TCU Baseball Position Review: Infield


Continuing our position by position review of TCU’s baseball team…we will begin today with first base

First Base-Joe Weik/Brett Johnson

Joe Weik began the season as one of the Frogs “big hitters” in the lineup. Weik had a strong 2010 season as a junior, and he was to be counted on in 2011 for power as the Frogs switched to the new composite bats. Through 15 games, however, Weik is hitting just .094 and is slugging just.294 on the year.

Weik’s early season struggles have opened the door for freshman Brett Johnson to receive some playing time. Johnson has appeared in 7 out of TCU’s first 15 games, starting 6 of those games. Johnson has hit well at a .364 clip which has impressed manager Jim Schlossnagle. “We are thrilled with how Brett has hit so far, and we have the option to DH Weik now with Brett at first.”

In 62 chances, Johnson has committed no errors of the season in 62 chances. He has solidified his position of back-up first baseman, but with Weik’s continuing struggles, more starts may be headed Johnson’s way.

First base has been both a strength and a weakness in 2011. Weik continues to struggle while Jim Schlossnagle has found a budding star in freshman Brett Johnson.

Second Base-Jerome Pena

Jerome Pena has played and started every game at second base for the Frogs in 2011. He is a veteran, and a good leader for a team that lost Bryan Holaday after the 2010 season. So far he has hit .283 on the season while tying for second on the team with 9 RBIs.

Pena would like to see his average rise as he is a key cog in the Frogs offensive attack. Ideally Pena could get his average to at least .330. He has been successful driving in runs nonetheless, and he is second on the team in runs scored. In the field, Pena and Featherston are a great combination up the middle, and TCU has played strong defense for the better part of the season. But Pena is occasionally prone to errors on routine plays which he tries to make a little too flashy.

So second base is a position of great strength for the Frogs. If Pena raises his average to around .330, the Frogs offense can continue to thrive.

Shortstop-Taylor Featherston

Taylor Featherston is a senior and role model for younger players on Schlossnagle’s team. He is as good as they come in the college game on defense. His range and strong arm make him one of the better fielders at shortstop in the nation.

Offensively, Featherston is hitting .322 on the year while coming in second on the team with 19 hits. He has hit third for most of the season which has put him in a run producing slot. He has driven in 9 RBIs while homering twice. Featherston has improved each season in his college career, and he will leave big shoes to fill in 2012.

Third base-Jantzen Witte

Either Jantzen Witte or Brance Rivera have been the team’s offensive MVP so far. If it is Rivera, Witte is right on his tails. Witte is just a sophomore playing a tough position. However, he has excelled defensively at the hot corner, committing just one error all season.

On offense, he leads the team in RBI’s by 6 at 15 RBIs on the season. He is also batting .305 on the year. If you ask Witte, he would say that he has been focusing on getting on base more and raising his average and on-base percentage. He does have the ability to raise that average, and over the course of the remainder of the season, I would bet that he will hit closer to .330. But Witte has been very successful at hitting with runners in scoring position, and despite hitting from the second slot in the order, he easily leads the team in RBIs.

Witte is just a sophomore, and is already a key piece to the Frogs offensive and defensive attack. Witte gained valuable experience playing often as a freshman, and 2011 is shaping up to be a strong year for the powerful third baseman. TCU is 7-1 on the year when they score in the first inning, and much of the credit for that can be given to Brance Rivera and Jantzen Witte.

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