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Kurosawa

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Reply with quote  #1 
http://www.teamusa.org/usa-softball/team-usa/women

Down to 15 from 20 at the World Cup - 9 of 15 from the Pac-12:

Aguilar INF - Washington
Arioto INF - Cal
Barnhill P - Florida
Carda P - UCLA
Chidester C - Michigan
Flippen INF - Utah
Jackson OF - Cal
McCleney OF - Alabama
Moore P - Oregon
Moultrie OF - Florida
Munro C - Florida
O'Toole P - Arizona
Spaulding INF - UCLA
Stewart INF/OF- Florida
Takeda OF - Oregon

Alternates:

Cooper INF - Auburn
Gourley P - Florida
Halstead C - UCLA
Lilley INF - Oregon
Zerkle OF - Marshall
3leftturns

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Reply with quote  #2 

They like their MIs at the hot corner

Wasn't Sierra Romero at 3B in Canada a couple years ago?

Walguy

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Reply with quote  #3 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3leftturns

They like their MIs at the hot corner


Bizarre in my opinion to take a national team into a major tournament without a true 3B on the primary roster.

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Kurosawa

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Reply with quote  #4 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walguy

Bizarre in my opinion to take a national team into a major tournament without a true 3B on the primary roster.


What's required? Fearlessness, quick responses, and a strong, but accurate, arm. At this level, infielders should all be very good fielders. Their ability at the plate probably matters more than what position they played in college. 
3leftturns

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Reply with quote  #5 
Just a vastly different position from SS or 2B. If you don't understand that, you can't be helped. May as well have a second baseman at catcher too
Walguy

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Reply with quote  #6 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3leftturns
Just a vastly different position from SS or 2B. If you don't understand that, you can't be helped. May as well have a second baseman at catcher too

Thank you!
Kurosawa, let's take just one example of many: when the batter squares away to bunt. Think about what a middle infielder does when that happens. Now think of how a 3B has to react. When a good bunter squares away, the 3B has to react INSTANTLY and start charging in. That reflex takes years playing the position regularly to hone. Someone who is not used to the position is very likely to react slower, and assuming you've seen a lot of bang-bang plays at first on bunts fielded by the 3B, you know that a fraction of a second can be and often is the difference between safe and out. Playing against Japan, one extra base runner at the wrong time could prove fatal. But let's say the converted MI does react fast enough. The barehand pickup and throw that a charging 3B has to make is very different from any play that a MI ever does. Again, a seasoned 3B can make that play instinctively because they've been doing it for years. Someone who hasn't is much more likely to make an errant throw, and then there's likely a runner in scoring position who should have been out. There are countless more examples of the huge differences between fielding at 3B and MI. Just the precise positioning in relation to the bag and the line can make a difference in successfully fielding a ball. The seasoned 3B knows how to position herself. The converted MI won't be so precise. And on and on.
Jenna Lilley had a rough year at the plate for most of the 2017 season at Oregon, but Mike White kept her in the lineup all year. Why? Because he knew what it meant to have her at 3B on defense, that she made enough contributions to the team's success with her glove to justify her presence in the lineup no matter what she was doing at the plate. Oh, and btw, Jenna played most of her best ball of the college season in May and June, both in the field and at bat.
Maybe things will work out. I hope so. But if I were running the team, I would much rather have a lineup facing Japan or any other team that had Jenna Lilley at 3B than Kelsey Stewart.


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"Hit hard to center! Merritt to the warning track...IT'S GONE!! Georgia is headed to the World Series in Oklahoma City!" - Trey Bender, May 27, 2016, calling my all-time favorite sports moment!
Kurosawa

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Reply with quote  #7 
Stewart went 11 for 24 (.458) in League play. She'll likely be the 3B, with Lilley, who went 2 for 11, an alternate. Flippen would be the backup, I assume, even though she hit even worse than Lilley.

For the summer, four of their top five hitters are infielders (Slugging%):

Arioto .789
Aguilar .667
McCleney .650
Spaulding .607
Stewart .542

Who do you suggest they sit down to bring in a "true third baseman"?


3leftturns

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Reply with quote  #8 

Now you're switchin up the contention.

Very pretty numbers. No doubt.

IMO, against the one or two teams who can actually play, the best defensive 3B in the country will save more runs over her MI replacement than that player will create in the box over her.

Like I mentioned, this has been done before

Still_JAD

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Reply with quote  #9 
I guess Kasey Cooper has not been hitting since she is listed as an alternate. Great glove at 3B, but you gotta hit if you want to play unless a team has a pitcher who can hit too.
all4AU

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Reply with quote  #10 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Still_JAD
I guess Kasey Cooper has not been hitting since she is listed as an alternate. Great glove at 3B, but you gotta hit if you want to play unless a team has a pitcher who can hit too.


Cooper went hitless with two walks during the World Cup so there's your answer.

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Kurosawa

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Reply with quote  #11 
Well, with the Olympics still three years away, the focus is more on finding players with athletic tools and aptitudes that can be developed into superior skills. Tools are natural abilities you're born with; skills are developed and honed through repetition and practice. For right now, anyway, it appears that the judgment is that Stewart and Flippen have higher performance ceilings (hitting and fielding) than Lilley. That could change - Lilley (and Cooper) is still on the team, just not on this particular roster (unless someone gets injured).

Tarr, who was a third baseman, is probably in charge of coaching, and driving personnel decisions related to, the infielders. This past season, she switched her second baseman for two years, Taylor Van Zee, to third, who played great there. She was originally a third baseman, however, for the Firecrackers.

Walguy

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Reply with quote  #12 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurosawa
For right now, anyway, it appears that the judgment is that Stewart and Flippen have higher performance ceilings (hitting and fielding) than Lilley.

Obviously. The judgment that I strongly question is that solid, proven defense all around the infield isn't necessary to beat a team like Japan. I hope more than ever that Eriksen isn't going to be the head coach for the Olympic team, because if he is I don't see any way we win the gold. He's over his head trying to coach at the national team level.

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"Hit hard to center! Merritt to the warning track...IT'S GONE!! Georgia is headed to the World Series in Oklahoma City!" - Trey Bender, May 27, 2016, calling my all-time favorite sports moment!
Kurosawa

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Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walguy

Obviously. The judgment that I strongly question is that solid, proven defense all around the infield isn't necessary to beat a team like Japan. I hope more than ever that Eriksen isn't going to be the head coach for the Olympic team, because if he is I don't see any way we win the gold. He's over his head trying to coach at the national team level.


Or that Stewart right now is simply playing better than Lilley (the same can't necessarily be said for Flippen).

Also, the NPF will likely release players, including third basemen, to play in the Olympics. I just think, in the meantime, that winning has to be balanced with development.
3leftturns

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Reply with quote  #14 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurosawa


Or that Stewart right now is simply playing better than Lilley (the same can't necessarily be said for Flippen).

https://twitter.com/BostonBruinsTID/status/883513555131047936

Walguy

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Reply with quote  #15 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurosawa


Or that Stewart right now is simply playing better than Lilley (the same can't necessarily be said for Flippen.

Playing better how? Hitting better? Undoubtedly. Playing 3B better? She's nowhere close to Jenna there. Is Kelsey hitting so much better than Jenna that it's worth compromising the defense to have her in the lineup instead? Eriksen obviously thinks so. I wouldn't have a problem if Jenna was on the roster and he STARTED Stewart, with Jenna available to come in for defense later in the game with the lead. That kind of strategy is very defensible (no pun intended). The problem is that he has NO experienced 3B to go to in ANY situation. That's a HUGE gamble, one that I wouldn't be willing to take, and I don't think I'm alone. Can you imagine Gasso or Walton willingly going to the WCWS without a true 3B on their roster?

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"Hit hard to center! Merritt to the warning track...IT'S GONE!! Georgia is headed to the World Series in Oklahoma City!" - Trey Bender, May 27, 2016, calling my all-time favorite sports moment!
SBFan101

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Reply with quote  #16 
Ya'll do realize that the roster is decided by a COMMITTEE, right? Erickson is but just 1 vote. And yes, from my angle, the committee had prime seats of every AB, every inning, throughout every game.
Kurosawa

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Reply with quote  #17 
So, what are the chances of teams on the following list actually beating Team USA?

  1. Argentina
  2. Aruba
  3. Bahamas
  4. Brazil
  5. British Virgin Islands
  6. Canada
  7. Colombia
  8. Cuba
  9. Curacao
  10. Dominican Republic
  11. El Salvador
  12. Guatemala
  13. Jamaica
  14. Mexico
  15. Panama
  16. Peru
  17. Puerto Rico
  18. Turks and Caicos Islands
  19. Venezuela
3leftturns

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Reply with quote  #18 
No Japan.... so, they could play 8 catchers in the field and win.
3leftturns

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Reply with quote  #19 

Literally slow-pitch for two-thirds of the field. Dunno what is gained from it.

Would be better off scrimmaging all summer against a 'second-best' U.S. team

MadDogsDad

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Reply with quote  #20 
I am pretty sure that Team USA has to play in the Pan Am games as part of the qualification for 2020 Olympics. The top 5 at Pan Am qualify for the the WBSC championships in Tokyo next year. WBSC championships are the first leg in qualifying for Olympics.
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HenryLouisAaron

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Reply with quote  #21 
<< They like their MIs at the hot corner >> (3LT)

<< Bizarre in my opinion to take a national team into a major tournament without a true 3B on the primary roster. >> (Walguy)

<< What's required? Fearlessness, quick responses, and a strong, but accurate, arm. At this level, infielders should all be very good fielders. Their ability at the plate probably matters more than what position they played in college. >> (Kurosawa)

<< Just a vastly different position from SS or 2B. If you don't understand that, you can't be helped. May as well have a second baseman at catcher too >> (3LT)

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I'd bet that almost all players who play third base in the NCAA... 
were shortstops at some point during their softball career (and very likely during their high school years).

If you are athletic enough to play SS (or second base) and you have a strong and accurate arm... 
then you can almost surely learn to play third base - with some practice. 
It is not like it is a move that has not been done many, many times before.

Btw... moving from second base to catcher - is a MUCH more drastic change... 
and would be unsuccessful much more often (than a move from MI to 3B).


3leftturns

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Reply with quote  #22 
OK... so there is that...LOL

Thanks MDD
HenryLouisAaron

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Reply with quote  #23 
<<  When a good bunter squares away, the 3B has to react INSTANTLY and start charging in. That reflex takes years playing the position regularly to hone. Someone who is not used to the position is very likely to react slower, and assuming you've seen a lot of bang-bang plays at first on bunts fielded by the 3B, you know that a fraction of a second can be and often is the difference between safe and out. Playing against Japan, one extra base runner at the wrong time could prove fatal. But let's say the converted MI does react fast enough. The barehand pickup and throw that a charging 3B has to make is very different from any play that a MI ever does. Again, a seasoned 3B can make that play instinctively because they've been doing it for years. Someone who hasn't is much more likely to make an errant throw, and then there's likely a runner in scoring position who should have been out. There are countless more examples of the huge differences between fielding at 3B and MI. Just the precise positioning in relation to the bag and the line can make a difference in successfully fielding a ball. The seasoned 3B knows how to position herself. The converted MI won't be so precise. And on and on. >> (Walguy)

These are good points - about the differences... 
but an excellent top of the line athletic middle infielder CAN pick up most of these changes pretty quickly. If they work hard in practices and get some playing time in games at this new position... they CAN become quite good at the position - relatively quickly.

In regard to Oregon going with a veteran defensive 3B (when she was struggling at the plate), other teams do just the opposite.
Look at Florida. They played Ocasio at 3B... because they wanted more hitting in their lineup. 
It can be done. It has been done.
3leftturns

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Reply with quote  #24 
Pile of swill.

You cannot teach what Jenna Lilley does at 3B.

And, UF putting Ocasio at 3B is NOT the opposite.

There was no other option defensively or offensively. Was a win-win for them

 [ohyea3] 
HenryLouisAaron

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Reply with quote  #25 
<< IMO, against the one or two teams who can actually play, the best defensive 3B in the country will save more runs over her MI replacement than that player will create in the box over her. >> (3LT)

It depends entirely upon just how quickly the player switching to 3B can become good at her new position. If they become a solid defensive player relatively quickly (and this can be done)... then the difference in her offensive production - can easily become the bigger factor. If she can do a solid (or good) job defensively - and her bat is MUCH stronger... then that is the move to make.

A lot of MI can become excellent defensive players at third base. You just need to develop them at that new position - and then enjoy the benefit of all the extra offensive production. This change - had been done many times. It is not anything new.
3leftturns

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Reply with quote  #26 
Read up on the gamer from the Pan Am title game in Canada in 2015 that brownese posted

HenryLouisAaron

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Reply with quote  #27 
<< Well, with the Olympics still three years away, the focus is more on finding players with athletic tools and aptitudes that can be developed into superior skills. Tools are natural abilities you're born with; skills are developed and honed through repetition and practice. For right now, anyway, it appears that the judgment is that Stewart and Flippen have higher performance ceilings (hitting and fielding) than Lilley. That could change - Lilley (and Cooper) is still on the team, just not on this particular roster (unless someone gets injured). >> (Kurosawa)

<< Obviously. The judgment that I strongly question is that solid, proven defense all around the infield isn't necessary to beat a team like Japan. >> Walguy)

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Excellent point about the Olympics still being three years away, Kurosawa. They have plenty of time to develop a player's defensive abilities at 3B.

Walguy - Any player they choose to move to 3B... could become an excellent defensive player at that position WELL BEFORE the Olympic games happen. I am sure they want to have an excellent defensive infield - as well as a strong offensive line up.

===========================

<< I hope more than ever that Eriksen isn't going to be the head coach for the Olympic team, because if he is I don't see any way we win the gold. He's over his head trying to coach at the national team level. >> (Walguy)

I would like to see a Gasso/Walton Olympic coaching situation develop... 
but I do not blame the current coaches for trying to develop a better hitter at third base at this point in time.
HenryLouisAaron

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Reply with quote  #28 
<< Also, the NPF will likely release players, including third basemen, to play in the Olympics. I just think, in the meantime, that winning has to be balanced with development. >> (Kurosawa)

Exactly. 
Kurosawa

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Reply with quote  #29 
"Time will tell just who fell and who's been left behind." Bob Dylan said that, in Most Likely You Go Your Way And I'll Go Mine.

The sky isn't going to fall, just because Jenna Lilley isn't on this particular roster (she is still on the team).
3leftturns

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Reply with quote  #30 
It is the idea that you can simply shove a MI in at 3B and get the sort of high-level defense that determines close games with teams that can go short or long.

And since that POV was a major factor in losing at the Pan Am Games two years ago, I find it odd there isn't such an insurance policy for -- at the very least -- a defensive substitution in a tie game like in Surrey, or when having a late lead

Trying to figure why Kelsey Stewart isn't playing 2B
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