Birdball Stock Up/Stock Down: March 8
By Quinn Kelly
The much-anticipated 2017 Boston College Baseball season is already 11 games old. The Eagles have yet to play north of the Mason-Dixon Line, playing eight times in Florida sandwiched around three games in Oklahoma. Their record stands at 5-6 heading into the start of ACC play on Friday at Florida State. It has been hindered by a 2-5 record in one-run games, uncharacteristic of a Mike Gambino-led team. 11 games is a very small sample size in baseball, but here is a brief look at some individual performances in the early going:
Jacob Stevens: Coming off an extremely impressive freshman season, “Bear” was expected to be the bona fide ace of the Eagles staff. Through three starts, he has exceeded the already-high expectations. He has tossed 19.2 innings, allowing just 3 earned runs (1.37 ERA), on 13 hits, while striking out 19 men. Opponents are hitting a paltry .194 against the big right-hander. Stevens (1-0) has just one win to show for his efforts, but his continued brilliance will help the Eagles win a lot of Friday ACC series openers.
Gian Martellini: The sophomore has started all 11 games, most of them behind the plate. He faces a tall task replacing the productive Nick Sciortino, but has started hot at the plate. Martellini is hitting .310 through his first 42 at-bats, including four doubles. He’s added six runs scored and nine RBIs while leading the Birds in total bases. His defense may not be what Sciortino’s was in 2016, but BC certainly welcomes the offensive production.
Dan Metzdorf: As has been well-documented, the biggest question mark surrounding the 2017 Eagles is their starting pitching after Stevens. One of the most important goals of non-conference play for Gambino and new pitching coach Alex Trezza has to have been finding solutions for the Saturday and Sunday afternoon slots. Metzdorf, a sophomore southpaw from Burlington, MA, has flashed the ability to be an answer in the Sunday role. He is currently 1-1 with a solid 2.60 ERA. In particular, he’s been helped by limiting the hits he’s allowed to being singles. Metzdorf has yielded only two extra-base hits (two fewer than Stevens has). The competition will ramp up this weekend in Tallahassee, but it’s an encouraging beginning nonetheless.
Bobby Skogsbergh: The Eagles co-captain was quite reliable last year, but has gotten off to a rocky start in 2017. In the season opener he was tagged with a blown save in a 2-1 loss to Bethune-Cookman. The junior also took a loss the following weekend against Oklahoma, allowing a run on three hits and a walk in a 5-4 defeat. He pitched 2.1 scoreless in the Snowbird Classic against Villanova and Toledo to lower his ERA to 4.50, so there are signs that he is settling in. Expect Skogsbergh to be just fine in time.
Dante Baldelli: Baldelli is a 6’4″ freshman outfielder out of Rhode Island, a 39th round draft pick of the Philadelphia Phillies. He is expected to bring athleticism and dependable defense to the BC outfield, as he has already nudged Michael Strem over to left. At the plate, however, Baldelli is off to a tough 2-for-25 start through 11 games played (7 starts). He tallied his first hit and run scored Saturday vs. Georgetown and his first RBI on Sunday vs. Villanova. The early struggles are likely a product of adjusting to the college game after being immediately thrust into the lineup. Baldelli is very talented and should turn things around.
Shortstop and senior captain Johnny Adams was excluded from the “Stock Down” category in spite of his .216 batting average, 12 K’s, and 3 fielding errors. Adams, as we all know by now, is a really steady player who just happens to be a historically slow starter. The Pup went on a tear from April through June last season to end up with good numbers. It would be foolish to worry about Adams in early March. The guy is a gamer, and when the contests get even more intense in ACC play, everyone knows the shortstop will perform.
The first WZBC Sports broadcast of BC Baseball is scheduled for Tuesday, March 14 at 5:05 when the Eagles travel to Worcester to face Holy Cross. We hope Birdball Nation is able to tune in, as we are very excited to start our radio coverage of the 2017 season! Also keep an eye out for the return of the Birdball Recall column right here on wzbcsports.com.
Photo by Joshua McCoy/Ole Miss Athletics