Sunday, April 25, 2010

Bodishbaugh back with the Seals for 2010

We have been profiling some of the new Seals in the last few weeks, but it’s time to take a look at one of the returning players from last season, Chris Bodishbaugh.

Bodishbaugh is a 25-year-old right-handed pitcher who is entering his third professional season. He was a distinguished three-sport athlete in high school and he went on to accept a full football scholarship at San Jose State, a Division I school. As a freshman, he was named Hardest Working Athlete on the team. But in the spring of 2004, the football team refused his request to play baseball, so he withdrew from the university and gave up his full scholarship. Bodishbaugh went on to play baseball for Los Medanos College in 2004 and 2005 and was named team MVP both years. He eventually played Division II baseball at CSU Chico in 2007 and was then signed by the Florida Marlins. Bodishbaugh spent 2008 in the Marlins system and he was initially assigned to the Jamestown Jammers in the New York-Penn League (low A). He did well in 11 games with the Jammers, but struggled mightily after being promoted to the Greensboro Grasshoppers of the South Atlantic League (A). He was roughed up to the tune of a 10.29 ERA in 21 innings pitched and was promptly released by the Marlins.

Bodishbaugh was signed by the Victoria Seals in 2009 and he made 24 appearances for the team, six as a starter. He finished the season with a 4-1 record, a 5.91 ERA and two saves. However, if you throw out two dreadful appearances to start the season, his ERA was a respectable 4.67. Bodishbaugh improved as the year went on and he also had more success as a starter. In his last five appearances with the Seals, he had a 2.22 ERA and he struck out 21 batters in 24 2/3 innings.

In the fall of 2009, Bodishbaugh signed with the Space Coast Surge of the fledgling Florida Winter Baseball League (FWBL). Unfortunately, the league folded after only 15 games and the season was cut short. The FWBL was intended to be an American alternative to the Latin and Caribbean winter leagues, but the only players signed were from various (unaffiliated) independent leagues. Some estimated the calibre of play to be Advanced A, which is slightly lower than the Golden League. In 19 2/3 innings pitched for Space Coast, Bodishbaugh had a 4.58 ERA, but he held opponents to a meager .217 batting average. Most importantly, he cut down on his walks and only issued six free passes.

Looking forward, it’s quite possible that Bodishbaugh could have a break-out season in 2010. Given his age and relative inexperience at the professional level, he’ll benefit greatly from the tutelage of pitching coach Kip Gross and the three members of the pitching staff with big-league experience (Brandon Villafuerte, Jason Kershner and Phillip Barzilla). The key for Bodishbaugh will be to cut down on the walks (4.4 per nine innings in 2009) and the homers (1.4 per nine innings). If he can do that then he just might put together a nice little season.