Knudson: Freshmen Not Being Freshmen
By Mark Knudson, The Mtn. InsiderMay 14, 2012
The old saying is that by this time of year, they aren’t freshman anymore. Yes, the glut of first year players that have had such a big impact on the 2012 baseball season is much more seasoned now than they were three months ago, but still, they are freshmen.
So, after having a strong first year, the questions become: What kind of impact rookies will have on the upcoming Mountain West tournament? Can they carry over the experience and improvements they’ve made onto a stage they’ve never been on before?
TCU first baseman Kevin Cron, the younger brother of last year’s MW Player of the Year, CJ Cron, was still busy wrapping up his high school seasons in years past and never got to see his brother perform in the Conference tournament.
“I did get to see him play in the regional one year," Kevin Cron told me recently, “but I’ve never been to the Conference tournament so it’s all going to be new to me. It’s very exciting.”
Cron got the key hit in the final game between TCU and New Mexico earlier this month and it’s likely he’ll have some sort of impact on the tournament, too. What other newbies could have a say in which MW team earns the automatic NCAA bid? Stay tuned. In the meantime, here’s the 2012 All-Knudson MW Freshman team:
SP: Preston Morrison, TCU (8-0, 1.72 ERA, 1 SV, .204 opponents batting average)
SP: Michael Cederoth, SDSU (3-4, 4.26 ERA)
SP: Eric Fedde, UNLV (5-4, 2.85 ERA)
RP: Brandon Finnegan, TCU (2-3, 3.15 ERA, .240 OBA)
C: Erik Van Meetran, UNLV (.229, 1 HR, 11 RBI, .948 fielding %)
1B Kevin Cron, TCU (.330, 2 HR, 18 RBI, .969 fielding %)
2B Derek O’Dell, TCU (.235, 1 HR, 14 RBI, .953 fielding %)
SS Keaton Jones, TCU (.164, 0 HR, 13 RBI, five errors, .977 fielding %)
3B Ryan Muno, SDSU (.318, 3 HR, 15 RBI)
OF Joey Swanner, UNLV (.297, 0 HR, 15 RBI)
OF Spencer Thornton, SDSU (.299, 0 HR, 23 RBI)
OF Ryan Padilla, New Mexico (.356, 2 HR, 34 RBI)
DH Matt Munoz, SDSU (.299, 0 HR, 18 RBI)
UT Greg Allen, OF/P, SDSU (.311, 0 HR, 23 RBI)
Some of the stats don’t blow you away, like Keaton Jones’ batting average or Michael Cederoth’s ERA, but each of these kids made a mighty contribution to their teams in their first year on campus. Preston Morrison came out of the bullpen to stabilize the TCU rotation and will likely be the MW Pitcher of the Year. Cron only hit two home runs, but they’ve come late in the season and he’s getting better each week. Jones, who was recruited to TCU as a pitcher and wowed Jim Schlossnagle and his staff with his glove work, has worked with Derek O’Dell to form a middle infield foundation for the Frogs’ move into the Big 12 next year. In making that move, Schlossnagle commented that he’s glad he won’t have to face the imposing Cederoth in the coming years.
The best thing about freshmen? They turn into sophomores. When this group gets a little bit of experience under their collective belts, watch out. There is more than one superstar in the making here.
See all of Mark Knudson's blog entries HERE