Story by Noelle Blumel
Depth, experienced, talented, and new words have been used to describe the 2023 Arizona State Baseball team, who officially began practices on Oct. 7. With just 12 returners, the team is practically rebranded after the coaching staff worked throughout the summer to recruit new talent, with some high school graduates but mostly making their rounds through the transfer portal.“Our staff did a tremendous job on researching and staying on top of the portal and hopefully getting what we think guys that can help us out, both on the mound and position players,” head coach Willie Bloomquist said. “I think on paper certainly we’ve improved. There are definitely some decent impact guys that we brought in.”This will be Bloomquist’s second year as head coach, but his first with a recruiting class that his own staff had a full calendar year to recruit as he took on the role in the summer of 2021.
In addition to the impact of the newcomers, the returners have made a point to instill the expectations of the Sun Devil baseball program early on and encourage leadership among the team. Sophomore infielder Jacob Tobias said the program environment this year feels more competitive considering the influx of talent, which has steered players away from complacency and practice a consistent work ethic.“It’s awesome to see because last year we had a lot of time’s where people just going through the motions,” Tobias said. “So it’s a nice little refresher with the motivation and effort levels that are all around with everybody between pitchers and position players, even the freshmen.”
So far this fall, the team has had weekly intrasquad scrimmages in addition to daily practices. Sophomore catcher Ryan Campos said he had been impressed with what he has seen from the new pitchers from behind the dish. “They all kind of do their own thing, but they’re honestly ready to go,” Campos said. “I’m really excited and looking forward to especially when we get to test it against another team.”
Bullpen pitching was something the Devils consistently struggled with last season. But with 16 new pitchers, the coaching staff is hopeful of a different narrative this spring. “It’s tough to expect freshmen to come in and fill that void right away so we knew we were gonna have to be active in the portal and hopefully bring in some experienced arms,” Bloomquist said. “But we’re just starting our fall games, so hopefully, we see that translate over.”
Taylor Swift isn’t the only one dropping something today 🤫
— Sun Devil Baseball (@ASU_Baseball) October 21, 2022