N Options Abound in the Outfield C Senior Spencer Theisen returns to centerfield for the 2012 season and will be the unquestioned leader of the A outfield. The lefty from Longwood, Fla., started 61 games as a junior and, although he didn’t replicate his 2010 MVP A
year (.373, 43 RBI, 24 SB), he still produced solid offensive numbers. “You know with Theisen what you are going to get,” Dunn said. “He is one of the top defenders, in my opinion, one of the top center fielders in all of college baseball. He can go get it with the best of them. We look for him to improve his on-base percentage and approach, or exceed, his stolen base numbers from 2010.” Theisen will be flanked by a group of talented players who, depending on the situation, will be called upon to best put their strengths into play. Junior Mitchel Brennan, another left-handed hitter and thrower, will be the primary starter in right field. He was severely hampered early last year by a knee injury but, by the time the post-season rolled around, was playing at the highest level. He was named to the All-Tournament teams after both the A-Sun Championship and the Columbia Regional. Brennan, who started his collegiate career at Mercer before moving on to Tallahassee CC, hit .347 in only 75 at bats last year and may get called upon to give the Hatters’ righthand dominant pitching staff a third left-hand option. Sophomore Robert Bruce, who also hits left-handed, will miss the first month of the season, but will likely push for more playing time as the year goes along. Of all the players vying for the two corner outfield spots, the coaching staff agrees that Bruce is the best defender. Two others who will be in the outfield mix, and are locked in a battle for the starting job in leftfield, are sophomore Kyle Zech and junior James Rasmussen. Zech started 20 games in 2011 and batted .290 as a right-handed hitter while Rasmussen, who was a part-time starter in 2010, had to deal with a broken thumb he suffered against Florida State.
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R E G I O N A L S
While the loss of Nick Rickles, who would have been a senior this spring, to the Oakland A’s in the MLB Draft was not unexpected, it is still a blow to the Hatters’ offensive production. Rickles led the team in 2011 with a .347 average, 13 home runs and was second with 62 RBI. Enter junior college transfer Sam Kimmel. While not expected to duplicate the numbers Rickles produced, the Hatters are excited to have the left-handed hitting Kimmel in the fold, especially since he was originally recruited to replace Crews at second base. “They needed a catcher down at Indian River and Kimmel volunteered,” Dunn said. “Out of necessity, he moved behind the plate and ended up getting drafted (35th round by Cincinnati). He has good tools, and a left-handed hitter who can swing the bat.” Kimmel is so disciplined at the plate that the Stetson coaches have considered using him in a role similar to
“Ras probably has the best arm from the outfield and he runs well,” Dunn said. “He broke his thumb toward the end of his freshman year diving for a ball and was hurt again last year. He and Zech are much the same. Zech’s tools are off the chart. He is the fastest runner we have ever had, has great arm strength and has power at the plate.” Two others in the mix for playing time in the outfield are sophomores Brian Eggleston and Kevin Lindheim. Eggleston was redshirted last spring while Lindheim converted from the mound. Kevin’s bat could well put him in the mix for a corner outfield berth.
what Tampa Bay did with John Jaso last year – hit him in the leadoff spot. “He could lead off for us, which he did some in the fall,” Dunn said. “The thing he’ll do is have a very good on-base percentage because he’ll take his walks and has a very good eye at the plate. He has a good two-strike approach and will foul pitches off. He’ll get the ball down if needed. That’s the reason we think he’s a candidate for the leadoff position.” Behind Kimmel, the Hatters have depth. If things had gone as expected, freshman Garrett Russini would likely be splitting time behind the plate with Trey Blackman, who gave the Hatters some key innings behind the plate in 2011. With Kimmel in the mix, Russini will serve as the backup and Blackman will catch in an emergency. The Hatters can also turn to senior Ethan Maskolunas or sophomore Kyle Campbell for additional depth at the position.
2012 Media Guide & Record Book
2012 Baseball Media Guide & Record Book