Confident but not cocky, proud but not arrogant, the University of Delaware’s Alex Buchholz is one the most determined, dynamic and exciting players in college baseball. His success was instant at Delaware, as Buchholz compiled one of the most spectacular freshman seasons in Delaware baseball history batting .378 with a Blue Hen-high 18 home runs and 64 RBI. He ranked in the top twenty-five nationally in homeruns per game (15th at .34), RBI per game (25th at 1.21), slugging percentage (14th at .721) and runs per game (24th at 1.17). As an aggressive, athletic second baseman wearing Delaware’s unique blue and gold, comparisons to former Blue Hen and MLB All-Star Tom Herr were immediate and warranted.
A switch to shortstop his sophomore season didn’t compromise his ability to put bat onto ball. Buchholz continued to rack up more hits than Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus combined (Did you ever notice you never see both of them in the same place at the same time? Strange...). He raised his average to a hearty .387 which ranked 72nd in the country, while also ranking himself amongst the national leaders in 27 doubles (4th), 6 triples (27th) and RBI per game (28th at 1.15). He also added 11 homeruns to finish with a .689 slugging percentage. With a strong arm and ingrained baseball instincts, Buchholz played solid defense and even turned an unassisted triple play against the Hofstra Pride on March 24th.
Over the summer Buchholz played for the Youse’s Maryland Orioles of the Cal Ripken Sr. League. He batted .270 in the pitcher friendly league, placing him 15th overall. He had a league leading four sacrifice flies and also ranked high amongst the leaders in RBI and was nine of ten in stolen base attempts.
This season Buchholz has changed positions once again and is slated to fill the void left at third base with the graduation of last year’s starter, Ryan Jablonski. Like Buchholz did the year before, the versatile Kyle Davis will bring his supple leather and outstanding range from second base to shortstop. With his ability to play anywhere in the infield and ability to pitch in a pinch (he went 2-0 with a 4.91 ERA and two saves in six appearances as a freshman, striking out 14 batters in 18 innings), Buchholz was named to the 2008 Preseason All Ping! Team as a first unit selection at the utility position.
Another sensation season and Buchholz will undeniably have his name called in the first day of next year’s MLB amateur draft, filling his lifetime dream of playing professional baseball. A fate Blue Hen’s Head Coach Jim Sherman will face with bittersweet sentiment as his star student-athlete will be leaving campus for the professional ranks.
When asked about Buchholz, Sherman had nothing but praise, “This is a kid that does everything well on the baseball field – he’s the complete player. Alex has tremendous hand eye coordination and has the great ability to slow the game down. Never overmatched at the plate or defensively, he reminds me of Jeff Kent. I feel he has the opportunity to go in the first three rounds. He has all the making of a legitimate big leaguer!”
Not simply gifted as a baseball player, Buchholz’s athletic ability has transferred to other sports as well. In high school he also lettered in soccer and basketball, once making 11 three-pointers in a game for the Old Mill Patriots; however Buchholz admits, it took a lot of shots to make all those baskets.
The Blue Hens just missed a bid to the NCAA’s last season, when Virginia Commonwealth erupted for six runs in the 13th inning to capture the Colonial Athletic Assocation championship in the longest game in the 22-year history of the tournament. A situation Buchholz and the Hens hope to remedy this season. In the 2008 preseason coaches poll, Delaware garnished two of eleven first place votes and look to be in good shape, especially if few young pitchers and freshman can stop out to fill some of the spots vacated by four Blue Hens who were selected in last years’ MLB amateur draft. A fifth player, senior Mike McGuire (3-1, 4.26, 27 Ks in 31.2 IP) was also drafted, but returned to school.
Buchholz and the Blue Hens begin their season Feb. 22 against The Citadel, followed by a pair of doubleheaders the next weekend (March 1st and 2nd) against Princeton