2009 Baseball Season Review
June 25, 2009
2009 Arizona Baseball Season Review
Quick Review: The Wildcats wrapped up the 2009 season with an overall record of 30-25 and a 13-14 mark in the Pacific-10 Conference, good enough to tie for fifth in the league ... Arizona made a late-season push for a third-consecutive NCAA tournament bid by winning 14 of its last 20 games overall and 10 of its final 12 Pac-10 contests, but missed out on postseason play for just the second time in the last seven seasons ... The Wildcats led the Pac-10 in batting average (.314), and ranked second in slugging percentage (.487) and runs scored (419) ... Dillon Baird captured the Pac-10 batting crown finishing the season with the eight-best single season average in league history (.433) ... Baird, a finalist for the Pac-10 Player of the Year Award, was joined by Dwight Childs and Bryce Ortega on the All-Conference team.
Offensive Review: After consecutive seasons in which the UA pitching staff turned in record-breaking season performances, it was the Cats' bats that carried them in 2009 ... Arizona scored 419 runs (7.62 runs per game) on the season - second most in the conference ... The Wildcats led the Pac-10 in hitting with a .314 team average and checked in second in slugging with a .487 average ... Arizona hit a conference-best 133 doubles on the season, the most for a UA club since 2005 (153) and the 10th-most in the last 50 years ... The club's .314 batting average is the highest since the 2005 season (.328) and the seventh-best for a UA team since 1990 ... Interestingly, Arizona batters were hit by a pitch 74 times on the season, a mark that ties for third most in program history. But, the Wildcats drew the fewest walks in school history - 177.
Pitching Review: A year after losing five of the top seven pitchers on its staff - including two in the first round of the '08 MLB draft - a significant drop-off was nearly inevitable for Arizona as 10 of its 13 pitchers were either freshmen or sophomores with no more than 15 combined innings pitched ... The result was a bumpy first half of the season as the Wildcats struggled to settle on a weekend rotation behind Preston Guilmet while also having to piece together a mid-week staff ... UA pitchers struck out just 379 hitters on the season, the fewest since 2003 (345) ... The 355 runs allowed were also the most allowed since 2003 (367), while the 5.46 staff ERA was the highest since 2000 (7.48) ... No Wildcat tossed a complete game, marking the first time since 1998 and only the second time in school history a pitcher did not throw a complete game ... The staff was able to turn things around down the stretch helping UA in its late-season surge. In the last 15 Pac-10 games, the UA staff turned in a 4.12 ERA, limiting opponents to just a .255 average to go along with 103 strikeouts in 133.1 innings against just 47 walks.
Draft Recap: One year after seeing a school-record 11 players drafted in the 2008 draft - including two first round selections - a total of six Wildcats were selected in 2009, including seniors Preston Guilmet and Brad Glenn, who each turned down professional from the '08 draft ... The two seniors were joined by classmate Cory Burns, and juniors Dwight Childs, Dillon Baird and Jason Stoffel ... All-time, 206 Arizona baseball players have been drafted, including 67 in the last 11 seasons. Of the 206 selections, 54 have been taken in the first five rounds ... The six draftees in 2009 push Arizona's total draftees to 39 under head coach Andy Lopez, who took over the program in 2002.
Pos. Player Organization Round (Overall)
RHP Jason Stoffel Detroit Tigers 4th (114)
RHP Cory Burns Cleveland Indians 8th (245)
RHP Preston Guilmet Cleveland Indians 9th (275)
1B/3B Dillon Baird L.A. Angels 11th (351)
C Dwight Childs Cleveland Indians 18th (545)
IF/OF Brad Glenn Toronto Blue Jays 22nd (700)
All-American Season: Junior first baseman Dillon Baird was named a Second Team All-American by Collegiate Baseball following one of the greatest offensive seasons in Arizona and Pac-10 history ... Baird's .433 batting average, which led the team and the Pac-10, was the sixth-best in Arizona history, trailing only the spectacular seasons of Lloyd Jenney (.484, 1952), Marty Hurd (.473, 1957), John Glenn (.438, 1972), Brad Mills (.435, 1978) and Tom Clarkson (.434, 1957) ... In Pac-10 history, it is the eighth-highest batting average ... In fact, only one other player has reached such a high standard in this decade - Brian Baron at UCLA with a .443 average in 2001 ... The other names at the top of the Pac-10 record book include the all-time mark of Portland State's Don Lovell (.465, 1985), Washington State's John Olerud (.464, 1988), Arizona State's Paul LoDuca (.446, 1993), WSU's Bob Garretson (.438, .438), USC's Steve Kemp (.435, 1975) and Portland's Phil Geisler (.435, 1991).
Baird Dominated the Pac: As good as Dillon Baird was throughout the entire 2009 season, he was even more impressive against the better pitching in the Pac-10 Conference games. Below is a look at Baird's overall stats and those he compiled in UA's 27 Pac-10 games. The 'next-highest' category shows Baird's separation from the next-highest mark in the respective categories that he led the league.
Dillon Baird Overall Statistical Rank in Pac-10 (All Games):
Stat Rank Next-Highest
Avg. .433 1 .384
SLG% .716 1 7.09
OB% .504 1 .497
Runs 53 8 -
Hits 84 2 -
2B 21 t-1 -
3B 5 t-4 -
HR 8 - -
RBI 55 3 -
TB 139 3 -
Dillon Baird Overall Statistical Rank in Pac-10 (Conference Games Only):
Stat Rank Next-Highest
Avg. .472 1 .407
SLG% .815 1 .670
OB% .540 1 .521
Runs 27 2 -
Hits 51 1 41
2B 13 1 11
3B 3 t-3 -
HR 6 t-4 -
RBI 32 1 29
TB 88 1 63
All-Pac-10 Cats: A trio of Wildcats were named to the All-Pac-10, including juniors (C)Dwight Childs and (1B) Dillon Baird, as well as sophomore (SS) Bryce Ortega. Baird, a finalist for Pac-10 Player of the Year, headlined the group as the Pac-10 batting champ. Childs made his presence known in Pac-10-only games by ranking third in the league in runs batted in. Ortega led the Wildcat defense at shortstop, helping UA lead the conference in double-plays turned.
Guilmet Closes the Books: Senior Preston Guilmet closed the book on a record-setting four-year career. The right-hander returned for his senior season at Arizona, setting a new UA record for career starts with 61. He moved to No. 2 all-time in program history and fourth in Pac-10 history with 419 strikeouts. He stands as the program leader in career innings pitched with 416.2 innings. His 27 career wins are tied for 10th-most in UA history and he was named a Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week six times in his career, including once as a senior in 2009. He finished the season with a team-low 3.74 ERA and a team-best 6-5 record.
Glenn Closes the Books: Senior IF/OF Brad Glenn completed one of the steadiest careers of any Wildcat, finishing with a .295 career batting average over four seasons. He played in 218 games as a Wildcat, good enough for seventh-most in program history. He belted a team-leading nine homeruns in 2009, which pushed his career total to 43. The 43 round-trippers ranks No. 2 on UA's all-time home run chart, trailing only Shelley Duncan's 55. Glen also roped the second-most extra base hits in program history with 103. His 830 at bats are fifth-most ever at UA, as are his 441 total bases and 190 RBI. He ranks sixth in UA history with 53 doubles and second with 42 hit-by-pitches.
Hunter Picked Up the Pace: Senior center fielder turned in a sensational senior season after playing behind T.J. Steele (4th round draft pick by Houston in 2008) during his first few years in the program. As the regular center fielder, Pace hit .372 on the season, a mark that trailed only Pac-10 batting champ Dillon Baird for the Wildcats. Pace rapped out seven doubles, five triples and a pair of home runs, giving him a .527 slugging percentage, which ranked fourth on the club. His .448 on base percentage was second on the team, as were his 15 stolen bases.
Top Academic Cat: Junior catcher Daniel Butler was named to the Pac-10 All-Academic Second Team. Butler carries a 3.4 GPA as a physical education major and was one of just 20 baseball student-athletes in the conference to be named to the first or second team.
Burns Tops On Workload Chart: Senior reliver Cory Burns pitched in a school-record 40 games (72.7 percent of UA's games) on the season, which broke the previous mark set by Tod Brown (1993) for most games pitched in a season. On the season, Burns pitched 47.1 innings, posting a 3.80 ERA. He had a 2-0 record and has one save to his credit, while he has struck out 54 batters. Late in the season, he put together a stretch of 13-cnsectuive scoreless innings pitched. Just as impressive, he allowed only 8-of-28 (28.6%) inherited runners to score on the season.
Stoffel is No. 1: Jason Stoffel continued to close out games for the Wildcats at a record-breaking clip. In fact, each save he earned in 2009 re-wrote the UA career saves record. On Feb. 20, Stoffel earned his 19th career save to surpass Mark Melancon as the program's all-time leader in the category. Stoffel finished the season with a conference-leading 11 saves, pushing his career total to 29. Additionally, with 99 career appearances, Stoffel now holds the UA record for most appearances in Wildcat history. He also pitched in 39 games, a figure that trails only teammate Cory Burns' 40 appearances in 2009 as the most in a single season at Arizona.
The Streaks: Dillon Baird finished the season on a 22-game hitting streak, the longest for any Wildcat in 2009. But several other Wildcats posted considerable hitting streaks, including Brad Glenn's 13-game streak. Freshmen Jett Bandy and Steve Selsky also strung together double-digit streaks, with 12 and 11-game streaks, respectively.
Growing Pains: Arizona's 13-14 mark in the Pac-10 certainly wasn't anything to brag about, but as UA won 10 of its last 12 league games, it became clear that early-season struggles paved the way for late-season success. UA dropped its first four Pac-10 games of the season and lost 12 of its first 15. However, those numbers don't tell the whole story. Arizona lost its last 11 Pac-10 games by a grand total of 25 runs or 2.27 runs per game. More frustrating, for the Cats, is that they lost five games by one run and two others by just two runs, meaning half of their league losses came by a two-run margin or less. Over their last 12 league games, figured out what it took to win, and won 10 of the final 12, including series sweeps of California and Oregon.
In the Pac: While season overall statistics get the most notice, one of the better comparisons for players within a conference is how they fare against their league counterparts. Arizona had a handful of players who ranked highly in offensive categories in conference-only games. Dillon Baird (.472 in Pac-10 games) finished 65 points better than OSU's Ryan Ortiz for the top batting average, and also has the highest slugging percentage (.815) and on-base percentage (.540). His 51 hits were a league-best through the 27 Pac-10 games, as were his 13 doubles and 88 total bases. UA catcher Dwight Childs, who collected 37 RBI on the season, had 28 RBI in conference-only games, which put him at third in the conference, and Childs ranked eighth in batting (.346). Hunter Pace finished ninth in batting (.343), while teammate Bryce Ortega finished tenth in batting (.339) and first in runs scored (28).
Childs Play: Arizona catcher Dwight Childs turned in a breakout junior season at the plate. Childs played in 40 of UA's 55 games, making 37 starts behind the dish. But Childs made the most of his time, hitting a career best .331 one year removed from his .193 campaign as a sophomore. Childs, who had one career home run through two seasons, smashed four in 2009 and his 37 RBI surpassed his 15 from the entire 2008 season and set a new career high. The 6-3 junior ranked third amongst all Pac-10 players with a .346 batting average in conference-only games, and he did not allow a passed ball on the entire season.
Selsky Stepped Up: Freshman Steve Selsky was one of UA's top hitters during his first month of Division I baseball. In early March, his average was as high as .382 after nine games. But, his early season success fizzled out and he saw his average drop to .243 by April 10. However, Selsky bounced back to become one of Arizona's top hitters, batting .385 in his last 24 games with 21 runs scored and five of his seven total home runs coming during the stretch. He collected 30 hits in his last 78 at bats, which raised his average over 70 points to its final .318 mark for the season. Selsky also showed an impressive arm in the field, throwing out five runners from his left and right field positions during the season.
Jett Re-Fueled: Like his classmate Selsky, Jett Bandy got off to a hot start, cooled down in the middle of the season, and then turned it on down the stretch. Bandy approached the .300 mark when he hit .296 on March 11. Two weeks later, Bandy bottomed out at .243 on March 27. But over the last half of the season, Bandy is hit .349 (29-for-83) in the games he played dating back to the Washington State series (April 17-19). Of his 29 base hits, 11 were doubles, which helped him tie teammate Dillon Baird for the top mark on the team and in the Pac-10 with 21 for the season. Bandy also ripped three home runs in his late-season hot streak, in which he had a career-best 12-game hitting streak. On the season, Bandy was hit by a pitch 14 times, which set a new UA freshman record (previously held by Brad Glenn with 12 in 2006).
2 x 20: Jett Bandy and Dillon Baird not only tied each other for the team lead in doubles, but their 21 two-baggers also led the Pac-10. The 20-20 feat marks the first time two UA players each hit 20 doubles in the same season since Trevor Crowe (25) and Jeff Van Houten (23) did so in 2005.