Coming into the 2016 baseball season, the Virginia Tech Hokies had some big questions around who would step up in the middle of the lineup with leadoff hitter Saige Jenco being the only top offensive player returning for the Hokies. So far, the Hokies have seen a few different players provide some solid production behind Jenco, but one player in particular has been quite effective offensively to start the season.
First baseman Phil Sciretta may not give the Hokies a big power threat in the middle of the order, but the senior from Massachusetts has gotten off to quite the start this season. Sciretta doesn’t have any home runs but in a team-high 36 at-bats, Sciretta leads the team with a .500 batting average, .561 on-base percentage, and 12 RBIs.
Despite leading the team in total number of at-bats, Sciretta is last in strikeouts among those who have had at least 16 at-bats with three strikeouts through seven games. Sciretta is also 2 RBIs away from breaking his career high of 13 RBIs that he had 92 at-bats as a part-time starter in 2014.
So far, the 2016 season has been a breakthrough year for Sciretta after he struggled last season with a .212 batting average that limited his number of starts especially as the season went deeper into weekend ACC series after having a strong sophomore season with a .391 batting average over 92 at-bats.
In some ways, Sciretta’s strong start is surprising due to his struggles last year, but the senior first baseman has gotten over last season’s disappointment so far. Of course, it is early in the season and tougher competition lies ahead in the next few weeks but someone that is hitting .500 right now shouldn’t have that much of a decline to a level that wouldn’t still be impressive.
If you take away the home run factor in what you’re looking for in a cleanup hitter, then Phil Sciretta is doing exactly what you want in that role as someone that is driving in runs with very few strikeouts.