ASU baseball‘s infield looks to improve from last year’s play with Lyle Lin, Carter Aldrete, Drew Swift and Alika Williams.
The Arizona State Baseball team has been home to some of the best infielders in recent history, some of the names include former American League Most Valuable Player Dustin Pedroia and former second-round draft pick Jason Kipnis.
While it has been over a decade since either player wore the Maroon and Gold for ASU, the addition of Drew Swift and Alika Williams to this year’s freshman class, who entered as the No. 4 recruiting class in the nation, have a chance to be the next to star up the middle for the Sun Devils.
The pair enter ASU with high expectations as Swift was tabbed the preseason Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and Williams enters as a highly touted recruit after being drafted in the 32nd round of the 2017 MLB draft by the New York Yankees.
Earning such an honor like Swift did before even playing his first collegiate game is satisfying, the freshman knows the accolade coming at the being of the season means little.
“It’s cool to be tagged with that,” Swift said. “The real goal is to be there at the end of the season when it really matters.”
More from Devils in Detail
- Sun Devils Primer: Game 2 vs Oklahoma State
- Sun Devil Insight: Quarterback Room
- Arizona State Spotlight: Kenny Dillingham
- Arizona State 2023 Season Opener: Off To A Good Start
- Arizona State vs USC Prediction and Promo (Expect Offensive Fireworks)
The duo was led to Arizona State by a common interest: winning championships.
“The tradition here, you look out on the boards on right field, the national championships, the College World Series,” Williams said. “I wanted to bring that winning tradition back.”
While the young freshmen will most hold down the middle of the infield, it will be a pair of sophomores that will look to provide experience for the Sun Devils in the infield.
Returning after their freshmen seasons it will be Carter Aldrete at third and Lyle Lin at first who will look to provide stability for ASU.
The pair returns after a successful first year with the team as Lin was selected as an All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention after batting .290 while totaling 61 hits, and Aldrete comes back after leading the team in RBIs with 31 during his freshman campaign.
The two will look to bring their hitting prowess to the pair of young players who excelled in hitting in high school as Williams was a career .374 hitter with 123 hits and 68 RBIs while Swift had a career batting average of .355 with 118 hits and 107 runs in 102 varsity games.
Not only will the older duo bring back their strong performance on the field from a year ago, they also bring a form of leadership to make the transition for Swift and Williams just as smooths as theirs.
“(Aldrete) takes me out in the cage every day and does drills with me one on one,” Williams said. “He’s been a really big help just giving me great advice for my hitting and any part of my game really.”
Aldrete has not only been a key to assist the young middle of the infield but has also been a key leader for the whole team.
“It’s amazing just to see what he can do, for not just me and Alika, but for the whole team,” Swift said. “He’s only a sophomore and he’s already leading the team.”
While Swift and Williams may have a great mentor in form of Aldrete, this didn’t help the duo in executing their first double play at ASU.
“We had zero outs and I thought we had two outs,” Swift said. “We went to go roll a double play and I just stepped on the base and skip starting yelling at me.”
Despite getting off on the wrong foot, the pair of players will be essential in the makings of the Sun Devils infield as the middle of the infield is full of raw young potential that is corralled in by sophomore leaders at the corners.