Fall Ball: Alabama State Players Making Impact

Alabama State, with a veteran lineup returning, hopes to get back to winning the SWAC East Division title. Last season the Hornets were loaded, but both hitting and pitching underachived at the conference championship. Aside from that, they have become a consistent program. Heading into the 2019 baseball season ASU has reloaded adding arms to a veteran lineup with a nice blend of freshman and JUCO transfers this fall. The question will be raised, just how ready will the newcomers prove to be.

New recruits:
AJ Stinson – RHP / Hattiesburg, Mississippi
Hunter May Catcher / Slidell, Louisiana
Luis Nunez – Outfielder/LHP Cidra, Puerto Rico
Jorge Rivera – Catcher Orlando, Florida
Ricardo Rivera – LHP San Juan, Puerto Rico
Angel Jimenez 3Base/Outfield Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Jorge Perez – RHP Miami, Florida
Manny Bezares – INF/RHP Orlando, Florida
Jeremy Rivera – LHP Toa Alta, Puerto Rico

Head Coach Jose’ Vazquez thinks this year’s pitching staff has been pretty good this fall. The top two transfers will add depth ready to produce at the Division I level. This has allowed Vazquez an in-depth look at some of the young arms and position players who might mature on this team, especially in the bullpen with experienced arms from last season in the rotation. For the Hornets, ace of the staff, Darrius Wright, is showing solid stuff.

JUCO transfers: 
Breon Pooler – RHP Huntsville, Alabama from Northwest Florida State Colleg
Trevor Jurjevich – Infielder/RHP Omaha, Nebraska from Southeast Community College
Cameron Hearn – Outfielder Atlanta, Georgia from Georgia Highlands College

In the rotation, the strong candidates giving this team a chance to win every time out are…

Returning Pitchers:
Darrius Wright – RHP ace of staff.
Breon Pooler – RHP
Trevor Jurjevich – INF/RHP
Channing Walker – RHP
Alex Castro – RHP
Gage Dollar – RHP
Darren Kelly – RHP
Terrell McCall – RHP
Nate Gerard – RHP
Britt Buckelew – RHP

Alabama State has some mature players on this team. They have not been able make a run in the postseason and this team wants to do just that. They will need to figure out how to do that this fall. Having lost the big bat of Ray Hernandez, drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 29th round last season, the Hornets are looking to see who will fill those shoes in 2019. There are a number of ballplayers having good fall practices bringing energy every day. And there’s excitement in having a roster full of players with some experience and new faces that improve the depth all over the field.

Top returning hitters:
Noel Cheneau – making move from 2B back to the outfield.
Santiago Garcia – catcher good offseason, MVP of MILK Summer League.
Cristopher DeGuzman inflelder and Terrell McCalll RHP – each teamed up in the Valley League helping the team win their league championship.
Chris Lewis – infielder named MINK Summer League All-Star. He played alongside Garcia, helped the Bombers to the league championship.
Oscar Prioleau – infielder
Eriq White – infielder
Yamil Pagan – outfielder
AJ Gardner – outfielder

With a good core of veterans and what appears to be impact talent from the high school and JUCO ranks, the baseball program should have depth like its had in past years. There should be competition in all areas on the field, but heading into 2019, whether or not it leads to an another SWAC division title and conference championship remains to be seen. According to the coaching staff, “players making an impact this fall? …All.”

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