On Thursday Feb. 15, the Wake Forest baseball team announced that it had indefinitely suspended three veteran players, just 24 hours before the team’s season opener against Georgetown.
Relief pitcher Chris Farish, infielder/outfielder Keegan Maronpot and infielder Bruce Steel were suspended for an undisclosed violation of athletic department rules.
Each saw significant time during a very successful 2017 campaign for the Demon Deacons.
“I think morale took a hit a little bit, losing some guys at least for the beginning part of the season, but it’s all about building and rebuilding,” said junior starting pitcher Griffin Roberts. “[All we can do is] take a hit, and just send some guys out there to fill their spots. We are still going to do everything we can do to win the games we are playing in.”
Farish, a redshirt senior, appeared in 24 games in 2017 out of the bullpen.
He posted a subpar 5.89 ERA, but losing veteran pitching depth is certain to hurt the Demon Deacons in 2018.
Maronpot, a senior, started in 60 games in 2017. Though this slash line of .214/.318/.409 left something to be desired, the loss of his positional versatility will limit the flexibility of the team during the season.
Steel, a redshirt junior, started in 52 games in 2017. Steel contributed more consistently than either of the other two suspended players, slugging .540 and collecting 13 home runs during his sophomore campaign.
The loss of Stuart Fairchild, Gavin Sheets and Jonathan Pryor, who were all drafted last summer, had already damaged the team’s depth, and the loss of these three veterans will force young players to step up even more this season if Wake Forest is to match the success it had last season.
The effects of these suspensions, should they not be lifted, will be felt most acutely later in 2018 when the wear and tear caused by the grind of a baseball season takes full effect.
The Wake Forest athletic department declined to comment on the specifics of the suspensions.