With the season complete after Saturday night’s regional elimination against Cal State Fullerton, No. 8 Stanford baseball will bid farewell to legendary head coach Mark Marquess, who served at the helm for 41 seasons. The offseason search begins for his replacement, a coach who will have big shoes to fill in the upcoming years. Writer Jose Saldaña and editor Laura Anderson reflect on the Cardinal season and discuss future of Stanford baseball.
The team finished with an overall record of 42-16, finishing ranked eighth in the nation. The numbers are impressive on their own — Stanford won 21 of its final 23 games heading into the postseason — but what impressed you the most about the Cardinal this season? Did anything, in particular, stand out?
Laura Anderson (LA): I think what impressed me the most about this Cardinal team — and what made them so dangerous — was their depth on offense. It seemed like every win had a different hero. Injuries happen over the course of the season, but Stanford continued to plug in players who got the job done. Take junior Jesse Kuet, for example, who only got one start in the first two months of the season and then became a staple of the lineup in the back half, hitting .333 for the season and winning Pac-12 Player of the Week. Stanford took advantage of its high-caliber bench throughout the season, which kept the offensive output varied.
Jose Saldaña (JS): The offense dominated all season, but some of the performances from Stanford’s rotation of southpaws were downright jaw-dropping. Junior Andrew Summerville set the tone of great pitching with a six-inning shutout gem in his first start. His pitching earned him Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week and he combined for the fifth one-hitter in the program’s history. Then, in a late April matchup against the Pac-12’s best offense, Arizona, Stanford ace senior Chris Castellanos had some of his filthiest pitches going as he blanked the vaunted Wildcats offense through eight innings. He ended the game with a career-high 12 strikeouts and only gave up three hits. Sophomore Kris Bubic opened the NCAA Stanford Regionals with a gem against Sacramento State. His performance helped give Stanford the win and a chance to move on in the regionals. Also, don’t forget junior closer Colton Hock who led the nation with a school record 16 saves on the season and was named to the All-Pac 12 team. These performances were memorable in a season of indelible moments.
Stanford baseball without Coach Marquess will be a different Stanford baseball. How can the team build on its triumphs this season to continue producing victories without Nine in the dugout?
LA: Whether Stanford promotes a current assistant coach for the head coach position or brings in a completely new face, the new head coach should not make it a goal to fill the shoes of Coach Marquess. Instead, they should use the system of dedicated teamwork and responsibility already set in place from the Marquess era to create continuity next season. Current assistant coaches and players will need to step up to continue this culture on the team.
JS: Laura hit the nail on the head – no one person can replace Coach Marquess. It will take the next head coach, the assistant coaches and current players to help continue the culture of excellence set by Marquess for 41 years. Ideally, Stanford’s deep and persistent offense should continue with many starters returning – every member of the All-Pac 12 team on offense should return. The offense made Stanford hard to beat this past season and if the coaches can promote growth and consistency even with Marquess gone, then Stanford baseball will be all right next season.
Which returning Cardinal players are you most excited to watch next season? Is there any player that could break out as a team leader in 2017-2018?
LA: The returning core of Nico Hoerner, Duke Kinamon, Matt Winaker and Quinn Brodey will be looked on to produce offensively and guide the team as upperclassmen. I’m excited to see what current freshman Daniel Bakst does in his sophomore season, because he definitely broke out in the latter half of this season and has the talent to keep that up next year. Current sophomore Kris Bubic should step into the number-one role on the mound with the graduation of senior Chris Castellanos. Much of the team is staying on, so the coaching will be the larger hole to fill for next season.
JS: Infielder/DH Daniel Bakst will hopefully be better next year, which would be tough because he was brilliant as a freshman this past season. He batted .311 and totaled 38 RBI. He was a consistent offensive catalyst coming out of the cleanup spot in the lineup. Sophomore pitcher Kris Bubic will also be incredibly exciting to watch. He ended his year with a 2.75 ERA and a couple of gems against Washington State and Sacramento State. Bubic was the Cardinal’s best pitcher at times last season, and next season he can become a full-fledged ace and leader of a fun pitching staff.
Contact Jose Saldana at jsaldana ‘at’ stanford.edu and Laura Anderson at lauraanderson ‘at’ stanford.edu.