Hello Again, Baseball: First 2013 Intrasquad

Appel will be 2013's focal point

The yellow scatterings of dead grass on the infield and in foul territory were the only signs of Winter as Stanford baseball scrimmaged for the first time this year Friday at sun-splashed Sunken Diamond. Three weeks of preparation remain before the February 15 season opener at Rice, but some of Mark Marquess' key questions may already be on their way to being answered.

A Pair of Freshman Starters
The 2013 Cardinal squad lists 12 freshmen on its roster, and -- at this point -- it appears that at least two of them will play integral starting roles in the Farm Boys' opening series. New centerfielder Jonny Locher blasted a pair of home runs into the left field trees, while highly-touted newcomer Freddy Avis pitched effectively. His fastball touched 94 miles per hour. Making matters more impressive, fellow Bootleg Insider Sam Fisher noted that Avis was ill while pitching Friday, though that wasn't apparent in his outing.

It's clear the hard-throwing Palo Alto freshman (Menlo School) is a candidate for one of the two weekend starting pitching positions behind ace Mark Appel. Sophomore John Hochstatter also figures to be in the mix after performing well in the Sunday role early last season. Scrimmages over the course of the next two weekends, including the official Cardinal and White Instrasquad Game February 9, should provide a better idea as to the exact complexion of the pitching staff. Stanford is tasked with replacing graduated lefty Brett Mooneyham, who started Saturday games in 2012. A number of different arms occupied the Sunday starting role last season, including AJ Vanegas, who just had surgery Friday on his back to repair a herniated disk. There is no announced timetable for his return.

Carrying the Dual Sport Torch
Tyler Gaffney has departed to the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, but there's still a football-baseball dual sport man on Marquess' roster. That distinction belongs to freshman Zach Hoffpauir, who boomed an early triple off the right-center field fence. Hoffpauir, who played safety and special teams for David Shaw's squad in the fall, dazzled with his speed in making it all the way around to third base.

Veterans Perform
Junior Brian Guymon also clubbed a home run into deep left field, impressing long-time Stanford assistant Dean Stotz when he tomahawked a high fastball into the Sunken Diamond jet stream. Beyond Guymon, the usual suspects rolled: Alex Blandino drove in Austin Wilson with a late two-out double into the gap. Both players look to be in prime physical condition coming out of the offseason.

The Cardinal have been ranked in the preseason top 10 by publications that have already released early polls. Stay tuned to The Bootleg for exclusive progress reports as the season approaches.

Stanford Starting Lineup - Friday
1B - Brian Ragira - JR
2B - Danny Diekroeger - JR
SS - Lonnie Kauppila - JR (back from torn knee ligaments)
3B - Alex Blandino - SO
LF - Dominic Jose - SO (replacing Stephen Piscotty)
CF - Jonny Locher - FR (replacing Jake Stewart)
RF - Austin Wilson - JR
C - Wayne Taylor - SO

P - Mark Appel - SR
P - Freddy Avis - FR

David Lombardi is the Stanford Football Insider for The Bootleg and FOX Sports Next. Check him out at www.davidlombardisports.com. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidMLombardi.

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