Baseball Preview: Outfielders
By Grant Dovey for WVUsports.com
February 14, 2013 01:30 PM
|Newcomer Taylor Munden will be used at an array of different positions.
|Dale Sparks/All-Pro Photography photo
The 2013 edition of West Virginia baseball returns its entire starting outfield from a year ago, led by senior Brady Wilson
and sophomore Bobby Boyd
. Also returning is senior Chris Rasky
and junior Matt Frazer
, who split time in left field last season with Frazer finishing the season as a designated hitter.
Boyd will stay in center field after a fantastic rookie season, leading the team in batting average (.321), hits (62) and stolen bases (23), while being named to the All-Big East Rookie team. Boyd started the final 51 games of the season and worked his way into the leadoff position, recording 17 multi-hit and five multi-stolen base games.
“Bobby has shown the ability to be a good offensive player. He stole a lot of bases and hit for a good average as a freshman,” coach Randy Mazey says. He is included in the four or five guys that need to have big years for us to have a good season. I would like to see Bobby steal 30 bases if he can. We shortened up his swing a little so he is not thinking too much about hitting the long ball, but getting on base and stealing bases.”
Boyd committed six errors and registered five outfield assists, finishing the season with a .963 fielding percentage. In the Big East, Boyd ranked No. 5 in overall stolen bases, while finishing No. 6 in stolen bases (9), No. 8 in runs scored (22) and No. 10 in hits (36) in conference play.
Sophomore Taylor Munden
has the ability to play every position on the diamond and will likely do so throughout the year after spending the 2012 season at Marion Military Institute. He batted .327 with 18 runs, 10 doubles, 12 RBIs and 10 stolen bases last season. One of the most athletic and versatile players on the field, Munden can also play the infield and will pitch relief innings on the mound.
is a guy who can play anywhere on the field. He can play shortstop, second base, third base, all three outfield positions and catch,” Mazey says. “He will fit in somewhere whether it’s at shortstop or the outfield, we don’t know yet. He gives us some depth. He can hit behind runners, he can bunt, he can drive some balls and he can run. He’ll do a lot of things for us, we just need to figure out how to best utilize him. He also pitches, so we have to optimize that guy.”
Wilson returns for his third season in 2013. Last year, he started at 55 games, batting .271 with a team-leading 41 runs scores and 26 walks, while adding seven doubles, two triples, four home runs, 21 RBIs and 10 stolen bases.
“Obviously first and foremost he can really run,” Mazey says. “He came here as a second baseman and actually with this team we have more depth in the outfield than we do in the infield, so somebody that is playing out there may eventually play an infield spot. He’s really steady and needs to have a big year for us. If he can hit .300 and steal 20 bases, that will be a big year for Brady.”
Wilson ranked No. 1 in Big East play in plate appearances (135), No. 1 in at bats (118) and No. 8 in runs scored (22). Defensively, the speedster also has the ability to play second base and made six errors last season with a .967 fielding percentage.
“He’s a guy that needs to get on base however he can. I don’t care if he hits .200 or .300, as long as he gets on base and then wreak havoc on the other team’s pitcher and catcher,” Mazey says. “He just needs to put the ball in play and not strike out. He’ll get some infield hits, some hits that other people can’t get just because he can run so well.”
Frazer started the season as the left fielder, but moved to designated hitter towards the middle of April. He batted .294 in 54 games with a team-leading 23 doubles to go along with six home runs and 31 RBIs.
“Matt has done well defensively in the outfield, I’m okay with him playing in the outfield,” Mazey says. “He’s got tremendous power, but his numbers haven’t dictated that yet in his college career. I would love to see him be a double-digit home run guy, drive in a lot of guys and hit in the middle of the lineup.”
He recorded 15 multi-hit games, with his top performances coming in four games against Akron in which he batted 10-for-13 (.769) with five runs, six doubles, two home runs, six RBIs and five walks.
Rasky, an undisputed team leader, will be playing in his final season as a Mountaineer after playing in 45 games with 35 starts last season. Known for his patience at the plate, Rasky was hit by 17 pitches and drew 10 walks with five doubles and 12 RBIs. The corner outfielder recorded one error and five outfield assists.
Two newcomers round out the corps of outfielders. Junior Jacob Rice
will be a key everyday player after transferring from Arkansas to Eastern Oklahoma State College to WVU. Rice started two games at the NCAA Tempe Regional for Arkansas in 2011, while batting .364 with 37 runs, seven doubles, two triples, eight home runes and 49 stolen bases at Eastern Oklahoma State College in 2012.
Freshman Billy Sager
comes to Morgantown after serving as a four-year starter at Spring Valley High. As a senior, Sager batted .505 with five doubles, four triples, six home runs and 31 RBIs. Shaun Wood
will also provide a lot of depth in the outfield after having a tremendous fall season.
“Shaun gives us a lot of depth in the outfield and had one of the best fall seasons of anybody swinging the bat,” Mazey says. “He appears that he will be a very good player down the road. We just need to find him at bats and innings. I’m really excited about Shaun and his future here.”