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Grading Beaver Baseball: The Subs

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Now that the 2014 college baseball season has concluded, it seems like a good time to look back on the Beaver Baseball campaign and assess individual performances, starting with the major positional substitutes.

The Beavers extras produced when called upon, but did not exceed expectations.
The Beavers extras produced when called upon, but did not exceed expectations.
Andy Wooldridge

Michael Howard:

Howard came in when the match-up dictated it, and performed well in his role but nothing extraordinary. He had an average of .260 for the overall season in 43 games played. He actually raised his average to .289 during conference play, with 6 runs scored and 4 runs batted in. In conference play Howard had 17.1% strikeout ratio and a 14.3% walk ratio, which is neither terrible nor fantastic, just somewhere comfortably in the middle.

The one game of Howard's season that really stands out was game 3 of the Oregon series, where he scored two runs with superb baserunning, and he brought in two runs as well. Overall on the season, he did not leave much more of an impact though. Most of the season he was not noticeable in the designated hitter role and had very little time in the outfield. It was a decent year for the JC transfer, but was merely passable as opposed to major influence on the season. With the outfield jobs opening up, he needs to take another step forward in the offseason in order to take a hold of a starting job.

Grade: C+

Jerad Casper:

Casper made some brief appearances during the year and ended with a .157 average overall and a .069 average in conference play from 29 at bats. With a limited sample size his stats are not especially pleasant, his strike out ratio and walk ratio from conference play are 33% and 9% respectively. Overall on the season his ratios are a 28.9% K ratio and a 13.6% BB ratio.

When he saw the field it was generally as a substitute, with 12 starts out of 36 appearances, and was routinely subbed in for his defense where he had some excellent players, although he did much better at 1st base than 3rd base. He was never good enough to maintain a hold on either starting role, although that may have come down to the offense, where the stats show it clearly. His time in the batters box was even more telling where his swing was extremely slow, and he failed to recognize pitches, as his strikeout ratio also shows.

At the end of his career Casper never was a really productive player for Oregon State. His high point in his time at OSU was probably the grand slam he got against Northern Illinois, and there were a few defensive highlights, but mostly he was an okay fill in when somebody went down with an injury. He passed on the year but barely.

Grade: C-

Nick Rulli:

Rulli played in the outfield and had some chances to start, but as the season went on he mostly came on as a pinch-hitter. He had an overall batting average of .298, but that did fall to .238 in conference play. In conference play he had a mere 21 at-bats so the numbers are even harder to look at than Casper's. For reference his strikeout and and walk ratio for the whole season would have been 20.7% and 17.2% respectively, but once again that is in an extremely small sample size of 58 plate appearances.

There was a chance he could grab a starting position when Hendrix was injured early in the season and Casey was not 100% sold on the sophomore, but when Hendrix returned he was the superior option. Rulli did see the field a fair amount though as Casey would often call on him to hit for one of the freshmen in tight situations. His greatest moment was his triple off the wall in the final game, giving the Beavers a final gasp before they exited the tournament.

In the end he did not have as much expected of him as the other two and it seems difficult to grade him quite as severely. In the end he took advantage of the opportunities afforded to him and it seems deserving of a grade that exceeds expectations, though there was not as much expected. He did have a career year and that merits a better grade.

Grade: A-

Nate Esposito:

Esposito was expected to compete for the starting catcher spot, but when he faced a suspension early in the season Logan Ice had already performed well and took control of the spot. From that respect this season was more or less a failure for Espo, as this was his season to get into the starting lineup. He did perform well in the few games he played in, but with Logan Ice entrenched firmly as catcher and with freshman KJ Harrison coming in it might mean the end of playing time for Nate Esposito.

His suspension and subsequent failure to get back on the field was far below what was expected of him, and as such a harsh grade is required.

Grade: D