Offseason position battle: UofL shortstop

College Baseball

We have exhausted the offseason position battles for WKU, EKU and Morehead St., so we’ll restart the fifth round with a look at the vacant University of Louisville catching position.

The departed — San Francisco Giants draftee Adam Duvall started 61 games for UofL in 2010, including 54 games at shortstop. Duvall batted .327 with 12 home runs, 47 RBI, 68 runs scored and 10 stolen bases for the Cards last season. The middle infielder made 23 errors in 2010 and finished the season with a .928 fielding percentage. The Giants selected Duvall in the 11th round of the 2010 draft, and he batted .245 in his professional debut.

Returning candidates — Junior All-American Ryan Wright started the 10 UofL games at shortstop that Duvall didn’t start in 2010, but he is entrenched as the every-day second baseman for the Cards…Senior infielder Mark Grieshaber did not appear in a game during his first season at UofL in 2010, but could push for backup playing time this season as the Cards rely on newcomers to man the shortstop position.

Newcomers to watch — Freshman shortstops Ty Young and Alex Chittenden started each of the five games of the Fall Pizza Bowl series at shortstop for the two UofL squads. Young was 7-20 in the Pizza Bowl series with three runs scored, one RBI and two walks. The Pennsylvania native batted .505 with nine home runs, seven doubles, 13 triples, 36 RBI and 43 runs scored as a senior at Malvern Preparatory High School…Chittenden finished the Pizza Bowl series at 3-15 with three RBI and a walk. The Indiana native batted .588 with eight home runs, 16 doubles and 19 stolen bases as a senior at Lawrence Central High School…Freshman infielder Adam Engel started each of the five Pizza Bowl series games at second base, going 4-23. Since second is occupied by Wright, head coach Dan McDonnell could try Engel at shortstop if he wants to get the Ohio native into the lineup.

Wildcard — The candidates for the vacant shortstop position appear fairly straight forward, so the real wildcard in the race would come if McDonnell decided to shift the all-American second baseman back to shortstop, where he started the 2010 season. In the event he wanted to play one of the less experience infielders at second base, McDonnell could conceivably move Wright back to shortstop.

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