American Hitters vs National Team Pitchers at The 2014 ISC

November 9, 2014

Kitchener, ON

Keeping an eye on the American players and following the national team the last few years, a fastpitch fan friend and I decided to take a look at which players hit the best against the best of the best in 2014.  Most would agree that the key to success for national teams is, after pitching, the ability to perform well against the elite pitchers in the game.


Looking at the American roster and some of the potential players talked about for a spot on the national team, we decided to gather some data and see how they did against top pitching, or national team pitchers at the 2014 ISC.  From our count, there were 19 pitchers who were either on the 2013 ISF team or the 2014 Pan Am team and pitched at the 2014 ISC.


We were there also, spectating and taking in some great ball.


The breakdown is how the top American players did in ABs against JUST THE NATIONAL TEAM PITCHERS IN ATTENDANCE AT THE 2014 ISC.

1.       Fred Carmona .667  6-9 D BB vs Pottolichio, Manley, Koert & Mancha

2.       Jon Rozich .571 4-7 3K HR 3BB vs Mancha, Manley, Montero & Skelton

3.       Tom Crouch .500 3-6 1K vs Folkard, McCoullough, Godoy & Muizellar

4.       Josh Johnson .386 5-13 6K vs Jones, Whitten, Manley & Koert

5.       Matt Palazzo .285 2-7 1K 2BB 1K vs Folkard, McCoullough, Godoy & Muizellar

6.       Kris Bogach .273 3-11 4K HR BB vs Pottolichio, Manley, Koert & Mancha

7.       Chris Miljavic .250 2-8 3K vs 1K vs Folkard, McCoullough, Godoy & Muizellar

8.       Jenner Christensen  .222 2-9 5K HR BB vs Jones, Whitten, Manley & Koert

9.       Derrick Kennedy .222 2-9 3K D BB vs vs Pottolichio, Manley, Koert & Mancha

10.   Lucas Goring .200 2-10 2K 1K vs Folkard, McCoullough, Godoy & Muizellar

11.   Pat Sagdahl .200 1-5 1K vs Folkard, McCoullough, Godoy & Muizellar

12.   Tyler Dudley .200 1-5 2K vs Mancha, Muizellar & Godoy

13.   Nate Devine .200 2-10 7K 3BB vs Jones, Whitten, Manley & Koert

14.   Kevin Castillo .167 2-12 6K 4BB vs Jones, Whitten, Manley & Koert

15.   Derrick Zechman .143 1-7 1K HR BB vs Manley, Folkard. Mayson & Mancha

16.   Nick Mullins .125 1-8 4K BB vs Mancha, Manley, Montero & Skelton

17.   Bob Rostenhauser .091 1-11 6K vs Jones, Whitten, Manley & Koert

18.   Chase Turner .077 1-13 6K HR vs Jones, Whitten, Manley & Koert

19.-25. .000 average

Marcus Tan 0-10 5K

Eddy Kettlehutt 0-7 2K

Zach Warne 0-5 3K

BJ Gullick 0-4 2K BB

Frank Degroat 0-5 1K BB

Trevor Kelly 0-5 3K


National team pitchers in at 2014 ISC included, Folkard, Kirkpatrick, Pottolichio. Godoy, Montero. Sabate, Jones, Urbeneja, Skelton, Mancha, Cleary, Muizellar, Koert, Manley, Jetmar, Haldane, Johnson, Mayson & Scott


Based off of the players who hit the best against  national team pitchers, we keep seeing the same names at the top of the American player lists. Palazzo, Johnson, Crouch, Carmona & Zechman.  We also added some more data by looking at how American players did the last four years (since 2011) at the ISC and ASA where the best pitching in the world is being seen. 

We looked at which American players won All World or All American honors at these events.  We gave a point if they made a second team at either ASA or ISC and then assigned two points to players who made a first teamAW/AA at either event since 2011.  We added points for players who were on teams that finished in the top 4 of these events .  The reason for that is we feel that if a player won All World or All American and were on a top four team, he was probably a MAJOR contributor on an elite team against other elite teams. Rather than the occasional player who makes AW/AA and goes 6-10 and his team goes 1-3 and doesn't face a national team/top level pitching as his team probably spends the majority of their games in the losers bracket.  We gave an extra point for a player on a 4th place team and two for 3rd place finish.  There were no American players who made AW or AA and finished on a 1st or 2nd place team since 2011.


American players who have received points based on our system the last four years:

1.       Derrick Zechman 10 points

2.       Josh Johnson 6 points

3.       Tom Crouch 4 points

4.       Matt Palazzo 4 points

5.       Tom Avery 4 points

6.       Frank Degroat 4 points

7.       Chris Miljavic 3 points

8.       Fred Carmona 2 points

9.       Trevor Kelly 2 points

10.   Chase Turner 2 points

11.   Jon Rozich 2 points

12.   Derrick Kennedy 2 points

13.   Shea Bryant 2 points

14.   Lucas Goring 2 points

15.   Six players with one point (Kettlehutt, Sagdahl, Rostenhauser, Delorit, Budke & Mataczynski)


How do the above match up with the Top American player rankings set forth in September by Terry Hansen?  Pretty similar.


From Alsfastball-September


1. Matt Palazzo (APR-1) (Survey-8th best infielder in the game) Best American hitter and nothing has changed.  continues to be a threat and game changer.  Might be one of the top 4-5 hitters in the world.  This was easy to list him as the best.


2. Derrick Zechman (APR-6) (Survey-NA) Zechman is a very underrated defensive player.  Have talked to a few that think he is weak defensively but makes big plays in clutch situations.  Speaking of clutch, he may be one of the most clutch hitters in the game today.  Has carried the PA Power team at times and seems to be a natural leader.  Is very unorthodox but is better fundamentally than one would think.


3. Josh Johnson (APR-2) (Survey-10th best two way player in the game) Johnson's power is his biggest threat.  He has a sweet swing and his ability to pitch make him one of the top players in the united States.  While he didn't seem to throw particularly well, he also plays in the outfield and is more than serviceable.  He seems to be the second best hitter in the U.S..


4. Trevor Kelly (APR-8) (Survey-NA) Probably didn't do well on the survey because he plays many positions.  He catches, He plays 3B and I have heard he plays OF as well.  I'm not certain he has a "best position."  He had a poor ASA when I saw him but looked great at the ISC.  He moved up on my list because of his defensive versatility and strong hitting.  What a great asset to Team USA to have a guy that plays multiple positions well and can hit the top guys.  I am uncertain how he hits top pitching because he plays on a mid level team and he didn't see great pitching at either ISC or ASA but did see him go 2-3 off Regan Manley.


5. Fred Carmona (APR-NA) (Survey-NA) Carmona came out of nowhere and player great at teh ISC.  he hit all the top pitching that I saw.  Not sure if he plays anywhere other than catcher but seemed to do well there.  Diamond in the rough and was surprised to see him not make the USA Team.  Seems like he would have been a lock at the catcher position.


6. Tommy Crouch (APR-4) (Survey-9th best infielder in the game) Crouch plays multiple positions but is excellent in the infield. Like most fans, was shocked to not see him on the USA roster.  I saw him hit multiple national team pitchers like Folkard, Muziellar, and Koert well in ASA/ISC.  Versatile defensive player that hits top level pitching as well as anyone outside of Johnson & Palazzo.  


7. Lucas Goring (APR-5) (Survey-NA) Tough out with great speed.  Doesn't impress much defensively and is why he is not higher on my list but he is one of the best slap hitters/bunters in the game.  Was a spark plug in the games I saw Circle Tap play at ASA and ISC.  Hits for power occasionally, but is a top level small ball threat. 


8. John Rozich (APR-NA) (Survey-NA) New to my list.  I had heard of him from a few years back but made splash with the Gremlins this summer.  Hits for power and average and plays a good OF and catches from what i understand.  Had a terrific ISC both offensively and defensively.  Very deserving of all-world honors.  Is a long-ball threat and hits top pitchers well.  Athletic for a bigger guy as well.


9. BJ Gullick (APR-7) (Survey-NA) Gullick seems streaky but hits top level pitching even though he did not seem to hit well at the ISC. Not sure of his best position but seems serviceable in OF.  He, like Crouch and Carmona, is another player who has many wondering why he's not on the national team.  Easily on the top ten list.


10.  Nick Mullins (APR-10) (Survey-NA).  Mullins made some of the better plays at SS that I have seen in South Bend.  Is a fantastic middle infielder and plays other positions as well.  He would be higher on the list but have not seen him hit well at many events against the top tier throwers.


11. Tyler Dudley (APR-NA) (Survey-NA) Another new player on my list.  Dudley is a slick fielder who hits as well as any American player I have seen. Had a great ASA and ISC.  I am not sure how well he hits the top level pitchers because I did not see him against that level but he certainly made an impression against the lower teams they played at the two events.  Seems a bit brash and may be a reason he's not considered for the national team.


12. Chris Miljavic (APR-NA) (Survey-NA) Miljavic is still a tough out and can hit for power like he did at ASA tournament.  He is not as strong an infielder as some of the others on the list but does a fine job at 2B.  He seems to be streaky but is one of the scrappier hitters in the game.


13. Kris Bogach

14. Eddy Kettlehutt

15. Frank Degroat

16. Chris Hineline

17. Kevin Castillo

18. Pat Sagdahl

19. Bob Rostenhausler

20. Chase Turner



Mark Sampson


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