano, who Watson says has all of the tools to be an everyday player. After seeing plenty of time as a freshman, Garcia-Serrano took his redshirt season in '07 and has now matured into a viable threat for playing time with his performance in fall workouts.
In addition to those returnees, Justin Roland brings the capability to play second and third base as well as shortstop, while freshman Luke Baker has shown enough encouraging sparks to raise the coach's eyebrows and may have brought him into the mix for playing time as the year progresses.
The 'Jacks open up the season Feb. 22 in Edinburg, Texas, at the UT-Pan American Tournament against Texas State. They will follow that up with games against UTPA and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi before taking part in the Baylor Tournament the following week.
Check back with sfajacks.com for more updates on Lumberjack baseball.
Feb. 4 - Starting Pitching
Feb. 7 - Relief Pitching
Feb. 11 - Catchers
Feb. 13 - Infielders
Feb. 18 - Outfielders