Bloomquist: ASU baseball will play the ‘right way’ under new coaching staff
Jul 20, 2021, 2:10 PM | Updated: Aug 17, 2021, 7:24 am
(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
After being hired in June, head coach Willie Bloomquist said his goal is to bring Arizona State baseball back to where it once was — in Omaha competing for a national championship.
A good start is hiring the right coaching staff.
ASU officially introduced the program’s new pitching coach and recruiting coordinator Sam Peraza, hitting coach Bill Mueller and assistant coach Mike Goff on Monday.
Between the three of them and Bloomquist at the helm, the coaching staff has a good mix of college and professional experience. To Bloomquist, that is a valuable asset to have.
“When you look at the entirety of this coaching staff, with the experience we have not only at the college level … but also at the professional level, the young men coming in here are going to get better,” Bloomquist said. “They’re going to learn how to play the game the right way and be taught properly. And to me, that is a big selling point of our program.”
Bloomquist added that he was looking for five specific qualities that each coach had to possess: trust, commitment, communication, experience and a want to be at ASU.
“I don’t view Arizona State as a stepping stone. I view Arizona State as one of the best programs in the country,” Bloomquist said. “… If you don’t want to be here, then, by all means, don’t be here.”
Here’s a snapshot at each new member of the Sun Devils’ coaching staff.
Before coming to Tempe, Peraza was the associate head coach and pitching coach at his alma mater San Diego State. In his six seasons with the Aztecs, he coached 17 players who were eventually selected in the MLB Draft. Peraza’s pitchers received nine All-America honors, five Mountain West Pitcher of the Year awards and 20 all-conference accolades.
The former Aztec also has been impressive on the recruiting trail. SDSU had the No. 14 recruiting class in 2017 and top-35 classes in 2019 and 2020 under Peraza. He also produced the No. 8 class in 2014 at FIU.
“We need to win the Valley,” Peraza said of finding success in Tempe. “I want to talk to all the high school coaches and travel ball coaches here in our Valley and make sure we win our backyard.”
Mueller should help in that backyard recruiting aspect since he was Hamilton High School’s assistant coach from 2020-21, but that’s just a bonus.
Mueller comes in as ASU’s new hitting coach after having a very successful career at the plate during his time as a switch hitter in the majors.
He played 10 years in the major leagues for five different teams. His most memorable stint was with the Boston Red Sox (2003-05), where he played some of the best baseball of his career. Mueller was crowned the American League batting champion and won the AL Silver Slugger Award in 2003 after posting a .326 batting average. He is also a world champion after the Red Sox swept the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2004 World Series.
While almost any college baseball player dreams of being drafted and having the success Mueller had, the 50 year-old wants his players to be patient and stick with it.
“What I’ve learned in my experience in this game, is that you’ve gotta eat patience for breakfast,” Mueller said. “Some of these kids have goals that are going to take time.”
Goff has spent the majority of his 35-year coaching career in the major leagues. He spent nearly a total of three decades in the majors with four different organizations. Goff served 16 years with the Seattle Mariners (1992-2007), where he coached Bloomquist.
What drew Goff to Tempe was not only the opportunity to work with Bloomquist again, but also the same mentality that all of the coaches have.
“Our mentality is, ‘We don’t care how many hours it takes. Whatever it takes we’re going to do it,'” Goff said. “In baseball, there is no clock. You don’t punch a timeclock to go in or out. You do whatever it takes to get it done. And that’s the type of guys [Bloomquist] has on this staff, and that’s why I think here in the first month we’ve all worked well together.”