Bryce Carter (C – So.)
It’s safe to say that Carter’s freshman season didn’t go the way most were expecting it to — after he came to The Farm with a list of high-school accolades that would make most players blush, he was penciled in as the Cardinal’s opening-day cleanup hitter as a freshman. He went on to hit just .156 in extended action during the season, the lowest of any of the Cardinal’s consistent contributors. With that behind him, though, Carter still has an absurd amount of power and a very smooth swing, which, if he can rein in a bit and improve his discipline and eye at the plate, could make him a very dangerous presence in the middle of Stanford’s order as early as this season. In a promising development, Carter hit .274 in the Northwoods League this summer and improved his K/BB ratio to a very pretty 23/15, hopefully indicating that his early-career struggles are behind him for good.
Matt Winaker (1B – So.)
Left-handed sophomore Matt Winaker started all his 49 games at first base as a freshman and will look to outduel senior Austin Barr and freshman Nick Oar for consistent playing time at the position this season. As a freshman, Winaker raced out to a fast start, hitting .425 last February, but his offensive production dwindled after the finals break. Overall, Winaker hit .268 while finishing second on the team with his 26 RBIs and 10 doubles on the season. Winaker’s best statistics from last season may be his .344 average with runners in scoring position, showing his timely hitting ability and his team-leading 31 walks, which were huge in the middle of a strikeout-happy Stanford lineup. Overall, Winaker is a smart hitter that the Cardinal can rely on, and if he can pick up his batting average this upcoming year, he could be one of the best first basemen in the conference.
Nico Hoerner (2B – Fr.)
Although locked in a duel with classmate Duke Kinamon for playing time, the freshman Northern California native Hoerner looks to have a slight edge at the starting position in a tight competition at second base. The freshman arrives at Sunken Diamond with an impressive resume throughout high school: In his junior and senior years, MaxPreps named Hoerner California’s Small School Player of the Year, and he was also a two-time MVP for his high school league. Hoerner received impressive marks from Perfect Game, a high school recruiting camp for college scouts, and he never missed a single game throughout his varsity career. The right-handed hitter put up ridiculous numbers in high school to the tune of a .523 batting average and .601 on-base percentage and will hope that such success can translate to the next level.
Tommy Edman (SS – Jr.)
The only player to start every single game last season and the majority of the games his freshman year, Edman is the only sure starter for Stanford this season and will play shortstop after showing significant promise and improvement in his two years at Stanford. After batting .256 his freshman year, Edman began hitting more consistently, reaching a .296 average his sophomore year and accumulating a 16-game on-base streak that tied the longest ever by a Stanford player. Most likely the leadoff hitter again for the upcoming season, the switch-hitting infielder has shown consistency in clutch situations for the Cardinal and notched a .339 batting average with runners in scoring position, the highest on the team. As a testament to the Cardinal’s reliance on Edman’s consistent play, he led the team with 22 multi-hit games and 13 doubles last season, and the Cardinal will hope to have another dominant season from Edman offensively to spark the lineup atop the order.
Mikey Diekroeger (3B – So.)
Diekroeger, the third of his name to grace the infield at Sunken Diamond, will likely restake his claim to the starting third-base position and will look to replicate his dominant offensive performance from last season. When at the plate, Diekroeger hit .315 his freshman year — second on the team — and led the team in on-base percentage (.419). His second-place finish on the team in slugging percentage last season also makes him a prime candidate to reprise his role in the middle of Stanford’s lineup this season. The sophomore from nearby Woodside started 29 of his 31 games played last season and was the Cardinal’s opening-day starter at third, yet he missed the last 20-plus games of the season due to a shoulder injury.
Quinn Brodey (LF – So.)
The speedy Brodey started last season penciled into the starting lineup before a midseason slump, which saw his average bottom out at .211, relegated him to pinch-hitting and bullpen duty for the middle of the season. However, after a hot streak to close the season strong as the team’s starting left fielder and sixth on the team with a healthy .262 batting average, Brodey will be back in left field in 2016 to pick up where he left off and leverage a strong offseason in the New England League to be one of the Cardinal’s most versatile contributors. He’s the only player on the current roster listed as both a pitcher and a position player and excelled at both this summer with a 2.27 ERA in 31.2 innings of work and a .293 average with 4 home runs. Brodey has a rare combination of arm strength, speed, agility and power that should make him one of the Cardinal’s more intriguing players to keep an eye on this season.
Jack Klein (CF – Jr.)
Although Klein has struggled at the plate at times in his season-plus as the team’s starting center fielder, he absolutely picks up the slack with his stellar defensive play that makes it difficult to justify keeping him out of the starting lineup. Blessed with tremendous instincts, speed, range and arm strength in the spacious outfield of Klein Field (his grandfather’s namesake), it’s rare to see Klein take bad routes to fly balls and common to see some spectacular highlight-reel catches out there when he’s patrolling the grass. Although he finished last season with a meager .217 average and could work on his eye at the plate, Klein also whacked 8 doubles last year and hit .253 in the Cape over the summer, which he’ll look to build on as he seeks better results at the plate during his junior season.
Jonny Locher (RF – Sr.)
After two years of very limited playing time during which he couldn’t find his rhythm at the plate, Locher finally got his chance in the spotlight last season due to Quinn Brodey’s mid-season struggles at the plate and Zach Hoffpauir’s month-long injury, starting 40 games in the outfield and hitting a career-best .243 thanks to his regular playing time. Now that he’s presumably going to be locked into a starting role for the time being, the former switch hitter will look to keep that momentum going and find a more robust rhythm at the plate during his senior season. Although Locher hasn’t traditionally hit well for average, he’s a good contact hitter and has surprising pop from the right side, particularly to the gaps. With Hoffpauir gone first to pro ball and now back to the football team, the job in right is firmly Locher’s to lose.
Tristan Beck (RHP – Fr.)
The Stanford starting rotation gets very interesting when considering the role of freshman right-handed pitcher Tristan Beck, the team’s likely opening-day starter. If he were to take the mound on Friday, he would become just the second freshman opening-day starter at Stanford since 1988. In his senior year at Corona High School, Beck was named first team all-state and first team all-section while sporting a 1.23 ERA on 19 wins in his 182 innings pitched at the varsity level. Although he packs just 160 pounds into his lanky 6-foot-4 frame, he was likely going to be a first-round selection in the MLB Draft had he not committed to Stanford, and he’ll bring a power arm and a winning attitude to The Farm immediately, which the Cardinal hope will anchor the top of their rotation for years to come.
Chris Castellanos (LHP – Jr.)
What a difference a season makes. After Castellanos started last season as one of the Cardinal’s most reliable middle-relief and situational arms out of the bullpen, Mark Marquess and Rusty Filter decided to roll the dice and trot him out as Stanford’s starter for a midweek game against Cal — a role in which starters are expected to last maybe 3 or 4 innings before giving way to the bullpen. In that first career start, Castellanos went 7 full hitless innings against a dangerous Golden Bears lineup before taking himself out of the game out of exhaustion after 86 pitches. He never looked back. Castellanos finished out the season as the Cardinal’s Sunday starter, went at least 5 innings in each of his last four starts, notched a 3.44 ERA and finished third on the team with 37 strikeouts. With a full offseason of stretching out his arm under his belt, watch out — Castellanos could be one of the better lefties in the conference this season.
Kris Bubic (LHP – Fr.)
The surprising newcomer to Stanford’s starting rotation, Bubic hasn’t yet had a chance to prove himself at the collegiate level, but it says a lot that Mark Marquess and Rusty Filter — notoriously stringent with freshmen in the starting rotation — have enough faith in Bubic to name him as one of their go-to guys before he’s even thrown a single pitch in a Stanford uniform. He’s certainly got the size to make a big impact — at 6-foot-3, 210 pounds, he’ll be one of the harder-throwing lefties in the conference — and along with classmate Tristan Beck, he has his coaches and fellow players excited about his potential and his innings-eating ability heading into this season. He has a relaxed, repeatable delivery and struck out 82 in 70 innings pitched to go with a 1.20 ERA in his high school senior season at Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose.
Brett Hanewich (RHP – Jr.)
Hanewich will again serve in a major starting role this season for the Cardinal after he was forced to put the rotation on his back last season in the wake of numerous injuries. He pitched decently as a sophomore, going 4-6 on the season and recording a 4.00 ERA in 13 starts. As the Cardinal’s starting rotation filled with injuries, Hanewich became the main Friday starter for the team last season and led the team with his 4 wins. Perhaps most impressively from last season, Hanewich ranked 10th in the Pac-12 in opponents’ batting average (.224) while averaging 6 innings per start. While he performed slightly better his freshman year while recording a 3.17 ERA, Hanewich will benefit from freshman additions to the starting rotation as well as having some key pitchers back throughout the season. If Hanewich can find his arm early on in the season, he can establish himself as an ace in the rotation through this season and beyond.
Contact Do-Hyoung Park at dhpark ‘at’ stanford.edu and Lorenzo Rosas at enzor9 ‘at’ stanford.edu.