Sixteen Sun Devil baseball student-athletes took their talents to various summer baseball leagues across the country, including the Cape Cod League, Northwoods League and the New England Collegiate Baseball League.
Since the midway point of the summer season recently passed, let’s hand out some grades and analysis on how the 2013-14 Sun Devils are doing.
WEST COAST BASEBALL LEAGUE
OUTFIELDER CULLEN O’DWYER – Bend Elks: B
O’Dwyer saw very limited playing time for the Sun Devils during his freshman season, but that does not mean he won’t develop into more of a threat. O’Dwyer has appeared in 26 games and is batting .241 through mid-July. He is tied for the team lead with two home runs and he is one of only three players on his team to have at least one double, triple and home run.
The 6-foot-2, 190-pound outfielder has 11 RBIs and is fourth on the team with 12 walks. O’Dwyer is at the stage where he needs to get more reps before being a regular corner outfielder in the Pac-12.
SHORTSTOP JORDAN ABOITES – Bend Elks: C+
Aboites is having a similar problem to the one he had at Arizona State – he is buried in the depth chart. Aboites only has 17 plate appearance but he has not capitalized and only has one hit, one RBI and one walk.
It’s tough to judge him on minimal at-bats, but he received the low midterm grade because of his four defensive errors. Aboites will not see much playing time as long as Stankiewicz is still representing the maroon and gold in the middle infield. Don’t be surprised if you see the speedster get some reps at second base so he can make an impact on the Sun Devils’ roster.
The surprising part is that he threw three and one-third innings of relief and surrendered just two hits and no runs with two strikeouts.
RHP ERIC MELBOSTAD – Bend Elks: B
Melbostad was used as both a middle reliever and an occasional mid-week starter during his freshman campaign and he is getting more experience this summer in both of those situations.
The 6-foot-4, 210-pound righty made two starts and five bullpen appearances. He sports a 2-0 record with 17 strikeouts in 17.2 innings on the hill. He has kept his walk total relatively low with five, but his 5.60 ERA is nothing fans want to look at for more than a second.
The Scottsdale, Arizona native has shown signs of improvement this off-season and if Lilek stays healthy, Melbostad should primarily pitch out of the bullpen.
OUTFIELDER CHRIS BEALL – Bellingham Bells: A-
My oh my, Mr. Beall. Out of all the Sun Devils playing summer baseball, he has been the most surprising player because he is shining out west. He ranks second on the team with a .309 batting average and he has been a very consistent contact hitter.
The rising sophomore has six RBIs and four runs scored, but the impressive stat is how well his vision has been at the plate. He has nine walks compared to just six strikeouts so his on-base percentage is better than .400. Beall is also perfect in the field with 26 putouts and an assist.
Beall only had four total at-bats last season for ASU so this summer could potentially put him back on the radar for playing time in the spring.
OUTFIELDER JOHNNY SEWALD – Bellingham Bells: A-
It looks like Sewald is continuing the trend of ASU outfielders succeeding in the West Coast League. He is currently batting .275 through 23 games and he has two doubles. The 5-foot-11, 155-pound outfielder from Las Vegas leads all Bells with 20 walks, is second with nine stolen bases and third on the team with 14 runs scored.
Much like Beall, Sewald has remarkable vision at the plate. He has 21 free passes compared to just 13 strikeouts. In the month of July, he is batting .317 with four of his six RBIs. He has also stolen at least one base in his last four games.
The best fans on the west coast knew Sewald has the speed and potential, but he is reaching that slightly earlier than many expected. Keep in mind, he had three doubles in 46 at-bats last season and led the Devils with six sacrifice bunts.
CATCHER RJ YBARRA – Bellingham Bells: B+
One of the best Sun Devil freshman hitter is having a fairly good first half in summer baseball. Though his batting average is a bit low at .241, he leads the team with two home runs and 14 RBIs and he is second with four doubles.
Defensively, Ybarra posted a .980 fielding percentage midway through July. There is no hiding the fact that Ybarra will be a key asset for Arizona State during his sophomore year. In his first year, he batted .313 with seven doubles, five home runs and 22 RBIs.