Recently, Aaron Fitt of Baseball America reported that the Phillies turned in Oregon State senior Ben Wetzler to the NCAA for inappropriate contact with an agent, which is explicitly forbidden by NCAA bylaws. Most of the commentary since then have focused on the ethics of what the Phillies did and the unfairness of the power NCAA wields over its athletes. Comparatively little attention has been paid to Wetzler himself, who appears to have broken the rules.
Fitt is now reporting that the NCAA has suspended Wetzler for 20 percent of the season, which includes time he has already missed. He will return on March 3.
Oregon State University came out in defense of Wetzler, calling the punishment “too hard given all of the mitigating factors”. More, from Fitt:
Everyone is well aware of how good Angels outfielder Mike Trout is at the game of baseball. The 26-year-old is already an all-time great, having won two MVP awards — and arguably deserving of two others — and the 2012 Rookie of the Year Award. He has accrued 54.2 WAR, per Baseball Reference, which is right around the threshold for a Hall of Fame career. Trout does it all: he draws walks, he hits for average, he hits for power, he steals bases, he plays good defense.
But here’s an achievement that is amazing even for a player like Trout: he has yet to strike out this spring. In 41 Cactus League plate appearances, he has 10 hits (including a triple and two homers) and six walks with zero strikeouts. Across his career, Trout has a 21.5 percent strikeout rate, right around the league average. He isn’t usually such a stickler for avoiding the punch-out, but this spring he is.
To put this in perspective, 134 players this spring have struck out at least 10 times, according to MLB.com. 938 players have struck out at least once. The only other players to have taken at least 10 at-bats without striking out this spring are Humberto Arteaga (Royals, 23 AB), Tony Cruz (Reds, 18 AB), Oscar Hernandez (Red Sox, 10 AB), and Jacob Stallings (Pirates, 18 AB).
According to Angels assistant hitting coach Paul Sorrento, the lack of strikeouts hasn’t been a conscious effort from Trout, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. Ho hum. The best player in baseball is apparently getting even better.