The DII baseball postseason is right around the corner. Thus far, we have taken a look at some of the pitchers that will need to make an impact for their teams to go far, as well as a hitter that could lead his team all the way to Cary, N.C.
But what about the players that can do both? With Shohei Ohtani stealing headlines at the big league level and reigning three-time John Olerud Award winner Brendan McKay thriving on the mound and at the plate in the Tampa Bay Rays system, let’s take a look at three of DII baseball’s two-way players that can make their presence felt in May. We spoke to their coaches to discuss the star players’ strengths and what aspect of their games will be the biggest asset down the stretch.
Andrew Bash, California Baptist
Bash splits his time as an infielder and right-handed pitcher in the starting rotation for the Lancers. He has been vital to keeping California Baptist’s quest for a West Region title alive with the Lancers ranked fifth in the West in DII baseball’s first regional rankings.
Bash finds himself in contention for the PacWest Triple Crown. He leads the Lancers in average (.410), home runs (13), and RBI (50) while leading the PacWest Conference with a .806 slugging percentage. On the bump, Bash leads CBU in wins (seven) while posting a 2.47 ERA and a 54-to-14 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 65.2 innings pitched.
The comeback continues! Andrew Bash smokes this one just fair down the LF line and into the corner to score two, making it 7-3 BU in B7th. pic.twitter.com/sHYkhRkNqO
— CBU Baseball (@CBUbaseball) April 6, 2018
We asked head coach Gary Adcock, who has pumped out MLB-drafted pitchers for almost a decade strong now at “Pitcher U”, what Bash does best.
Tough question, Andrew is, by all means, a “two-way” player. For us, his greatest strength really can’t be measured. He leads us in so many categories including batting average, homers, slugging, on-base percentage, wins, and innings.
Bottom line for us is we would have a harder time replacing him on the mound. Pitching has been the strength of our club this year and he has been one of our best with an outstanding 4-pitch mix which he continually pounds the zone with. But professionally he is seen more as a position player with the rare combination of average and power.
Bobby Dorta, Millersville
The Marauders came in at No. 4 in the East Region in the first DII baseball regional rankings. While ace Eli Nabholz has stolen a lot of the limelight with a big junior season garnering him some MLB looks, Dorta’s contributions cannot be overlooked.
Thrust into the lineup somewhat unexpectedly, Dorta has appeared in 21 games as a hitter. It has been mainly in a reserve role, but there is no question he has delivered. While he won’t be much in the power department, Dorta is a solid contact-hitter (a .387 batting average) and gets on base for the Marauders (a team-best .472 on-base percentage).
Despite having baseball bloodlines to his former big-league father Melvin (an infielder for the Washington Nationals organization), the younger Dorta really excels on the mound. Since pitching out of the bullpen and as the midweek starter last season for Millersville, Dorta has transformed into what head coach Jon Shehan calls his “super reliever”. In ten appearances out of the bullpen this season, Dorta leads the team with a 1.45 ERA while picking up a win and a save, striking out nearly one batter per inning.
Bobby was obviously thrown into the lineup due to injuries. His dad played a little bit in the big leagues as a second baseman for the Washington Nationals. That said, he has some great instincts. I would say his greatest strength is pitching. He has been lights out the past couple weeks coming into tough situations as a “super reliever.” He can give you 4-5 innings, or he can close. I would not highlight any particular pitch. The kid can pitch. He locates and changes speeds and he is rarely up in the zone. His biggest asset is his competitiveness. It makes him a tough out at the plate and makes him tough as a reliever on the mound as well.
Logan Browning, Florida Southern
Browning found his way onto the Golden Spikes midseason watch list. His Moccasins are the No. 1-ranked team in a South Region that has Delta State, Tampa and Nova Southeastern breathing down their neck. We could end the conversation right here, and Browning’s contributions are obvious.
— NCAA Division II (@NCAADII) April 11, 2018
The senior outfielder and left-handed pitcher has been invaluable where ever he has been needed. In 42 games (107 at-bats), Browning’s team-best slash line is an incredible .486/.548/.757. He has 18 extra base hits, with his 11 doubles tied for tops on the team. His ability to walk more than he strikes out shows an advanced feel at the plate and makes him a constant threat to get on base and cause trouble.
He’s been equally effective on the mound. Browning has made 13 starts, posting an 8-2 record with a 3.22 ERA and 9.77 strikeout-per-nine rate. If all that wasn’t enough, Browning has yet to commit an error in 2018. Perhaps, he’s the first three-way player in DII baseball. But it isn’t his hitting or pitching that fuels the Mocs. Head coach Lance Niekro thinks it is much more than that.
Logan plays such a huge role for us both on the mound and at the plate. It’s hard to say which one he is more valuable at. His leadership is his biggest quality as he brings out the best in everyone around him. It’s hard to imagine where we would be as a team had he signed in the draft last year.