Cal Poly Baseball in Review — Kyle Marinconz and Michael Clark

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Updated: July 29, 2017

Kyle Marinconz (Shortstop/Second Base)

Kyle Marinconz held down shortstop for Cal Poly in 2017. By Owen Main

Holding down the fort

Kyle Marinconz is a natural second baseman. Over the past two Jekyll and Hyde seasons, the Mustangs have gone through at least a half-dozen other shortstops, trying to find a way to keep Marinconz on the right side of the infield. Unfortunately, Larry Lee has had to put Marinconz back at shortstop each of the past two years. It’s not that the sophomore (soon to be junior) has been bad at the position, but he has limited range there playing him at second base would have allowed the Mustangs to feel much more solid across the board in the infield. 

Instead, Cal Poly’s defense really struggled early in 2017, especially before Marinconz moved to shortstop. It probably affected everyone’s sense of regularity as the team really scuffled in their first few months before turning it on in conference play. 

While Marinconz doesn’t wow with any single skill (except for maybe his hit tool), he is pretty good at most things on the baseball field.

By the numbers

Marinconz put up a roughly similar season to his freshman year in 2017. He hit for more power (the first three home runs of his career came last season), but also struck out a little more and walked a little less. After a slow start, big performances during conference play really made his full season numbers respectable. He hit in 9 of his final 10 games, collecting 15 hits and two of his three homers over that span. His conference performance was enough to land Marinconz on the All-Big West first team. 

Marinconz was a draft-eligible sophomore in 2017, but was not selected in the 2017 major league baseball draft. As a junior in 2018, he’ll be one of the team’s leaders as he tries to improve his draft stock and help the team get to 30-plus wins again. Something that will be fairly easy to follow in the spring with the entire team will be to see where Marinconz ends up defensively. If he’s at second base and Cal Poly is playing consistent defense, it will likely be a good sign for the Mustangs early-on. 

Michael Clark (Relief Pitcher)

Michael Clark was Cal Poly’s closer in 2017. By Owen Main

Breakout season

In his sophomore season, Clark emerged as one of the most dominant closers in the Big West. Clark appeared in 30 games, amassing a 5-0 record, 11 saves, and a 2.59 ERA. Clark’s frame isn’t huge, but he peers into the plate through clear glasses and throws gas. In his sophomore season, he found his control and earned Larry Lee’s trust as the high leverage right-hander out of the bullpen and closer. Opponents hit under .200 against him and he struck out over twice as many hitters (36) as he walked (17). His dominance throughout the season landed Clark on the All-Big West second team.

Though he started just one game, Clark was third on the team in innings pitched, throwing nearly 50 frames.

Can he start?

A reliable closer is an important asset for any team, but Cal Poly lost their two best starting pitchers. It will be interesting to see whether Larry Lee looks at stretching Clark into a starting pitcher in the fall and spring. Lee will need to have as many solid innings as he can from his best pitchers. Clark figures to be one of those, if not the best pitcher on the staff in 2018.

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