Getting to Know the 2013 Sun Devil Baseball Squad

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Arizona State Baseball head coach Tim Esmay has a score to settle.

Entering his fourth year at the helm of one of the countries most storied programs and clear of NCAA sanctions, the Sun Devils have only two goals this season. Winning the Pac-12 and returning to Omaha. Both goals are lofty as Baseball America and ESPN both rank the Sun Devils as the No. 6 team in the Pac-12.

Esmay is entrenched in Arizona State history, an alumnus himself and assistant coach out of college, he was head coach at Utah before being lured back home and hired on as an assistant coach in 2005 under Pat Murphy.

This year’s crop of Sun Devil baseballers look to join the legions of former Sun Devils that have gone on to “The Show.” One-hundred-and-one, to be be exact, the third-most in of any college program.

Arizona State has won five National Championships, has 22 College World Series appearances and 35 postseason appearances, including 14 of the last 16 seasons. The Devils also boast four of the past six Pac-10 championships and have 50 straight 30-win seasons.

The season starts this weekend with the No. 20 Sun Devils hosting Bethune-Cookman, so let’s get to know some of the key members of the Arizona State baseball team.

Trevor Williams

  • trevorPosition: RHP
  • Class: Junior
  • Hometown: San Diego, Calif.

Entering his junior season, Trevor Williams is the ace on the Sun Devils’ pitching squad. Williams was a first team Pac-12 All-Conference selection and a Collegiate Baseball Louisville Slugger second team nod.

Williams led the conference with 12 victories, which was also tied for best in Division I. He finished the season with a 12-2 record, a 59-to-13 strikeout-to-walk ratio and an ERA of 2.05.

The All-American was a member of the USA National Collegiate Team and has garnered three preseason All-America honors. He has received first team recognition from Collegiate Baseball, and second team nods from Baseball America and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.

Max Rossiter

  • Position: C
  • Class: Senior
  • Hometown: Gilbert, Ariz.

The junior college transfer from Central Arizona College started 35 games behind the plate for the Devils and was second on the team with a .326 batting average. Max Rossiter tallied 22 runs on 45 hits with two home runs and 18 RBI.

His slugging percentage of .449 was fourth-best on the team as was his on-base percentage of 39.8. Rossiter had a 12-game hitting streak last year and a team-high four hits and four runs scored against Western Michigan.

He was named by Baseball America as the catcher with the best arm in college baseball.

Michael Benjamin

  • benjaminPosition: INF
  • Class: Junior
  • Hometown: Queen Creek, Ariz.

The son of Arizona State Hall of Fame member and assistant coach of the same name started 35 games last year at the hot corner but has the ability to play anywhere in the infield.

Michael Benjamin was third on the team in batting average with .322 and tallied 22 runs on 39 hits in 121 plate appearances. He totaled three home runs and 22 RBI while taking seven walks and striking out 21 times.

He was second on the team in on base percentage reaching 40.8 percent of the time and stole five bases on seven attempts.

James McDonald

  • Position: 2B/OF
  • Class: Junior
  • Hometown: Phoenix, Ariz.

James McDonald started all 55 games games last year with the bulk of them coming out of left field—literally.

He started two games at second base in the 2012 season so it seems natural that he would be replacing outgoing second baseman Joey DeMichele.

McDonald finished the year second in the Pac-12 with 35 walks, but he also led the team with 35 strikeouts. He scored 29 runs on 54 hits and tallied 28 RBI.

His on-base percentage of 40.1 percent was third-best on the team, and was able to swipe five bases on eight attempts.

Trever Allen

  • treverPosition: OF/RHP
  • Class: RS Sophomore
  • Hometown: Tempe, Ariz.

Trever Allen is another hometown kid and one of four legacy players on the Sun Devils. Trever’s father, Jamie, was an infielder and pitcher and also a member of the 1977 National Championship team.

He started 37 games last year in right field and compiled 11 mutli-hit games and eight multi-RBI games. He finished with 21 runs on 41 hits in 147 at-bats.

He recorded 64 put-outs and had zero errors for a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage.

Nathaniel Causey

  • Position: DH/C
  • Class: Sophomore
  • Hometown: Gilbert, Ariz.

The backup catcher and sometimes designated hitter will be moving into the DH role permanently and moonlighting as a catcher. Nate Causey started 23 games last year at DH and led the team in on-base percentage at 42.2.

His .288 batting average was sixth on the team, and he collected 13 runs and 23 hits in only 80 plate appearances; look for that number to increase exponentially.

Pitching Rotation

Adam McCreery

  • mccreeryPosition: LHP
  • Class: Sophomore
  • Hometown: LaVerne, Calif.

Adam McCreery played in five games last year and started two of them. He finished with a record of 2-0 with an ERA of 1.35. He allowed 12 hits and two earned runs in 13.1 innings. His strikeout-to-walk ratio was 14-to-6. He was ranked by Baseball America as the No. 3 pick in the 2014 draft.

Darin Gillies

  • Position: RHP
  • Class: Sophomore
  • Hometown: Hollister, Calif.

Darin Gillies made 13 appearances last year including 10 starts. He had a bit of shaky season with an ERA of 5.03, but let’s hope that was just freshman nerves. He finished with a record of 1-4 over 39.1 innings. He surrendered 24 runs, 22 of them earned, off of 46 hits.

If Gillies continues to struggle there is a stable of new pitchers that can step up and fill in for the right-hander.

Bullpen

Matt Dunbar

  • Position: LHP
  • Class: Senior
  • Hometown: Torrance, Calif.

Appearing in 23 games, including one start against Texas Tech, Matt Dunbar led the team with a 1.54 ERA, and only giving up 25 hits and eight runs, six earned, in 35.1 innings. He also finished with a 30-to-12 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Named to the preseason NCBWA Stopper of the Year Award watch list.

Ryan Burr

  • Position: RHP
  • Class: Freshman
  • Hometown: Highlands Ranch, Colo.

Four-year letter-winner and team captain in his senior season. Two-time All-Colorado and All-State Aflac All-American, Rawlings First Team All-American and Louisville Slugger All-American. Listed by Baseball America as the No. 8 Top Newcomer.

Brett Lilek

  • Position: LHP
  • Class: Freshman
  • Hometown: South Holland, Ill.

Four-year letterman and team captain all four years at Marian Catholic. Earned All-State, All-Area and All-Conference honors. Listed by Baseball America as the No. 14 Top Newcomer.

Infielders

Drew Stankiewicz

  • stankiPosition: INF
  • Class: Sophomore
  • Hometown: Gilbert, Ariz.

The son of major leaguer, Andy Stankiewicz, who played seven seasons in the league, ending his career with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Andy was an assistant for three years at ASU and is now head coach at nearby Grand Canyon University.

Drew played in 31 games last year, starting 20, and collected 18 hits on 68 at-bats. Look for Stankiewicz to fill the hole at shortstop vacated by Devon Marrero.

Rouric Bridgewater

  • Position: INF
  • Class: Sophomore
  • Hometown: Pomona, Calif.

Bridgewater made 23 appearances last year with 10 starts, one of them being at first base. Look for Bridgewater to replace Abe Ruiz at first base going into the season. He finished with 52 at-bats, wherein he scored six runs and 14 hits.

Outfielders

Kasey Coffman

  • Position: OF
  • Class: Junior
  • Hometown: Phoenix, Ariz.

Kasey Coffman appeared in 43 games last year, starting 39 of them. Twenty-two of the starts were in right field and 17 in left field. He scored 25 runs and collected 30 hits to go along with his 17 walks and 23 strikeouts. His on-base percentage of 38.0 wasn’t great, but he was able to snag 11 bases on 15 attempts.

Baseball America has also named Coffman as the best defensive outfielder with 68 put-outs and a fielding percentage of 97.2 percent.

Jake Peevyhouse

  • Position: OF
  • Class: Sophomore
  • Hometown: Phoenix, Ariz.

Jake Peevyhouse will look to get his career off to a good start in the Sun Devil outfield. As a freshman, he only appeared in 14 games and started four of them. In his 21 at-bats, he collected two hits, four RBI, one walk and four strikeouts.

Moving Forward

asu baseWith a daunting Pac-12 Conference schedule that includes ranked teams in UCLA, Oregon, Arizona and Stanford at home and on the road at Oregon State, the Devils will look to their home-field advantage. They also take on top-ranked Arkansas in the Coca-Cola Classic on Feb. 28 and Mar. 2. If they can get by Arkansas, or at least split a pair, it will do wonders for their ranking.

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