Seven players on Chatham's 2011 roster were born in California, and all of them attend college in the state. Let's highlight the talent coming to Chatham from the Golden State. North to south: here we go.
Starting in Northern California, Tony Renda's sophomore season with the University of California has been nothing short of dominant. After finishing the 2010 season 3rd in batting average in the Pacific-10 Conference, Renda has remained an offensive threat for the Golden Bears in 2011.
But don't be too quick to say sophomore slump; the third baseman looks to repeat the finale of his '09 campaign down the stretch. As a freshman, the Hillsborough native went 13-21 with five doubles in his final at-bats of the year.
Zack Jones plays his college ball an hour south of Berkeley. The San Jose native has more than kept pace this season after earning Western Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year honors in 2010. On the bump, Jones has 11 saves and limits opposing offenses to a .189 batting average.
But San Jose State appreciates Jones for his work at the plate as well. The sophomore has driven in more runs with the bat than he has given up on the mound this season. A .331 average and 23 runs batted in anchor Jones' R''sum'' in the 2011 season.
350 miles south of San Jose, Pepperdine's Joe Sever is preparing for his first summer on the Cape. As a freshman in 2010, Sever's .310 average paced the program. Pepperdine's everyday second baseman has missed just one start this season and adds power, leading the team in home runs (4) while he is second in doubles (8).
UCLA's Beau Amaral adds Cape experience to the crop of West Coast players. Amaral saw action in 20 games for the Anglers last year after a stellar freshman season with the Bruins. This season, Amaral's on-base percentage has climbed to .427. Additionally, the lefty adds an above average glove in center field, even by Cape Cod League standards.
Newcomer Nick Vander Tuig has established himself as a staple in the UCLA bullpen. His 26 punch outs over 24 innings pitched have earned him all six of UCLA's saves in 2011. Vander Tuig owns a 3-3 record and 3.00 ERA.
Hailing from the sunny beaches of San Diego, Kris Bryant has been a mainstay both at third base and occasionally at designated hitter for the Toreros. Bryant has swatted nine home runs and leads the team in slugging. At this point in the season, Bryant sits inside the top ten in almost every major offensive category in the West Coast Conference. Bryant adds speed on the bases, leading the WCC with a .474 on-base percentage.
Compute the OPS (On-base percentage + Slugging percentage) for Bryant when you get a chance... It's a big number.
The California kids should be well-familiarized with one another before convening on the Cape. Like San Jose State product Zack Jones, Joe Sever was born and raised in San Jose. Sever played his high school ball in the same league as Renda. And finally, Beau Amaral's grand slam for Huntington Beach capped a dramatic win over Kris Bryant's high school squad in Las Vegas just two years ago.
As the college season draws to a close, the weeks turn into days as we count down to another season in Chatham. The window of time left for player evaluations based on the 2011 collegiate season is narrowing. So we are left to look at the numbers. The statistics suggest amazing potential soon to arrive in Chatham. It's talent which is hard to overlook.
Stick with us at www.chathamanglers.com as we count down the final days to the 2011 summer season on the Cape!