Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Gaucho Marks - April 23rd edition

Andrew Calica utilizing his tractor beam in centre field
Future HarbourCat Andrew Calica continues to be a steady influence at the plate and a sparkling presence in the field (more on that later!). Over the last seven games, Calica's UCSB Gauchos are a pedestrian 4-3, taking two of three from Cal State Fullerton, dropping two of three to Long Beach State and winning a singleton against BYU. This stretch has seen the Gauchos fall out of the Top 25 for the first time in a while.

Calica has had some ups and downs at the plate, but overall remains pretty solid, hitting about .270 during this latest span. This puts his season average at .336 which is good enough for fourth on the team. Highlights include a three for three day against BYU (which included a bunt single) and a two for six day against Cal State Fullerton. He is second on the team in runs scored (24) and hits (41) and still maintains an OPS above .800. Net, the guy's got game and even during his team's mini-slump, he's still faring pretty well.

In the field though, Calica remains as slick as a dab of Brylcreem (look it up!). In the first victory over the Titans, the teams were tied at two in the seventh when, with one out, CSF smashed a frozen rope into AC's patch of land. Sure that it would drop, their runner on second started busting for home but Calica made a diving catch, doubling off the unsuspecting-but-now-believing runner to preserve the tie and allow the Gauchos to pull it out in the bottom of the ninth. His fielding percentage remains untarnished and although I have not yet seen him play, all accounts seem to indicate that he has a tractor beam around him, not only catching what comes to him, but catching balls that he has no business getting to.

Putting all this together, I'm seeing the HarbourCat's starting centre fielder who will maybe start batting deep in the order but eventually settle into the number two spot where he belongs. Whatever the case, I suspect he will be an everyday player for the 'Cats and should be fun to watch.

I know it is only April, but the days are getting longer and I can't help but dream of baseball days ahead. Only 44 more sleeps.

  • OSU Beaver and future HarbourCat slugger Gabe Clark has had an up and down couple of weeks but is back in the line-up in his regular designated hitter/first base role. Clark went six for twelve (.500) last week as OSU took two of three from Washington State. This was highlighted by a four for five performance where he rocked the Casbah with four RBI's and two doubles. Last night Clark went hitless in four at bats in a 7-6 loss to Sacramento State, whom they are playing again this evening. I'm seeing Clark as a probable starter for the 'Cats, most likely as DH and playing the odd game at first base. I'm thinking he will hit five or six in the lineup.
  • Utah hurler Bret Helton has not had a start in the past couple of weeks and has only pitched two thirds of an inning in two appearances. In his total of 17 pitches, he gave up one hit, no runs and one free pass. Utah seems to be exercising all the arms in their possession, maybe trying to find some chemistry in what is turning out to be a losing campaign. Helton has not had an at bat in the last two weeks.
  • Fellow Ute and my prediction to be the 'Cats starting right fielder, Wyler Smith, is only one of three Utah players to start every game this year. While he is only hitting .238, no one on the Utes is hitting above .276, so his spot seems secure. In the past six games, Smith has gone a respectable .240 and is riding a 5 game hitting streak that includes two triples. In his last hitless game (almost two weeks ago), he laid down a sacrifice bunt in the 13th inning to advance what turned out to be the winning run in a rare Utah win.

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