2024 College Baseball Thread

Discussion in 'The Mainboard' started by Beagle, Dec 20, 2019.

  1. Beagle

    Beagle Many, many french fries
    Southern Mississippi Golden EaglesNew Orleans PelicansNew Orleans Saints

  2. Daddy Rabbit

    Daddy Rabbit obviously silly and not productive
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  3. steamengine

    steamengine I don’t want to press one for English!
    Duke Blue DevilsHouston AstrosKansas City ChiefsLiverpool

    Tech too low
    Taques likes this.
  4. infected donkey

    infected donkey Arkansas Razorbacks
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    Arkansas too high.
  5. Cornelius Suttree

    Cornelius Suttree the smallest crumb can devour us
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  6. FadeMe

    FadeMe Well-Known Member
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    I’m just here for the Omaha trips.
  7. Pharm

    Pharm Right Handed
    Florida State SeminolesAtlanta HawksAtlanta Falcons

    Van eyk too low
    War Grundle likes this.
  8. FadeMe

    FadeMe Well-Known Member
    Auburn TigersAtlanta BravesAtlanta United

    PG Preseason Top 25. I fucking hate their formatting. It doesn't copy/paste worth a shit. Damn them not letting me easily steal their content.

    Rk Team '19 Record '19 Rk
    2019 Finish

    1 Louisville 51-18 4 College World Series
    2 Vanderbilt 59-12 1 College World Series Champions
    3 Texas Tech 46-20 5 College World Series
    4 Arkansas 46-20 6 College World Series
    5 Arizona State 38-19 NR Baton Rouge Regional
    6 Auburn 38-28 9 College World Series
    7 Miami 41-20 23 Starkville Regional
    8 Mississippi State 52-15 3 College World Series
    9 UCLA 52-11 7 Los Angeles Super Regional
    10 Georgia 46-17 14
    Athens Regional
    11 Duke 35-27 18 Nashville Super Regional
    12 Michigan 50-22 2
    College World Series Runner-up
    13 Florida 34-26 NR Lubbock Regional
    14 Florida State 42-23 8 College World Series
    15 Stanford 45-14 10 Starkville Super Regional
    16 Oklahoma 33-23 NR Did not make postseason
    17 North Carolina 46-19 15 Chapel Hill Super Regional
    18 Mississippi 41-27 17 Fayetteville Super Regional
    19 Oklahoma State 40-21 12 Lubbock Super Regional
    20 Louisiana State 40-26 16 Baton Rouge Super Regional
    21 NC State 42-19 22 Greenville Regional
    22 Texas A&M 39-23-1 24 Morgantown Regional
    23 East Carolina 47-18 11 Louisville Super Regional
    24 Texas 27-27 NR Did not make postseason
    25 Virginia 32-24 NR Did not make postseason
    Cornelius Suttree likes this.
  9. hudson

    hudson Oh, you know...stuff.
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    Will Bolt era engage.

    for more losing
  10. bertwing

    bertwing check out the nametag grandma
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    First I’ve seen someone post this


    1 [​IMG]Louisville 51-18 3
    2 [​IMG]Vanderbilt 59-12 1
    3 [​IMG]Miami 41-20 19
    4 [​IMG]Florida 34-26 NR
    5 [​IMG]Georgia 46-17 18
    6 [​IMG]Texas Tech 46-20 4
    7 [​IMG]Arkansas 46-20 6
    8 [​IMG]Auburn 38-28 9
    9 [​IMG]Arizona State 38-19 NR
    10 [​IMG]Mississippi State 52-15 5
    11 [​IMG]LSU 40-26 14
    12 [​IMG]Florida State 42-23 8
    13 [​IMG]Michigan 50-22 2
    14 [​IMG]UCLA 52-11 7
    15 [​IMG]Duke 35-27 16
    16 [​IMG]NC State 42-19 NR
    17 [​IMG]Stanford 45-14 10
    18 [​IMG]Wake Forest 31-26 NR
    19 [​IMG]Georgia Tech 43-19 17
    20 [​IMG]Texas A&M 39-23 20
    21 [​IMG]East Carolina 47-18 13
    22 [​IMG]Oklahoma State 40-21 11
    23 [​IMG]North Carolina 46-19 15
    24 [​IMG]Oklahoma 33-23 NR
    25 [​IMG]Ole Miss 41-27 12
    Cornelius Suttree and blind dog like this.
  11. Marbles

    Marbles Trudging the road to happy destiny
    Auburn TigersAtlanta Braves

    Ole Miss will sneak up the poles. They have too much talent. But ultimately they will falter down the stretch as always.
  12. blind dog

    blind dog wps
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    wow someone is salty their team isn't ranked!!
    Boo MFer!, Taques and Marbles like this.
  13. bertwing

    bertwing check out the nametag grandma
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    Futureman likes sneaking up poles
  14. Marbles

    Marbles Trudging the road to happy destiny
    Auburn TigersAtlanta Braves

    Probably down them as well.
    bertwing likes this.
  15. hudson

    hudson Oh, you know...stuff.
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    Nebraska not being ranked is trash.

    the rankings should be at least three times that size
    #15 hudson, Jan 13, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2020
  16. devine

    devine hi, i am user devine
    West Virginia MountaineersChicago BullsPhoenix SunsPittsburgh PenguinsManchester CityPittsburgh PiratesSan Diego PadresBarAndGrillCoors Light

    I will not post the gif I will not post the gif I will not post the gif
  17. NineteenNine

    NineteenNine Divers are, in fact, wankers. It's science.
    ArsenalTiger WoodsSneakersDallas Mavericks altTexas Tech Red Raiders alt

  18. BrickTamland

    BrickTamland You're not Ron...
    Florida State Seminoles

    Love me some baseball-specific logos :ohgosh:
  19. FadeMe

    FadeMe Well-Known Member
    Auburn TigersAtlanta BravesAtlanta United

    Auburn is probably going to be close to consensus top 10 and will only have Burns as a Preseason AA. Lots of depth and good role players on our squad but not a lot of frontline star power. Steven Williams and Ryan Bliss are really the only other guys on our roster who could get to that level.
  20. FadeMe

    FadeMe Well-Known Member
    Auburn TigersAtlanta BravesAtlanta United

    sc_chant you asked about this in the 2019 thread. If you haven't already seen it, here you go.

    Fall Report: Coastal Carolina
    FALL REPORT Aaron Fitt - November 15, 2019

    CONWAY, S.C. — Gary Gilmore took an unusual approach to Coastal Carolina’s fall schedule. While most teams stagger their two allotted outside exhibitions by at least a week or two (and sometimes by four or five weeks), Gilmore decided to play his scrimmages on back-to-back days to really test the depth of his roster. The Chanticleers were outplayed by Duke on Nov. 2 in Fayetteville, N.C., getting outscored 13-3 over 16 innings, but they responded well and looked very good a day later in Conway against UNC Wilmington, outscoring the Seahawks 13-9 over 14 innings.

    To further strain Coastal’s depth, it played both scrimmages without its projected 3-4-5 hitters: junior outfielder Parker Chavers and physical transfers Fox Leum and Alex Gattinelli. Chavers, a dynamic power/speed threat, was sidelined when his shoulder popped out on a swing a few days earlier, a recurrence of the injury that has hampered him since early last spring. He played through it most of the season, all summer and most of the fall, but Coastal is focused on rehabbing and strengthening his shoulder so it won’t plague him during his draft year — and he has a chance to be a Day One draft pick with a big spring. The Chants are counting on Leum, who hit .392 with 24 homers in juco ball last year, to fill Zach Biermann’s shoes as a power-hitting first baseman in the heart of the order. Gattinelli hit .406 with 13 homers at his juco last spring, so he provides additional pop as well as a solid-average arm behind the plate, where he has some rough edges to smooth out but is a capable defender.

    “If we can get everyone healthy, we’ll be very competitive by the end of the year,” Gilmore said. “We’re going to play more freshmen than we have since I’ve been here, but they’re good players, they’re athletic. We need Parker back, we need those other two guys just to give us some older guys who can produce some stuff. Basically right now we’re playing without what we projected to be 3-4-5. When you take those three guys away, that kills you.”

    Gattinelli is likely to serve as half of a catcher/DH duo with sophomore BT Riopelle, who brings big raw power from the left side and is slightly more polished as a receiver and blocker, but doesn’t have quite as much arm strength. Gilmore said Riopelle has taken a clear step forward offensively since last spring, and he roped an RBI double into the right-field corner against UNCW, hitting in the cleanup spot.

    Besides Chavers, the most established returnee in the lineup is shortstop Scott McKeon, one of my favorite senior prospects in college baseball this year. Scouts like how hard McKeon plays the game, and he has some legitimate tools too — he’s a good athlete who plays a reliable shortstop, where he moves and throws well. And he’s a mature gap-to-gap hitter who batted .340/.399/.484 with 18 doubles last year; he hit three liners on the nose in five at-bats against UNCW, highlighted by an RBI double down the right-field line. In addition to leading the offense, McKeon and Chavers will serve as the backbone of a defense that has a chance to be much better than it was a year ago.

    “I don’t think we’re capable of being the offense we were a year ago, but I think we have the ability to potentially pitch a whole lot better and play better defense,” Gilmore said. “And at the end of the day that’s what ended up killing us last year; we had one of the best offenses we’ve ever had but the other two areas killed us. But heck, we made half a dozen really good plays today (against UNCW) and a bunch yesterday. Those guys were insane.”

    I was particularly impressed with the defense I saw from freshman infielder Eric Brown, a compact, quick-twitch athlete at 5-foot-10, 180 pounds who can play second, third and shortstop with aplomb. He showed quick feet and excellent body control as well as the ability to make strong, accurate throws on the run from different slots, particularly shining on slow rollers in front of him at the hot corner. He’s also a tough out who delivered four singles and was hit by a pitch in seven trips against UNCW. Brown has the look of a future star and an instant impact player for the Chants.

    “He’s insane turning the double play at second base. He’ll make you forget about anybody who’s played second base here other than — well, Tommy La Stella was a sick hitter, but this guy turns the double play probably better than anybody we’ve ever had here,” Gilmore said. “He is [former Chanticleer star] David Sappelt as an infielder. It’s an unorthodox approach to hitting, you think he’s out of control a little bit at times, but he has this ability to find the plane of the ball. He’s one of those guys, you don’t try to change a whole lot — he knows how to figure it out. He’s gonna be a good player, he played really well yesterday [vs. Duke], got a couple of hits.”

    A host of other freshmen are also competing for playing time on the infield, and all of them have a chance to contribute. Stocky 5-foot-10, 190-pound Cooper Weiss started at first base with Leum out and had himself a strong day at the plate, flaring an RBI single to center, drawing walk and then showing off oppo power with a laser two-run homer to right field. He also had two hard line-drive singles in the second game, one to left and one to right. His bat could force its way into the lineup sooner rather than later.

    Brian Port started at second base against UNCW and delivered a line-drive single to center and a two-run liner double to right, in addition to drawing a pair of walks. Gilmore compares him athletically to McKeon and lauds his feel for spraying line drives all around the field, but he also thinks Port can grow into double-digit home run power as he matures. Dale Thomas played third base in the second seven-inning mini-game against UNCW, drawing two walks and singling to right-center. He looks like a candidate for the job at the hot corner right away. Fellow freshman Connor Kirkley looks likely to move from the infield to the outfield, where Coastal has more of a need, but Gilmore has liked what he’s seen from Kirkley at the plate as well.

    Freshman speed merchant Kyle Westfall, a sub-6.5 runner with serious range, could also factor into the outfield mix, though his bat needs refinement (he struck out in all four plate appearances against the Seahawks). Six-foot-3, 215-pound freshman Zach Beach struck out in seven straight trips and clearly has work to do at the plate, but his physicality is intriguing, and he could grow into a useful run producer down the road.

    Two more returning players will also play key roles in the outfield. Senior Morgan Hyde is a defense-first player with very good foot speed but not great basestealing instincts, and Gilmore wants to see him take another step forward offensively. And sophomore Nick Lucky is the real pick to click; he was a blue-chip recruit who struggled to the tune of .234 in 64 at-bats as a freshman infielder, but Gilmore said he’s seemed more relaxed since moving to left field. He’s got a chance to hit for both average and power from the left side, and he showed off his pop last Sunday with a two-run homer to right field. He also showed a more disciplined approach, drawing three walks in the second game before flying out to the wall in center field.

    “He’s the developmental piece we’ve got to have too. You’re gonna lose some guys off of this team, Parker won’t be back and this guy or that guy, I need him and Brown and some guys to develop so we don’t have that big void down the road,” Gilmore said. “But if he can just be a 2-hole or a 5- or 6-hole type hitter this year, that would be huge.”

    Gilmore has a good idea how the weekend rotation is likely to shake out. Junior righthander Zach McCambley, sophomore lefty Garrett McDaniels and fifth-year senior lefty Scott Kobos look ticketed for those three jobs, in some order. McCambley made a couple of mistakes against Duke that resulted in home runs, but Gilmore said he’s looked “fantastic” all fall. His power fastball and breaking ball are already weapons, and he’s working to develop his changeup to make him a more complete starter.

    “He’s been absolute money here, just working hard on fastball command, trying to get in and out of innings in 15 pitches or under,” Gilmore said. “It was really hard last year, we really didn’t have a starter that was a six-, seven-inning guy, and you’ve gotta have those guys. We’re in the generation of one, two times through the order and get guys out, but we’ve gotta do better than that. Friday and Saturday guys have to eat up some innings.”

    McDaniels stands out for his bowling ball sinker, but he needs to command it better than he did last year, when he went 0-3, 8.35 in 10 appearances (eight starts). “His physicality’s a lot better. He’s really, really close,” Gilmore said. “His sinker is sick. When he throws kneecappers, shoot, that thing’s one of the best sinkerball jobs I’ve seen in a long time — it’s sinking eight, 10 inches. He just has to locate it and throw it. He’s a lot better, but if he ever gets to a semi-mastery level of that, he doesn’t need a whole lot of other pitches. All you can do is beat it into the ground, it’s that good.”

    Kobos started against UNCW and worked three innings, sitting 90-91 in the first and then settling in at 87-89, though Gilmore said he’ll sit more consistently at 90-93 in the spring. His 79-81 slider showed sharp bite at times, and his high-70s changeup was serviceable.

    The Chants have the makings of a very strong bullpen anchored by wily senior lefty Jay Causey, sophomore sidewinder Alaska Abney and power-armed righties Chase Antle and Shaddon Peavyhouse. Antle, a graduate transfer from Bowling Green, is something of an X-factor after walking 35 in 33.2 innings last spring, but he has shutdown stuff if he can harness it. He attacked at 93-95 in a 1-2-3 inning against the Seahawks along with a wipeout power curveball at 82-83 with big downer action. “It’s a big-time hammer,” Gilmore said. “I haven’t seen one with that kind of velocity with that late depth since [Mike] Morrison pitched here.”

    Abney is a crucial bridge guy who looked good in his three innings last Sunday, racking up groundball outs with his lively 85-86 sinker and mixing in his effective 79-80 Frisbee slider effectively. Peavyhouse missed last spring while recovering from Tommy John surgery, but he’s progressed well over the course of the fall. He’s a sinker/slider guy who’s been 89-91, but as he continues to get stronger and more confident, Gilmore thinks he can get back to being a 90-93 power sinkerballer.

    Another pitcher working his way back from Tommy John surgery, high-profile righty Jacob Maton, could provide a midseason boost if his recovery continues to progress well, and Gilmore said he’s about two months ahead of schedule. He was 93-94 with a very good slider in high school, so he could be a major weapon for Coastal if he can return to action by the middle of March, as the Chants hope.

    There are several wild cards on this staff, and freshman righty Will Smith is another. Gilmore said he was 93-95 out of high school but “couldn’t hit the bull,” so Coastal has been getting him to dial it back a bit and concentrate on learning to throw quality strikes. He did a solid job of that against UNCW, pounding the zone at 88-90 and flashing a very promising 11-to-5 curveball at 77-78. Smith also has riding life up in the zone on his four-seamer, which reminds Gilmore of former Chants Nick McCully and Alex Cunningham.

    Sophomore righties Nick Parker and Kiernan Higgins could also give this staff some depth if they continue to refine their command. Parker was very efficient in his outing against the Seahawks, carving up the zone at 85-87 with good movement along with a solid big-breaking curveball at 71-74, a changeup at 79-80 with good arm speed, and what appeared to be a cutter at 82. Higgins gave up four runs in his inning of work, but he has some upside in his 6-foot-3, 200-pound frame. He sat 87-89 with a 79-80 slider that has some promise but needs more consistency.

    So there are some question marks on this staff, but it has a chance to be pretty good if things break the right way.

    “If McCambley can take another step forward and add a pitch, if McDaniels can continue to evolve, and Kobos, get some guys back, and that back end that is starting to become a back end actually becomes one, we’ll have some pieces we didn’t have a year ago,” Gilmore said. “It at least makes us competitive.”

    Of course, the Chanticleers are always competitive. Whether they’ll be competitive enough to make a deep postseason run will depend on how the less proven players on this roster develop as the spring progresses.
    sc_chant likes this.
  21. NineteenNine

    NineteenNine Divers are, in fact, wankers. It's science.
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    1 > 0
    FadeMe likes this.
  22. JGator1

    JGator1 I'm the Michael Jordan of the industry
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    Florida at 4 seems high but we return pretty much everyone
  23. NineteenNine

    NineteenNine Divers are, in fact, wankers. It's science.
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    That did seem a little crazy for a team that finished unranked last year.
  24. Taques

    Taques sometimes maybe good sometimes maybe shit
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    Taques top bertwing bottom just as god intenddd
  25. bertwing

    bertwing check out the nametag grandma
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    You look much better riding from the top!
    Taques likes this.
  26. infected donkey

    infected donkey Arkansas Razorbacks
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    They don’t call it the Taques piledriver for nothing!
  27. TC

    TC Peter, 53, from Toxteth
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    Thread’s ghey
    Cornelius Suttree likes this.
  28. Futureman

    Futureman Check you later kemosabe
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    This team has fringe host talent but I’d bet a strong 2 seed. Faltering down the stretch would be missing the tournament. So sure, I guess.
  29. bertwing

    bertwing check out the nametag grandma
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    Booger eater gonna be your Friday night guy?
  30. Futureman

    Futureman Check you later kemosabe
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    Yeah, he’s gonna be awesome. Boogers is fuel yo.
    bertwing likes this.
  31. devine

    devine hi, i am user devine
    West Virginia MountaineersChicago BullsPhoenix SunsPittsburgh PenguinsManchester CityPittsburgh PiratesSan Diego PadresBarAndGrillCoors Light

    Overrated just like last year
  32. NineteenNine

    NineteenNine Divers are, in fact, wankers. It's science.
    ArsenalTiger WoodsSneakersDallas Mavericks altTexas Tech Red Raiders alt

  33. Zebbie

    Zebbie Hey Mike, guess what I have in my underwear?
    Texas Tech Red RaidersTexas RangersChicago CubsDallas StarsTexas Tech Red Raiders alt

    actually win a regional (that you’re hosting, no less) & then you can talk shit :laugh:
    blind dog likes this.
  34. devine

    devine hi, i am user devine
    West Virginia MountaineersChicago BullsPhoenix SunsPittsburgh PenguinsManchester CityPittsburgh PiratesSan Diego PadresBarAndGrillCoors Light

    If only we had gotten to host tech after the ass kickings we put on them last year!
    killerwvu likes this.
  35. NineteenNine

    NineteenNine Divers are, in fact, wankers. It's science.
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    If only!
    devine likes this.
  36. FadeMe

    FadeMe Well-Known Member
    Auburn TigersAtlanta BravesAtlanta United

    D1 is posting a bunch of season previews of the top 25.

    #1 #Louisville Cardinals

    Top 25 Breakdown: No. 1 Louisville
    SEASON PREVIEW Aaron Fitt - January 13, 2020

    2019 Record: 51-18. RPI: 9.
    Coach (Record at school): Dan McDonnell (605-240 in 13 seasons).
    Ballpark: Patterson Stadium (4,000).
    Postseason History: 13 regionals (active streak: 8), 5 CWS trips (active streak: 1).
    More: Fall Report on Louisville
    Schedule, Stats, Team News: Follow the Cardinals all season long at our Louisville Team Page.

    Louisville's Projected Lineup

    Pos. Name, Yr. AVG/OBP/SLG HR RBI SB
    C Henry Davis, So. .324/.422/.440 3 23 0
    1B Dalton Rushing, Fr. HS — Brighton, Tenn.
    2B Lucas Dunn, Jr. .309/.399/.398 1 25 15
    3B Alex Binelas, So. .291/.383/.612 14 59 3
    SS Justin Lavey, Sr. .286/.361/.366 3 33 20
    LF Zach Britton, Jr. .288/.368/.470 5 28 2
    CF Luke Brown, Jr. Tr. — John A. Logan (Ill.) CC
    RF Levi Usher, So. Tr. — Kirkwood (Iowa) CC
    DH Danny Oriente, Sr. .332/.404/.435 1 49 0
    Pos. Name, Yr. W-L ERA IP SO BB SV
    SP #1 Reid Detmers, Jr. 13-4 2.78 113.1 167 33 0
    SP #2 Bobby Miller, Jr. 7-1 3.83 80 86 38 2
    SP #3 Luke Smith, Sr. 6-1 4.24 68 53 24 0
    Closer Michael Kirian, Jr. 3-1 1.69 43.1 42 9 5

    Grading The Cardinals
    Just as scouts grade prospects using the 20-80 scouting scale, we use a 20-80 scale to evaluate teams in our top 25. A score of 50 in each category is average, relative to a typical NCAA tournament team; 55 is slightly above-average; 60 is above-average (plus); 70 is well above-average (plus-plus); 80 is top of the scale, historically strong. Accordingly, 45 is fringe-average or slightly below-average; 40 is below-average; 30 is well below-average; and 20 is the extreme in that direction.

    Hitting: 60
    The Cardinals lost mainstays Tyler Fitzgerald, Logan Wyatt, Drew Campbell and Jake Snider, but they still return six players who logged at least 130 at-bats and hit at least .280 last year, giving them a chance to come close to last year’s above-average offensive production (7.4 runs per game, 18th-best in the nation). Oriente is a seasoned veteran with a flat righthanded stroke who led the team in hitting a year ago and is expected to serve as a doubles-and-RBIs machine in the cleanup spot. He’ll likely be flanked by No. 3 hitter Binelas (an emerging superstar whose average and OBP figure to spike as a sophomore) and 5-hole hitter Britton (who has serious lefthanded bat speed and feel for his barrel, making him a big-time breakout candidate, especially now that he’s playing left field and doesn’t have to worry about his defense behind the plate).

    The compact Dunn figures to serve as the engine that makes this offense go; he’s a high-energy grinder who works counts and makes consistent line-drive contact. He could lead off or hit in the 2-hole behind Brown, a lefthanded slasher in the Brett Gardner mold. Fellow juco transfer Usher has more whip in his lefty stroke and could be an impact hitter in the bottom half of the lineup. The Cardinals figure to have a lineup jammed full of tough outs, and there’s no shortage of competition for jobs. Ben Bianco impressed the coaches with the way he grinded out at-bats all fall, making him a candidate for playing time at first base or DH, where the Cards also could get meaningful contributions from Rushing and Benefield. Oriente could easily wind up at a corner outfield spot, opening up DH for Benefield/Rushing/Bianco or Cameron Masterman, a 6-foot-4 righthanded hitter who was a hard contact machine this fall. Masterman will also compete for regular action at an outfield corner.

    Power: 55
    Louisville ranked just 134th in the nation in home runs per game last year but was better in slugging percentage, ranking 64th. This year’s offense figures to have a similar look, built around wearing out the gaps, putting the ball in play and applying pressure in a variety of ways. But there’s also one elite power threat anchoring the lineup in Binelas, who can drive the ball out to any part of the ballpark. Rushing should also deliver impact power as a freshman; he has easy lefthanded juice in his thick 5-foot-11, 235-pound physique, and he led the team in homers in the fall. Look for Davis and Britton to increase their power production significantly as juniors who are slated to be full-time players for the first time. Masterman and Benefield also offer real pop from the right side, making them intriguing X-factors if they can make enough consistent contact to earn regular playing time.

    Speed: 60
    Louisville coach Dan McDonnell takes extraordinary pride in coaching baserunning, and his teams are always aggressive and intelligent on the basepaths. Last year’s club ranked second in the ACC and 37th nationally in steals per game, and Louisville returns two speedsters who stole bases at a very efficient clip: Lavey was 20-for-23 and Dunn was 15-for-17. Brown is a blazing runner who swiped more than 60 bags in juco ball last year, and Usher is another good runner who should be a threat on the basepaths. Those are the only burners, but most of the Cards are at least serviceable runners.

    Defense: 55
    Louisville was a very sound defensive club a year ago, ranking 24th in the nation and second in the ACC with a .978 fielding percentage. But Fitzgerald, Wyatt and Campbell were all elite defenders who must now be replaced. Lavey has already proven himself as a standout defender at third base and second base (where he made just one error all of last season), but now he’ll be counted upon to replace Fitzgerald at short, where his foot speed and hands are real assets and his arm plays. McDonnell wants Rushing to replace Wyatt at first, but he’s still learning the position and has some work to do. Brown’s speed should give him premium range in center, and Usher brings additional athleticism to the outfield mix, though other potential corner outfielders Oriente, Britton and Masterman aren’t standouts (the latter two are still new to the position). Dunn is probably the team’s best defensive outfielder, but he fits best at second base on this club, and he should form a sound double play tandem with Lavey. Binelas figures to be a rock at third base, and the Cards have two very good options behind the plate in the rifle-armed Davis and the scrap-dog Ben Metzinger. There are some pieces of this defense that need to prove themselves, but it’s safe to assume the Cards will be at least above-average defensively, and maybe much better than that if everything comes together.

    Starting Pitching: 70
    On paper, Louisville’s weekend rotation looks like the best in the country. Detmers is a returning first-team All-American and the reigning ACC Pitcher of the Year, and he only got better in the offseason, running his fastball up to 94 mph this fall with a filthy knee-buckling mid-70s curve with plus spin rate up to 2800 rpm and an improved 80-81 mph changeup that has become another out pitch for him. Miller started his career in the bullpen but made 12 starts out of his 20 appearances as a sophomore, and he looks ready for a big star turn as a junior. His stuff was more electric than ever this fall, with a fastball that flirts with triple digits and a newly developed 88-92 cutter to complement his low-80s curveball and solid changeup. It’s top-half-of-the-first-round stuff; he just needs to repeat his delivery a bit more consistently and take one more step with his command, but he made good progress in that regard last spring.

    Smith had an uneven regular season working mostly as a midweek starter as a juco transfer last year, but he exploded onto the prospect scene in the postseason. He showed overpowering stuff over eight innings of one-run, three-hit ball against eventual national champion Vanderbilt in the CWS bracket final, before the Commodores rallied to win in the ninth. The lanky righty has very good feel for a quality four-pitch mix, highlighted by a putaway changeup and a firm fastball that sits comfortably in the low 90s.

    The midweek starter role remains up in the air, but the favorite could be sophomore Carter Lohman, who can work in the low 90s from the left side and flashes a devastating curveball. He logged just 9.2 innings a year ago and must continue refining his control. Two other lefties who could vie for midweek starts are sophomore Garrett Schmeltz and high-profile freshman Michael Prosecky. Schmeltz showed the makings of a nice three-pitch arsenal this fall, with an 86-89 fastball that bumped 90 from a three-quarters slot, a solid 73-78 breaking ball with a spin rate around 2400, and an 80-82 changeup that got a few swing-and-misses. Prosecky showed the ability to locate with an 89-90 fastball, a very good low-80s changeup and an improving 76-78 breaking ball.

    Bullpen: 60
    The Cards need some righthanded pitching to emerge in the bullpen, but they look blessed with a strong supply of quality southpaws. Kirian figures to be one of the best closers in the country, a big-bodied lefty who hides the ball well and attacks hitters with mid-90s heat and a wipeout slider at his best. Senior Adam Elliott (2.48 ERA in 32.2 IP) was up to 92 this fall with a good breaking ball and should be a quality senior sign in the draft. Two of the Lohman/Schmeltz/Prosecky trio of lefties should also bolster the bullpen. And talented freshman Kellan Tulio gives Louisville yet another high-upside option from the left side, with a durable 6-foot-3, 200-pound pitcher’s frame and a strong arm that has produced 93 mph heat in the past, along with a big sweeping three-quarters curveball at 71-73 with tight spin around 2400 rpm.

    The Cards are counting on sophomore two-way talent Jared Poland to take a big leap forward and serve as a shutdown power righty in the late innings. He was up to 94 mph in the fall with a good breaking ball and a dramatically improved changeup. Louisville will miss fireballer Jack Perkins (who will miss the season after having Tommy John surgery), but fellow sophomore righty Kerry Wright is an X-factor. Perhaps the highest-profile member of the highest-ranked recruiting class in Louisville history last year, Wright looked great out of the chute last spring, coming at hitters with 95 mph heat. He struggled with his command as the season progressed, and his velocity was down in the Cape League as he concentrated on improving his control. If he comes back strong the elbow soreness that plagued him in the fall and turns the corner with his pitchability, he could certainly carve out a key role on this staff in 2020. Also keep an eye on freshman Ryan Hawks, a thick-bodied strike-thrower with a short three-quarters arm action who reminds McDonnell a bit of former UL ace Kyle Funkhouser. He’s a USA Baseball 18U national team alumnus, and he’s fearless, attacking the bottom of the zone with a fastball that has been up to 90-91 this fall as well as a slider and changeup.

    Experience/Intangibles: 65
    Louisville brings back and abundance of experience from a club that reached the national semifinals last spring, with six projected regulars who logged at least 130 at-bats, three seasoned weekend starters, and two established upperclassmen anchoring the bullpen. The Cards showed plenty of toughness and character during last year’s Omaha run, and the superb coaching staff has a long track record of getting the most out of UofL players every year. Louisville competes extremely hard year after year, and it will surely do so again in 2020. Louisville has been one of college baseball’s truly elite programs for a solid decade; all that’s left is to win its first national title.
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  37. FadeMe

    FadeMe Well-Known Member
    Auburn TigersAtlanta BravesAtlanta United

    #2 #Vanderbilt Commodores

    Top 25 Breakdown: No. 2 Vanderbilt
    FEATURED Kendall Rogers - January 13, 2020

    2019 Record: 59-12 (23-7 SEC)
    RPI: 1.
    Coach (Record at school): Tim Corbin (740–354–1 in 17 seasons)
    Ballpark: Hawkins Field (3,700).
    Postseason History: 18 regionals (active streak: 14), 4 CWS trips (last in 2019), 2 National Titles (2019).
    More: Fall Report on Vanderbilt
    Schedule, Stats, Team News: Follow the Commodores all season long at our Vanderbilt Team Page.

    Vandy's Projected Lineup

    Pos. Name, Yr. AVG/OBP/SLG HR RBI SB
    C Ty Duvall, Sr. .275/.418/.413 5 42 0
    1B Dominic Keegan, So. .227/.320/.273 0 1 0
    2B Harry Ray, Sr. .276/.358/.397 2 38 21
    3B Austin Martin, Jr. .392/.486/.604 10 46 18
    SS Carter Young, Fr. Fr. -- Selah, Wash (HS)
    LF Cooper Davis, Jr. .331/.441/.421 0 19 6
    CF Isaiah Thomas, So. .368/.405/.684 3 10 1
    RF Matt Hogan, So. .000/.200/.000 0 0 0
    DH Tate Kolwyck, So. .667/.750/1.333 0 1 0
    Pos. Name, Yr. W-L ERA IP SO BB SV
    SP #1 Mason Hickman, Jr. 9-0 2.05 96.2 129 28 3
    SP #2 Kumar Rocker, So. 12-5 3.25 99.2 114 21 0
    SP #3 Jake Eder, Jr. 2-0 2.98 39.1 41 16 4
    Closer Tyler Brown, Jr. 3-1 2.19 49.1 65 9 17
    Grading The Commodores
    Just as scouts grade prospects using the 20-80 scouting scale, we use a 20-80 scale to evaluate teams in our top 25. A score of 50 in each category is average, relative to a typical NCAA tournament team; 55 is slightly above-average; 60 is above-average (plus); 70 is well above-average (plus-plus); 80 is top of the scale, historically strong. Accordingly, 45 is fringe-average or slightly below-average; 40 is below-average; 30 is well below-average; and 20 is the extreme in that direction.

    Hitting: 55
    Vandy will be without five of its top six hitters from last year’s national title team, but this is a lineup that should get better as the season progresses.

    Austin Martin is the ringleader of the offense. Martin blossomed as a premier player and prospect for the Commodores last season and is back for more. Meanwhile, speedy Harry Ray hit .276 last season and is ready to establish more consistency this spring. Ty Duvall has impressive power potential and should be a more consistent force at the plate, while Isaiah Thomas and Cooper Davis are athletic players expected to have strong campaigns.

    Freshmen Will Duff, Parker Noland and Spencer Jones also have a chance to factor heavily into Vandy’s offensive plans. Duff is a speedster with good on-base skills, Noland has good strength in his 6-foot-1, 195-pound, frame, and showed good barrel skills during fall workouts and Jones is a lefthanded hitter with impressive upside.

    Matt Hogan, Dominic Keegan and Justyn-Henry Malloy are some other sluggers to watch. Mallow has good raw power and could be an impact bat, Keegan has some exciting raw power and Hogan has shown the ability to spray the ball around the diamond over the past couple of months.

    Power: 55
    Chances are good the Commodores will find power production from different avenues this spring, but there’s no doubt it’s a question mark as Opening Day looms in the distance.

    Vandy had one of the nation’s most feared lineups from a power standpoint last season. Several players, including JJ Bleday, had big-time power, and the ‘Dores enter the 2020 campaign without a staggering number of home runs from last year’s team – 78. In addition to Bleday, who had 27 bombs last year, Stephen Scott and Julian Infante each had double digit home runs, and several others had five of more.

    The good news? Vandy at least enters the season with some power production.

    Austin Martin blossomed as a premier power hitter last season and is back for more, while Duvall certainly has some big-time power potential in his frame. One guy the Commodores will miss from a power standpoint is Jayson Gonzalez. Gonzalez showed impressive power during fall workouts but will miss the spring after taking a leave of absence.

    Justyn-Henry Malloy is another guy with impressive power potential if he can show consistency and work his way into the everyday lineup, while newcomers Matt Hogan, Dominic Keegan and Spencer Jones are worth watching, too. Hogan and Keegan showed power potential in the fall, while Jones was impressive in stints as he worked his way back from a broken arm.

    We get the feeling Vandy will find power production. From whom? We’ll see.

    Speed: 60
    What the Commodores don’t have in terms of sheer big-time power throughout the lineup they will make up with athleticism and speed. This will be a supremely athletic and speedy lineup.

    Martin and Ray are the two top returning speedsters. Both had double digit stolen bases last season, with Ray surprising some by going 21-for-24 in stolen bases. The speed doesn’t stop there for Tim Corbin’s club.

    Cooper Davis was an electric hitter atop the lineup early last season and is back for more this spring. He can make things happen with his legs. Thomas is another athletic and fast runner, Hogan has above-average speed.

    With five-to-six guys who can make things happen with their feet, the Commodores should be rather versatile offensively throughout the 2020 campaign.

    Defense: 60
    We mentioned the number of new faces the Commodores have in the field. And though there’s some turnover there, the defense is still in good shape.

    It will be interesting to see what the ‘Dores do with Martin when the season begins. Right now, Corbin has Martin slated to start at third just like last season. However, his position at the next level could be center field, and there’s also a chance he starts up the middle. At any rate, Martin will flourish at whatever position he plays this spring.

    Harry Ray has improved his footwork up the middle and will solidify second base, while if Martin doesn’t play shortstop, look for freshman Carter Young to play shortstop. Young still has some work to do at the plate but is an advanced defender and can absolutely be an asset in that regard. Behind the plate, the Commodores get a good one back in veteran Duvall. Duvall had a chance to play professional baseball this past summer but chose to return to the Music City for another season. Duvall is a stable defender who gives the ‘Dores a veteran presence at a need position.

    The outfield is expected to be strong. We mentioned the possibility of Martin being out there. But even if it’s not him, it’s athlete central for the Commodores. Cooper Davis and Isaiah Thomas both have impressive speed and athleticism, while Matt Hogan is a good athlete with above-average speed.

    Starting Pitching: 70
    The Commodores have a chance to be as good as it gets on the mound in college baseball. They have one of the nation’s most popular arms in sophomore righthander Kumar Rocker. Rocker earned legend status last season by throwing a no-hitter against Duke in Super Regional action before pitching brilliantly in Omaha.

    Rocker put together yet another solid fall, showing a fastball 89-93 and up to 94 mph during the fall, along with his trademark low-80s slider. Rocker made a point to emphasize the 85-87 mph changeup during fall workouts, and that pitch also continues to evolve.

    Fellow righthander Mason Hickman also will be in the weekend rotation. Hickman quietly put together terrific numbers last season and is ready to take yet another step forward this season. Hickman will attack hitters with a fastball ranging 88-91 and up to 92 mph, along with a quality curveball at 76-77 mph.

    Finally, look for veteran lefthander Jake Eder to round out the rotation. Eder went 2-0 with a 2.97 ERA last season, and we’re intrigued to see how he performs in the rotation after making 19 appearances last season – all out of the bullpen. Eder has shown a fastball up to 94-95 mph in the past, though, during the fall, he was more 88-91 mph with the offering as he was emphasizing his command. Eder also will attack hitters with a sharp curveball at 73-76 mph, but the big key moving forward will be his ability to command the power stuff.

    Should anyone stumble, look for highly touted freshman righthander Jack Leiter to enter the weekend rotation. Leiter was the highest-ranked prep prospect to arrive on campus this past fall, and he certainly lived up to that billing. Leiter has huge upside, sitting 94-97 and up to 98 with his fastball, while also sitting 89-93 mph with the offering after a few innings. He has a devastating curveball at 76-78 mph, along with a quality changeup at 82 mph. As you might suspect, Leiter is mature for his age and is ready to be an immediate contributor.

    Bullpen: 65
    There’s certainly a chance that All-American righthander Tyler Brown could end up in the weekend rotation at some point, but it’s increasing likely that he’ll begin the season in his usual spot – at the backend of the bullpen.

    Brown is college baseball’s premier reliever, along with UCLA’s Holden Powell. He tallied 17 saves and had a 65-9 K-BB mark last season. This past fall, he showed a fastball around 90 mph, along with a filthy plus slider at 83-86 mph. Brown also continues to make strides with a low-to-mid 80s changeup.

    In a bit of bad news, Vandy will be without hard-throwing lefthander Hugh Fisher after he had Tommy John surgery this past fall. The good news? Vandy has plenty of other ultra-talented options.

    Like Brown, Ethan Smith is another righthander to watch. Smith could easily move into that closer role should the Commodores have a change of heart and move Smith to the weekend rotation. Smith has a huge arm, sitting mid-90s and up to 96 mph with his fastball, along with a nasty power slider at 84-87 mph.

    Other returning arms to watch include Chance Huff, Luke Murphy and Erik Kaiser. Huff will sit 90-91 mph with his fastball, along with solid command of an 81-83 mph slider, Murphy is a 6-foot-5, 175-pounder, who sits 88-91 mph with his fastball, along with a slurve and true slider and Kaiser sits 88-90 mph with his fastball, along with a slurve.

    Some young arms in the mix out of the pen include Michael Doolin, Nick Maldonado, Thomas Schultz and Sam Hilboki. Doolin sits 88-90 mph with his fastball along with a 74-76 mph curveball with 11-to-5 depth. He reminded our Aaron Fitt of Mason Hickman during fall workouts. Maldonado is a righthander with clean arm action and a fastball 87-88 mph along with a quality curveball at 73-75 mph, while Schultz sits 87-89 mph with his fastball, and also possesses a promising changeup and a slow curve. Finally, keep an eye on Hilboki, who has a lot of projection with his lanky frame and sits 86-87 mph with his fastball, along with a slurve at 77-78 and a changeup that needs to improve.

    Experience/Intangibles: 60
    There’s no doubt the Commodores have several new faces from an offensive standpoint. But there’s still some experience there, too, with the return of Martin, Ray and Duvall, among others. And others such as Cooper Davis and Isaiah Thomas earned a decent amount of playing time during the national title run last season too.

    The ‘Dores have a wealth of experience on the mound as the season approaches. We don’t need to tell you how cold-blooded and hard-nosed Kumar Rocker is. Mason Hickman is an established, high-level starting pitcher, and Jake Eder is an experienced arm that oozes with premium potential. Vandy also has plenty of experienced and high-quality pieces at the backend of the bullpen, too, with righthander Tyler Brown and others leading the charge.

    Vandy will have the leadership and experience needed – especially on the mound – to make yet another strong run at a national title. There’s also the Tim Corbin factor. He and his staff always have their team ready to roll.
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  38. FadeMe

    FadeMe Well-Known Member
    Auburn TigersAtlanta BravesAtlanta United

    #3 #Miami Hurricanes

    Top 25 Breakdown: No. 3 Miami
    FEATURED Kendall Rogers - January 13, 2020

    2019 Record: 41-20.
    RPI: 17.
    Coach (Record at school): Gino DiMare (41-20 in one season)
    Ballpark: Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field (5,000).
    Postseason History: 46 regionals (active streak: 2), 25 CWS trips (last in 2016), 4 National Titles (2001).
    More: Fall Report on Miami
    Schedule, Stats, Team News: Follow the Hurricanes all season long at our Miami Team Page.

    Miami's Projected Lineup

    Pos. Name, Yr. AVG/OBP/SLG HR RBI SB
    C Adrian Del Castillo, So. .331/.418/.576 12 72 3
    1B Alex Toral, Jr. .293/.400/.656 24 67 1
    2B Anthony Vilar, So. .291/.416/.414 5 39 0
    3B Ryamond Gil, Jr. .318/.396/.565 13 44 1
    SS Freddy Zamora, Jr. .296/.393/.447 6 46 13
    LF Jordan Lala, So. .276/.446/.386 4 18 28
    CF Tony Jenkins, Jr. .268/.392/.330 0 12 9
    RF Gabe Rivera, Jr. .290/.374/.590 7 31 6
    DH JP Gates, So. .340/.371/.510 4 31 0
    Pos. Name, Yr. W-L ERA IP SO BB SV
    SP #1 Brian Van Belle, R-Sr. 10-2 3.30 95.1 84 24 0
    SP #2 Chris McMahon, Jr. 3-2 3.73 60.1 67 23 0
    SP #3 Slade Cecconi, So. 5-4 4.16 80 89 18 0
    Closer Daniel Federman, Jr. 3-5 3.51 48.2 60 19 7

    Grading The Hurricanes
    Just as scouts grade prospects using the 20-80 scouting scale, we use a 20-80 scale to evaluate teams in our top 25. A score of 50 in each category is average, relative to a typical NCAA tournament team; 55 is slightly above-average; 60 is above-average (plus); 70 is well above-average (plus-plus); 80 is top of the scale, historically strong. Accordingly, 45 is fringe-average or slightly below-average; 40 is below-average; 30 is well below-average; and 20 is the extreme in that direction.

    Hitting: 65
    One of the big keys for any college baseball team is having production and experience throughout the offensive lineup. And it’s safe to say Miami has all the above. The Hurricanes put together an impressive offensive showing last season, and every key cog outside of one player is back for more this spring.

    The Hurricanes will have a nice balance of athleticism and power with leadoff hitter Jordan Lala having strong contact skills and speed, while Tony Jenkins is another athletic guy who can make things happen with hard contact, or by simply drag bunting. Anthony Vilar (.291/5/39) grinds out at bats, while from a power standpoint the Hurricanes have a host of interesting players, including hard-nosed Adrian Del Castillo, imposing first baseman Alex Toral, shortstop Freddy Zamora and designated hitter JP Gates, who’s expected to take yet another step forward from a power standpoint this season. Miami also welcomes back Raymond Gil, who had a strong 2019 campaign, hitting .318 with 13 home runs and 44 RBIs.

    There are no concerns about this team from an offensive standpoint. Assuming guys like Lala and Jenkins take steps forward and others emulate last season’s success, the Hurricanes should have yet another fruitful campaign with the bats.

    Power: 70
    The Hurricanes won’t be lacking from a power standpoint in 2020. Miami had one of the nation’s more powerful lineups last season, too, finishing the year ranked 11th nationally in homers per game with 1.39 per contest.

    Many of those same sluggers are back in the mix this spring. For example, leading home run hitter Alex Toral is back after hitting 24 home runs and knocking in 67 runs last season, while Del Castillo returns after hitting 12 home runs and knocking in 72 runs. Gil finished last season with double digit home runs, while Rivera, Zamora, Lala, Gates and Vilar have power, too. Gates in particular is a guy to watch this spring. He finished last season with just four home runs, but it seems like the Miami staff expects him to hit with more thump over the next few months.

    Outside of Arizona State, perhaps no team in college baseball will be as potentially scary from a power standpoint as the Hurricanes.

    Speed: 60
    The Hurricanes have balance throughout their lineup, and also have plenty of speed and athleticism to utilize.

    Lala is the most dynamic player to watch from a speed standpoint. He finished last season with 28 stolen bases, while Zamora is another base-stealing threat – finishing last season with 13 stolen bases.

    The ‘Canes have other options in this area, too. Rivera has some athleticism; Jenkins has good speed and should improve on last season’s nine stolen bases and Del Castillo has some athleticism to go with his strong frame.

    Defense: 55
    If there’s one area where the Hurricanes need vast improvement to reach their goals this season, it’s from a defensive standpoint.

    Miami left something to be desired defensively at times last season. UM finished the year ranked in the 240s nationally in fielding percentage. On the left side of the infield, Gil and Zamora each hit fielding percentages under .900 last season. But Zamora is a talented defender and certainly is expected to improve on that mark this spring. Vilar is a consistent defender up the middle, while behind the plate, Del Castillo continues to make strides and is primed to have a solid season behind the plate.

    The Hurricanes have a talented and athletic outfield. Jenkins and Lala are both guys with athleticism and speed and Rivera is no slouch, either.

    Miami will show marked improvement defensively this season.

    Starting Pitching: 65
    This is one unit with this team that should excite fans walking through the turnstiles at the Light. Miami’s rotation looks to be electric.

    Miami will begin its weekend rotation with an extremely experience arm in redshirt senior righthander Brian Van Belle. Van Belle improved as the season progressed last year and tallied a 10-2 record with a 3.30 ERA in 95.1 innings, along with 84 strikeouts and 24 walks. He has a fastball anywhere from 89-92 mph and up to 93, while the secondary stuff is quality as well. However, the changeup is his best pitch. Van Belle is a talented pitcher, but it’s his experience that also makes him such a valuable asset for this year’s Hurricanes club.

    Junior righthander Chris McMahon is definitely the one to watch in this rotation. McMahon showed flashes of brilliance last season, particularly early in the season on the road against Florida. However, he did have some ups and downs at times. McMahon has a big-time arm, ranging anywhere from 90-98 mph with his fastball, while also showing feel for a hard slider at 81-84. McMahon also showed good feel for the changeup during fall workouts. He’s a premier prospect and is expected to have a dominant season for the ‘Canes.

    Sophomore righthander Slade Cecconi will round out the weekend rotation. Cecconi is a strike thrower who did some good things last season, tallying 89 strikeouts and walking just 18 in 80 innings of work. Cecconi showed good command of the zone during the fall, sitting anywhere from the low-to-upper 90s with his fastball, while also showing a power curveball and feel for a changeup.

    In terms of the midweek starter, look for freshman Alex McFarlane to get the call more often than not. McFarlane will sit in the low-to-mid 90s with his fastball, while also showcasing a slurve at 80-83 mph. The changeup is a developing pitch for the talented freshman righty. Tyler Keysor is another starting option this spring. Keysor typically threw a fastball and splitter last season but has added more pitches to his arsenal in an effort to increase his starting chances.

    Bullpen: 55
    If Keysor doesn’t nail down the midweek starting job, look for him to anchor the backend of the bullpen with fellow veteran hurler Daniel Federman.

    Keysor has a lively arm, sitting 90-94 and up to 95 mph with his fastball, along with a quality slider that he developed in the offseason. He also will continue to attack hitters with a quality splitter. Federman is another experienced arm in this bullpen, and his bread and butter is a cutter that sits 86-89 and up to 90 mph. He’ll pitch 90-93 and up to 94 mph with a fastball and has a hard-nosed mentality that makes him perfect for that always-important closer role.

    The Hurricanes have plenty of other solid bullpen options, too. JP Gates is a two-way talent who will certainly factor into the equation on the mound, Alex Ruiz made noticeable strides during fall workouts, Albert Maury is back to form after elbow surgery following his freshman season and Carson Palmquist could see a sizable role in his first season – especially as a potential lefty specialist out of the pen.

    Experience/Intangibles: 60
    After a two-year hiatus from the NCAA tournament, Miami returned to normal last season with a trip to the postseason. The Hurricanes fell short of their ultimate goal, which was to reach the College World Series. But they did head to the Starkville Regional, where they lost to Mississippi State in the title game.

    With that experience under their belt, Miami enters the 2020 campaign a year older and wiser. They’ve got a lot of experience, from a balanced and potent offensive lineup to a weekend rotation with two experienced and proven commodities, along with a big-time younger arm in Cecconi. The backend of the bullpen is also experienced with Federman and Keysor leading the way.

    All the pieces are there for Miami to do big things in 2020. Now, it’s time to see if they can put all the puzzle pieces together in time to make another run at Omaha.
  39. FadeMe

    FadeMe Well-Known Member
    Auburn TigersAtlanta BravesAtlanta United

    #4 #Florida Gators

    Top 25 Breakdown: No. 4 Florida
    SEASON PREVIEW Aaron Fitt - January 13, 2020

    2019 Record: 34-26. RPI: 27.
    Coach (Record at school): Kevin O’Sullivan (531-255 in 12 seasons)
    Ballpark: McKethan Stadium (5,500)
    Postseason History: 35 regionals (active streak: 12), 12 CWS trips (last in 2018), 1 national title (2017).
    More: Fall Report on Florida
    Schedule, Stats, Team News: Follow the Gators all season long at our Florida Team Page.

    Florida's Projected Lineup

    Pos. Name, Yr. AVG/OBP/SLG HR RBI SB
    C Nathan Hickey, Fr. HS — Jacksonville, Fla.
    1B Kendrick Calilao, So. .276/.348/.401 5 49 2
    2B Cory Acton, So. .251/.353/.387 6 30 3
    3B Brady Smith, Jr. .270/.392/.428 5 20 5
    SS Josh Rivera, Fr. HS — Bradenton, Fla.
    LF Austin Langworthy, Sr. .283/.362/.498 10 43 4
    CF Jud Fabian, So. .232/.353/.411 7 26 7
    RF Jacob Young, So. .311/.383/.404 3 26 7
    DH Kirby McMullen, Sr. .273/.308/.500 1 10 0
    Pos. Name, Yr. W-L ERA IP SO BB SV
    SP #1 Tommy Mace, Jr. 8-5 5.32 89.2 74 38 0
    SP #2 Jack Leftwich, Jr. 6-5 5.31 62.2 62 18 0
    SP #3 Hunter Barco, Fr. HS — Jacksonville, Fla.
    Closer Christian Scott, So. 6-3 5.19 52 44 18 1

    Grading The Gators
    Just as scouts grade prospects using the 20-80 scouting scale, we use a 20-80 scale to evaluate teams in our top 25. A score of 50 in each category is average, relative to a typical NCAA tournament team; 55 is slightly above-average; 60 is above-average (plus); 70 is well above-average (plus-plus); 80 is top of the scale, historically strong. Accordingly, 45 is fringe-average or slightly below-average; 40 is below-average; 30 is well below-average; and 20 is the extreme in that direction.

    Hitting: 65
    Florida endured a down season in 2019 by its standards, but offense wasn’t really the problem — the Gators ranked a respectable 43rd in the nation in scoring. The top two hitters from that club are gone (Nelson Maldonado and Brady McConnell), but we are nonetheless convinced that Florida’s offense is set to take a huge leap forward this spring. Our looks at the Gators this fall revealed a deep, versatile lineup without any easy outs, and packed with emerging stars as well as rock-solid veterans.

    Young, the top returning hitter from last year’s club, has a polished all-field approach and advanced plate discipline that makes him an ideal fit in the leadoff spot. Langworthy, Hickey and Acton all have fluid lefthanded strokes that should enable all three to hit for both average and power. Langworthy has a knack for squaring up hard line drives from gap to gap, and he’ll help anchor the lineup in the No. 2 hole, in front of emerging star Fabian, who has made huge progress learning to drive the ball to all fields since last spring. Kevin O’Sullivan compares Hickey’s offensive game to that of a young Kyle Schwarber, and he’s expected to hit in the cleanup spot from the jump. Calilao and Rivera also showed all-fields ability in the fall, and both have the look of future All-Americans before their Florida careers are over. Hard-nosed senior McMullen lengthens this lineup even more; the Gators call him “Barrels” because of his propensity for making hard contact. Sophomore two-way talent Jordan Butler is another line-drive machine who could serve as the lefthanded half of a DH platoon with McMullen.

    Power: 70
    Florida’s coaches do an outstanding job recruiting and developing power hitters; last year’s club ranked 17th nationally in home runs and 25th in slugging, but don’t be surprised if the 2020 Gators rank inside the national top 10 in both categories, even after losing McConnell, Maldonado and Dalton, who combined for 33 of the team’s 77 homers. Langworthy is the only returning double-digit home run hitter, but we’ll be surprised if Fabian, Calilao and Smith don’t join him in the double-digit club, because they all have serious righthanded bat speed. Hickey and Rivera also have the strength and offensive polish to put up significant power numbers as freshmen; they are elite talents who should hit the ground running in this loaded offense. Acton hit six homers as a freshman and could easily double that production as a sophomore now that his offensive approach is maturing. And McMullen and fellow senior Nick Blasucci showed off intriguing righthanded pop this fall, giving the Gators legitimate home run threats up and down the lineup.

    Speed: 50
    The stolen base isn’t typically a huge component of Florida’s offense, and last year the Gators ranked 200th in the nation in steals per game. Fabian and Young are plus runners, though neither recorded double-digit steals a year ago. There aren’t any other burners in this lineup; most of the Gators are below-average to fringy runners, but there aren’t any real base-cloggers.

    Defense: 55
    Florida was an average defensive team a year ago, ranking 76th nationally with a .973 fielding percentage. They’re likely to use freshmen at the critical positions of catcher and shortstop, so it’s natural to expect some growing pains, but O’Sullivan was very pleased with the overall quality his defense this fall. Rivera’s hands, actions and arm will play at either position on the left side of the infield, but he has surprised with the coaches with his quickness at short considering his size. Florida also has the option to use the steady, strong-armed Blasucci at shortstop and slide Rivera to the hot corner if necessary. Smith brings valuable defensive versatility; he can defend ably at third base, catcher, or even second and first. Hickey is a very serviceable backstop who receives well, and he could also handle an infield corner spot. Junior Cal Greenfield might be Florida’s most polished defensive catcher (and he took a step forward offensively in the fall as well). Acton is a sound defensive second baseman who turns the double play well, and Calilao should be very good at first base.

    Fabian is an elite defensive center fielder with a lightning-quick first step and excellent closing speed, along with an accurate arm. The quick-twitch Young and the heady Langworthy are essentially center fielders playing the corners, making Florida’s outfield defense a major strength.

    Starting Pitching: 60
    Perhaps the biggest reason Florida’s 2019 season was so trying was the underperformance of the rotation, as the Gators ranked 187th nationally with a 5.37 ERA and 178th in hits allowed per nine innings. Florida simply must get more consistent performance out of junior righties Mace and Leftwich, who posted ERAs of 5.32 and 5.31, respectively, despite their premium talent. But there are plenty of indications that both of them have turned the corner and are ready to emerge as stars in 2020, giving this rotation sky-high upside — but there’s still some risk too, because Mace and Leftwich haven’t yet proven they can be elite SEC starters. O’Sullivan said both of them have progressed very well this fall, showing more maturity, more strength, better fastballs and better breaking balls. Mace attacked at 91-94 in our two fall looks, with a good 79-81 slider and a wicked 87-88 cutter. Leftwich sat 93-95 and flashed a filthy putaway slider at 81-84, which he commanded better in Florida’s second fall exhibition than in its first one.

    Barco is one of the highest-ranked freshmen to set foot on a college campus this fall, and he looks ready to step right into the weekend rotation from the onset of his career. In the fall, Barco showed the makings of three above-average to plus pitches from the left side and good polish and competitiveness. He pounded 93-94 mph heat this fall along with an outstanding changeup at 82-83 that was a swing-and-miss pitch against both righties and lefties, as well as an 82-84 mph slider with good tilt that he threw for a strike or a chase to the back foot of a righty. O’Sullivan said he’s shown even more velocity this fall, bumping 95 at times. Midweek starts still look up for grabs, but the favorite for the Tuesday role appears to be sophomore righty Nick Pogue, who works downhill at 90-94 with good bite on a 79-84 mph breaking ball.

    Bullpen: 70
    Unlike some of the other teams near the top of the rankings, Florida doesn’t have an established shutdown closer — its top saves man a year ago, Nolan Crisp, had a 6.41 ERA. But no staff in college baseball can match Florida’s depth of power arms, and there’s no shortage of candidates for the back end of the bullpen, which might be a committee affair, especially at the start of the season. Scott, an electric sophomore righthander, looks like the front-runner for the closer job after showing 93-96 mph heat and a putaway slider this fall. Fellow sophomore righty Ben Specht has been up to 95, sitting 92-93, with a quality slider and changeup. He’s a strike-thrower, but the next step in his development is commanding within the zone better, staying out of the middle of the plate. Another sophomore righty, David Luethje, was up to 94 this fall along with a Luethje’s solid 80-83 slider with big tilt. Crisp, an undersized bulldog with a quick arm, can miss bats with his high-70s slider and 89-92 fastball, and he also has feel for a changeup, making him a valuable swingman who can earn midweek starts or serve in long relief. The biggest arm in the bullpen belongs to freshman righthander Brandon Sproat, an unsigned seventh-round pick by the Rangers. A physical righty with a strong lower half and an easy delivery from a high slot, Sproat worked 94-97 and bumped 98 this fall, while also showing the makings of a wipeout power slider at 85-86 and a useful curveball at 78-81. O’Sullivan said he has feel for a changeup too, and he suggested Sproat might have the highest upside of any pitcher he’s ever coached, but the Gators have the luxury of being able to bring him along slowly if necessary.

    Senior righty Justin Alintoff could also be a useful piece; he worked at 88-90 in the fall with a short cutter/slider at 82-84, a decent three-quarters slurve at 77 and a changeup at 78. And three more freshmen provide even more depth. Righty Tyler Nesbitt has a projectable frame and a clean high three-quarters arm action, suggesting there’s plenty more velocity in the tank, though he sat in the high 80s in our fall look. He also flashed a promising slider at 80-81. Righty Kevin Martin has a thicker frame and showed a 91 mph heater in the fall along with an 80 mph slider. And 5-11, 155-pound lefty Ryan Cabarcas showed a quick arm that produced 89-91 heat, a solid 79-81 slider with late tilt, and a developing changeup at 81.

    The Gators also have two established strike-throwing lefties in the bullpen: junior two-way talent Jordan Butler and graduate transfer Trey Van Der Wiede. Butler worked at 88-91 from a three-quarters slot in his two appearances in the fall exhibitions, along with a quality changeup and slider. Van Der Wiede, who threw 71 innings last year for USC Upstate, presents a funky crossfire look and the ability to carve up the zone at 88-91 along with a good changeup and an unflappable mound presence.

    Experience/Intangibles: 55
    The biggest knock on Florida is a lack of players who have proven themselves as reliable impact players at the Division I level. Sure, the upperclassmen on this team have experienced deep postseason runs, as Florida made it to Omaha in 2018 and won it all in 2017, when Langworthy was a freshman everyday regular. But this team is leaning heavily on high-profile freshmen and sophomores who have yet to establish themselves as stars — though it feels like just a matter of time until that happens. We believe that time is now for many of them. This team is too talented not to return to national prominence in 2020.
  40. FadeMe

    FadeMe Well-Known Member
    Auburn TigersAtlanta BravesAtlanta United

    #5 #Georgia Bulldogs

    Top 25 Breakdown: No. 5 Georgia
    SEASON PREVIEW Aaron Fitt - January 13, 2020

    2019 Record: 46-17. RPI: 3.
    Coach (Record at school): Scott Stricklin (189-157-1, 6 seasons).
    Ballpark: Foley Field (3,291).
    Postseason History: 12 regionals (active streak: 2), 6 CWS trips (last in 2008), 1 national title (1990).
    More: Fall Report on Georgia
    Schedule, Stats, Team News: Follow the Bulldogs all season long at our Georgia Team Page.

    Georgia's Projected Lineup
    Pos. Name, Yr. AVG/OBP/SLG HR RBI SB
    C Mason Meadows, Jr. .190/.322/.295 3 15 1
    1B Patrick Sullivan, Sr. .263/.350/.360 3 24 0
    2B Riley King, Jr. .295/.403/.440 8 43 5
    3B Garrett Blaylock, Jr. Tr. — St. John's River (Fla.) JC
    SS Cam Shepherd, Sr. .231/.333/.386 8 33 7
    LF Tucker Bradley, Jr. Redshirted (3 games)
    CF Randon Jernigan, So. .248/.338/.301 1 12 11
    RF Connor Tate, So. .270/.304/.459 3 19 0
    DH Chaney Rogers, Jr. .256/.379/.338 1 13 0
    Pos. Name, Yr. W-L ERA IP SO BB SV
    SP #1 Emerson Hancock, Jr. 8-3 1.99 90.1 97 18 0
    SP #2 Cole Wilcox, So. 3-2 4.07 59.2 64 38 0
    SP #3 C.J. Smith, Jr. 3-3 4.30 46 38 20 0
    Closer Ryan Webb, Jr. 1-0 3.75 24 27 11 1

    Grading The Bulldogs
    Just as scouts grade prospects using the 20-80 scouting scale, we use a 20-80 scale to evaluate teams in our top 25. A score of 50 in each category is average, relative to a typical NCAA tournament team; 55 is slightly above-average; 60 is above-average (plus); 70 is well above-average (plus-plus); 80 is top of the scale, historically strong. Accordingly, 45 is fringe-average or slightly below-average; 40 is below-average; 30 is well below-average; and 20 is the extreme in that direction.

    Hitting: 50
    Georgia was a middle-of-the-pack offensive club a year ago, and it must replace its top three hitters in the departed Aaron Schunk, LJ Talley and John Cable. This lineup isn’t loaded with star power, but it is well stocked with experienced, gritty veterans who should string together quality at-bats and hit situationally. The Bulldogs got a huge boost when King and Shepherd elected not to sign pro contracts last summer and instead return for another year in Athens. King is a tough out who makes consistent hard contact to all fields, and Georgia expects him to serve as a key run producer in the cleanup spot. Shepherd hit .307/.354/.452 as a freshman, but his offensive numbers dipped over the next two years. But Georgia can count on him to work counts, get on base and deliver timely hits, and his production figures to rebound as a battle-tested senior. Jernigan is a speedy slasher with a knack for working deep counts and putting the ball in play, making him a good fit in the leadoff spot. Bradley missed all but three games last spring after tearing the labrum in his non-throwing shoulder while chasing a fly ball, but coach Scott Stricklin said he thought Bradley might be the team’s best offensive player going into last season, and he said Bradley looks “better than ever” in the fall. Expect him to hit for average and rack up doubles in the 3-hole.

    Fellow upperclassmen Rogers and Sullivan are seasoned blue-collar players who should turn in plenty of competitive at-bats even if they don’t post flashy numbers. Tate, a redshirt sophomore, is a prime breakout candidate who was Georgia’s most consistent hitter in the fall. Blaylock, a bounceback from Vanderbilt who spent last year in the juco ranks, is expected to serve as one of the offensive pillars this year as well. And keep an eye on redshirt sophomore Ben Anderson, who hit .361 in 202 at-bats as a freshman at Furman but had to sit out last spring after transferring to Georgia at the semester break last year. He’s eligible and ready to go this spring, and Stricklin expects him to push for time in the outfield and vie for leadoff duties.

    Power: 50
    Schunk, Talley, Cable and Tucker Maxwell combined to hit 41 of Georgia’s 75 homers a year ago, and their departure leaves an obvious power vacuum — but there are several candidates to help fill that void. King and Shepherd combined to hit 15 long balls last year, and both offer obvious double-digit homer upside. Tate really started to tap into his intriguing raw power potential in the fall, making him another likely power source. Blaylock also showed promising righthanded pop in the fall, and Rogers has some sneaky pop to the pull side. Sophomore catcher Shane Marshall put on 20 pounds of muscle and made a big jump at the plate this fall, making him a more offensive alternative to Meadows at the backstop position.

    Speed: 50
    Georgia has ranked near the bottom of the SEC in stolen bases each of the last two years, and steals don’t figure to be a big part of is attack this year either. But Jernigan is a legitimate speedster who should be able to put pressure on opposing defenses at the top or bottom of the lineup, and Bradley also has good speed and advanced baserunning instincts. Freshman spark plug Buddy Floyd brings additional speed off the bench, and his knack for putting the ball in play from both sides of the plate could earn him more regular playing time if one of the infield veterans should falter or get injured.

    Defense: 75
    Pitching and defense have been the backbone of Georgia’s back-to-back regional hosting clubs, and that figures to be the case again in 2020. Georgia ranked ninth nationally in fielding percentage in 2018 and 11th in 2019 (.980), and most of the key playmakers are back. Shepherd has a strong case as the premier defensive shortstop in college baseball; he won the Rawlings Gold Glove Award for the nation’s top defensive shortstop after fielding .987 last year, and he did not commit an error in SEC play. Shepherd and the instinctive, strong-armed King give Georgia an elite double play tandem, half of a premium up-the-middle group. Meadows is a valuable veteran leader behind the plate who handles the pitching staff very well and is a reliable receiver and blocker, while Marshall has a bazooka arm and very good receiving skills in his own right. Jernigan’s biggest asset is his exceptional defensive ability in center field, where he gets great jumps and uses his speed to cover abundant ground. Bradley is effectively another center fielder in left, and Tate is a good athlete with arm strength in right. Georgia also has one of the nation’s best defensive first basemen in the 6-foot-4 Sullivan, who has a great wingspan, quick feet and sure hands around the bag, helping him save the rest of the infield plenty of errors. And the coaching staff has been very pleased with Blaylock’s defense at the hot corner, where he’ll have to replace another high-end defender in Schunk. There is no weakness in this defense, which seems likely to be the best in college baseball this spring.

    Starting Pitching: 70
    There might not be a rotation in the country with more pure talent than Georgia’s, which is fronted by a pair of potential top-10 overall picks in flame-throwing righties Hancock and Wilcox. Both of them attack with mid-to-high-90s fastballs (Wilcox repeatedly hit triple digits last year), and both of them have put on weight since last spring. Hancock’s four-pitch mix also includes an 83-86 mph slider and an 84-86 mph changeup that both flash plus and a solid 11-to-5 curveball at 75-78. Wilcox, a draft-eligible sophomore complements his top-of-the-charts fastball with a true power slider at 86-88. Smith, a quick-armed three-pitch lefty with an 88-90 fastball, big-breaking 1-to-7 curve and quality changeup, pitched through a nagging back issue last spring and then spent the summer recovering, but he was back to 100 percent by the end of the fall. He’ll focus exclusively on pitching as a junior after arriving as a two-way player.

    Righty Will Proctor, who opened last season in the rotation before getting sidelined due to injury, had minor shoulder surgery in the offseason but is recovering well. His calling card is a hard low-80s breaking ball that Stricklin calls “a sizzler” because the catcher can hear the seams breaking the wind as it arrives. He figures to compete for midweek starts with freshman RHP Will Childers, who worked at 94-96 this fall with explosive life (high spin rate around 2500 rpm). His breaking ball was inconsistent in high school, which is one reason he’s in college and not pro ball right now, but he’s worked hard with pitching coach Sean Kenny on a spike curveball this fall, and it’s showing more velocity and better rotation.

    Bullpen: 65
    The Bulldogs must replace Schunk (who recorded 20 saves over the last two years) and power-armed bulldog Zac Kristofak, the twin anchors of the bullpen over the last two years. Even so, this bullpen figures to be a major strength, especially as some of the talented young arms gain experience. Georgia has an obvious closer candidate ready to thrive at the back end in Webb, a power lefty with a 90-93 fastball, quality curveball and changeup. He’ll be complemented by an exciting group of physical, flame-throwing young righthanders. Freshman RHP Jonathan Cannon really opened eyes in a fall scrimmage against Florida, striking out all three batters he faced with overpowering stuff. A 6-foot-6, 207-pounder with a lightning-quick arm, Cannon pounded away at 94-95 and bumped 96, flashed a plus slider at 82-85 and even an excellent changeup with good arm speed at 86. Fellow freshman righty Michael Polk worked at 92-94 and touched 95 in the same game, working downhill from a high three-quarters slot with big-time extension. He also showed the makings of a quality curveball at 77 and an advanced 83 mph changeup that he was comfortable throwing right-on-right. Freshman righty Brandon Smith is a little bit more of a project, but he also has a high ceiling, because his power arm really works: he sat 92-94 against Florida, but his command was erratic. He needs to refine his strike-throwing ability and become more consistent with his 74-76 mph curveball, but he did show some feel for an 81 mph changeup that served as an out pitch for him. Then there’s redshirt freshman Garrett Brown, a 6-foot-7, 209-pound righty who is oozing with upside. Brown also sat 92-94 from a short three-quarters arm action, and he can miss bats with an 84-86 changeup.

    Athletic sophomore righty Jack Gowen has taken a step forward since focusing exclusively on pitching from a conventional high three-quarters arm slot, after varying his slot from submarine to sidearm to over-the-top last year. He worked at 91-93 this fall with good feel for a nice, big-breaking three-quarters curveball at 74. Another sophomore righty, Darryn Pasqua, has a long, loose three-quarters arm action and attacked the zone at 88-90 with a solid sweeping slurve at 76-77 and a serviceable changeup. A former true walk-on who showed up at tryouts as a complete unknown after a year on campus as an engineering student, Pasqua has turned himself into a useful swing man because he fills up the strike zone. The Bulldogs also have three seniors and a fourth-year junior who give this staff valuable veteran presence and additional depth. Righty Logan Moody sits at 88-90 and bumps 92 along with a short cutter at 84-85. Six-foot-4 righty Trevor Tinder works at 86-91 with a decent 11-to-5 curveball in the mid-70s. Lefthander Justin Glover attacks at 88-89 with advanced feel for his 77-79 slurve and 78 mph changeup. And Georgia could also take more advantage of Bradley’s two-way ability this year, because he’s up to 92 mph from the left side with plenty of deception and the ability to change arm angles, as well as a dogged competitive streak.

    Experience/Intangibles: 60
    Eight of Georgia’s nine projected everyday players are third-, fourth- or fifth-year players who know how to handle the rigors of the SEC and maintain their poise in tight spots. Hancock and Smith are proven weekend starters, anchoring a staff that will be counting upon a number of unproven young arms, but there’s good veteran leadership in the bullpen as well. After hosting back-to-back regionals but failing to win either of them, this group of Bulldogs is hungry to get the program over the hump to Omaha for the first time since 2008. And there’s plenty of reason to believe this is the year they do just that.
  41. FadeMe

    FadeMe Well-Known Member
    Auburn TigersAtlanta BravesAtlanta United

    #6 #Texas Tech Red Raiders #Texas Tech Red Raiders alt

    Top 25 Breakdown: No. 6 Texas Tech
    ANALYSIS Kendall Rogers - January 14, 2020

    2019 Record: 46-20 (16-8 Big 12)
    RPI: 11.
    Coach (Record at school): Tim Tadlock (281–146 in seven seasons)
    Ballpark: Dan Law Field at Rip Griffin Park (5,500)
    Postseason History: 15 regionals (active streak: 4), 4 CWS trips (last in 2019).
    More: Fall Report on Texas Tech
    Schedule, Stats, Team News: Follow the Red Raiders all season long at our Texas Tech Team Page.

    Texas Tech's Projected Lineup
    Pos. Name, Yr. AVG/OBP/SLG HR RBI SB
    C Braxton Fulford, Jr. .298/.388/.419 4 34 0
    1B Cole Stilwell, So. .268/.408/.407 3 22 1
    2B Brian Klein, Sr. .315/.406/.440 3 57 0
    3B Jace Jung, Fr. Fr.--San Antonio (MacArthur)
    SS Cal Conley, RS-Fr. Transfer--DNP in 2019
    LF Kurt Wilson, Jr. .227/.317/.386 4 17 2
    CF Dylan Neuse, Jr. .298/.408/.494 8 51 18
    RF Max Marusak, So. .235/.301/.353 1 12 10
    DH Tanner O'Tremba, So. .261/.367/.402 2 20 2
    Pos. Name, Yr. W-L ERA IP SO BB SV
    SP #1 Micah Dallas, So. 7-2 4.03 76 84 28 0
    SP #2 John McMillon, Sr. 4-3 3.40 47.2 67 35 3
    SP #3 Bryce Bonnin, Jr. 7-1 4.08 64 65 45 0
    Closer Clayton Beeter, RS-Soph. 0-3 3.48 20.2 40 20 8

    Grading The Red Raiders
    Just as scouts grade prospects using the 20-80 scouting scale, we use a 20-80 scale to evaluate teams in our top 25. A score of 50 in each category is average, relative to a typical NCAA tournament team; 55 is slightly above-average; 60 is above-average (plus); 70 is well above-average (plus-plus); 80 is top of the scale, historically strong. Accordingly, 45 is fringe-average or slightly below-average; 40 is below-average; 30 is well below-average; and 20 is the extreme in that direction.

    Hitting: 55
    The Red Raiders had a potent offensive lineup last season with Cam Warren, Josh Jung and Gabe Holt leading the way. All three are gone but look for Tech to somewhat reload.

    Dru Baker, Brian Klein, Braxton Fulford, Dylan Neuse and Cody Masters will be headliners. Baker is an athletic player who showed big-time flashes last season, Klein is a steady hitter with a consistent offensive approach and Fulford took a big step forward from an offensive standpoint this past fall – this after hitting .298 with nine doubles, four home runs and 34 RBIs last season. Masters is yet another athletic guy in this lineup who should hit for power and make things happen with his legs, while Neuse is the catalyst after hitting .298 with 12 doubles, six triples, eight home runs and 51 RBIs last season.

    There are several intriguing fresh faces to watch in this lineup. TJ Rumfield has a quality lefthanded bat with impressive potential, Jace Jung (brother of Josh) is a solid hitter with power potential, Cal Conley is more known as a defender but can also make things happen with the bat and Max Marusak and Dillon Carter are both seasoned hitters who should have solid 2020 campaigns. Carter is a high baseball IQ guy who hits well from the left side. There’s also Tanner O’Tremba, who can drive the baseball to all fields.

    Texas Tech should be able to beat you a variety of ways this season, including with a mix of power and speed. Sure, there are holes from an offensive standpoint, but we still like this lineup’s upside.

    Power: 55
    There’s no doubt the Red Raiders have some tough departures from a power standpoint – losing both Cam Warren and Josh Jung, who totaled 33 home runs last season. However, Tech still has plenty of power potential on this team – particularly gap power.

    Braxton Fulford took a sizable step forward from a power standpoint during the fall and should hit for more power after smacking four home runs last season, while fellow catcher Cole Stilwell also has some pop. Kurt Wilson and Cody Masters also have some power potential, while Neuse is the top returning power hitter after hitting 12 doubles, six triples, eight home runs and 51 RBIs last season.

    TJ Rumfield is a hard-hitting lefthanded bat to watch, Klein has gap power, Jung has impressive power potential for a young hitter and Dru Baker is another ultra-athletic guy who can hit for some power. Meanwhile, keep an eye on Tanner O’Tremba, who hit three home runs last season and has big-time power potential. Look for O’Tremba to hit anywhere from 7-12 home runs this spring.

    Speed: 65
    The Red Raiders had one of the better runners and base-stealers in college baseball last season in Gabe Holt, who swiped 28 bases in 31 attempts. Holt is no longer with the Red Raiders but look for this team to once again be able to assert themselves from an athletic standpoint.

    Tech has a pair of seasoned base stealers in Dylan Neuse and Max Marusak, who each finished last season with double digit stolen bases. Cody Masters and Dru Baker are both athletic guys who can make things happen with their legs, while the same can be said about Wilson, the two-way talent.

    Defense: 60
    Who knows how Texas Tech will lineup on Opening Day from a positional standpoint? Though the Red Raiders have some guys slated to be in certain positions, coach Tim Tadlock has made it abundantly clear there are some athletes on this team and isn’t afraid to move some guys around.

    For instance, Dylan Neuse could play anywhere from third to shortstop to center field. My money is on Neuse playing shortstop or center field on Opening Day. Assuming that happen, Jace Jung will occupy third base and is a sound defender, while up the middle, veteran second baseman Brian Klein is back for another season. If Neuse doesn’t play short, look for Miami transfer Cal Conley to end up there. Conley is a high-quality defender who has impressive instincts. Klein is a stable defender. Behind the plate, Braxton Fulford is a high-quality catch and throw guy, while the Red Raiders also are excited about young Nate Rombach, who showed excellent defensive skills during fall workouts.

    In the outfield, Cody Masters and Dru Baker are all very athletic players, while Max Marusak is athletic with an impressive ability to track down balls.

    Tech has athletes across the diamond, and that bodes well defensively.

    Starting Pitching: 60
    Tech feels good about its starting rotation for good reason. The Red Raiders have an experienced front-line starter in sophomore righthander Micah Dallas. Dallas blossomed as a freshman last season and has a fastball up to 94-95 mph, along with good command of multiple pitches. He takes the mound with impressive, mature presence and is a perfect Friday guy.

    The Red Raiders received a big boost when righthander John McMillon decided to return for his senior season. McMillon has a big-time arm with a quality slider and has made yet another jump on the mound. He can get up to 100 mph with his fastball, but as a starter, will comfortably sit in the mid 90s. Finally, look for junior righty Bryce Bonnin to take a massive step forward. Bonnin showed flashes of brilliance last season and is ready to take the next step, sitting in the 93-96 and up to 97 mph range, along with quality secondary offerings.

    Also keep an eye on sophomore lefthander Mason Montgomery. He’s yet another guy who showed flashes last season, and he’ll get up to 93-94 mph with the fastball along with quality secondary stuff. He looks primed to take a sizable step forward.

    Bullpen: 65
    The Red Raiders have a plethora of options from a bullpen standpoint. The leaders at the backend are two-way talent Kurt Wilson and righthander Clayton Beeter. Wilson’s stuff and overall command of the zone has improved, and he’ll get up to 95-98 mph with his fastball, while Beeter is another big-time arm with an ability to get up to 97 mph with his fastball.

    Transfers Austin Becker and Jacob Brustoski also will factor into the equation. Becker has big-time upside and headed to Lubbock from Vanderbilt. He has a premium arm with a fastball ranging 92-95 mph, while Brustoski is a very interesting specimen. He’s a 6-foot-2, 237-pounder, who surprised some during fall workouts with a fastball up to 97-98 mph. It’ll be interesting to see how his stuff translates to big-time college baseball.

    Freshmen Andrew Devine, Eli Kerim, Steven Vasquez and Brandon Hendrix are other quality arms to watch. Devine is a smallish 5-foot-9, 160-pounder, with a big-time arm and delivery, sitting 93-95 mph with his fastball during fall workouts. Meanwhile, Kerim is a converted catcher who was 92-95 with his fastball in the fall, Vasquez has excellent pitchability and Hendrix has a big-time arm and should be fresh after not throwing much of the fall. Hunter Dobbins, who showed an improved breaking ball during fall workouts, also could log significant innings out of the pen.

    In essence, the Red Raiders have a multitude of power weapons.

    Experience/Intangibles: 60
    Texas Tech has become an Omaha mainstay during the Tim Tadlock era, and that trend shouldn’t change in 2020.

    Yes, the Red Raiders have a few key holes to fill from an offensive standpoint, including the Big 12’s Player of the Decade in third baseman Josh Jung. But time and time again the Red Raiders have displayed an ability to quickly bounce back from key departures. That should continue this season, too, with the return of Kurt Wilson, Cole Stilwell, Braxton Fulford, Tanner O’Tremba, Dylan Neuse, Max Marusak and others. It’s basically a situation of guys waiting their turn and now getting their time in the sun.

    Tech also has plenty of experience on the mound. Micah Dallas was a Freshman All-American last season and is back for more, while hard-throwing Bryce Bonnin is ready to take a sizable step forward this spring. Finally, the bullpen is loaded, and the Red Raiders got an early Christmas present when righthander John McMillon decided to return to the Hub City for his senior campaign.

    Tech isn’t without some question marks, but all signs point to another stellar season.
  42. FadeMe

    FadeMe Well-Known Member
    Auburn TigersAtlanta BravesAtlanta United

    #7 #Arkansas Razorbacks

    Top 25 Breakdown: No. 7 Arkansas
    FEATURED Kendall Rogers - January 14, 2020

    2019 Record: 46-20 (20-10 SEC)
    RPI: 6.
    Coach (Record at school): Dave Van Horn (689–384 in 17 seasons)
    Ballpark: Baum-Walker Stadium (11,000)
    Postseason History: 31 regionals (active streak: 3), 10 CWS trips (last in 2019).
    More: Fall Report on Arkansas
    Schedule, Stats, Team News: Follow the Razorbacks all season long at our Arkansas Team Page.

    Arkansas' Projected Lineup

    Pos. Name, Yr. AVG/OBP/SLG HR RBI SB
    C Casey Optiz. Jr. .243/.379/.311 3 33 7
    1B Jacob Nesbit, So. .255/.333/.344 3 42 7
    2B Robert Moore, Fr. Fr.--Shawnee Mission, Kan. (East)
    3B Cole Austin, Sr. Transfer--Arizona State
    SS Casey Martin, Jr. .286/.364/.548 15 57 10
    LF Braydon Webb, Jr. Transfer--Grayson (Texas) College
    CF Christian Franklin, So. .274/.361/.413 6 34 12
    RF Heston Kjerstad, Jr. .327/.400/.575 17 51 5
    DH Matt Goodheart, Jr. .345/.444/.517 5 47 5
    Pos. Name, Yr. W-L ERA IP SO BB SV
    SP #1 Connor Noland, So. 3-5 4.02 78.1 55 14 0
    SP #2 Patrick Wicklander, So. 6-2 4.32 66.2 90 37 0
    SP #3 Kevin Kopps, Sr. 6-3 3.89 41.2 52 14 0
    Closer Zeb Vermillion, Jr. 4-1 3.63 22.1 21 9 14

    Grading The Razorbacks
    Just as scouts grade prospects using the 20-80 scouting scale, we use a 20-80 scale to evaluate teams in our top 25. A score of 50 in each category is average, relative to a typical NCAA tournament team; 55 is slightly above-average; 60 is above-average (plus); 70 is well above-average (plus-plus); 80 is top of the scale, historically strong. Accordingly, 45 is fringe-average or slightly below-average; 40 is below-average; 30 is well below-average; and 20 is the extreme in that direction.

    Hitting: 65
    It will be much of the same for the Hogs from an offensive standpoint.

    Arkansas had one of the nation’s most feared offensive lineups last season and that won’t change this spring.

    Heston Kjerstad is the ringleader of the offense with a balance of an impressive offensive approach and premier power, while Matt Goodheart is healthy and ready to roll after getting hurt at the end of last season. Some forget that Goodheart actually led the Hogs in batting average last season at .345. He’s an exciting player who should have a strong 2020 campaign.

    Christian Franklin did some good things as a freshman last season and has impressive raw power. I look for him to make a huge jump after hitting .274 with six home runs and 34 RBIs last season. Jacob Nesbit (.255) and especially Casey Opitz (.243) also will make huge jumps. Opitz had a huge fall and wowed scouts both offensively and defensively. In addition to likely hitting for a much higher average, also look for Opitz’s power production to surge. Last season, he hit just three doubles and three home runs. No chance he emulates those numbers this spring.

    From a newcomer standpoint, Arizona State transfer Cole Austin surprised the Hogs during the fall. He was a strong defender, but also showed he can be an asset as a gap hitter in this lineup. Meanwhile, junior college transfer Braydon Webb has great bat speed and incoming freshman Robert Moore has a mature plate approach and is a line drive hitter. His greatest asset, as of now, might be his defense.

    It should be another exciting offensive year for the Hogs.

    Power: 65
    This should be a powerful offensive lineup.

    Sure, the Hogs are without three guys who finished last season with double digit home run totals. But the power production shouldn’t drop off much at all.

    Martin and Kjerstad return after hitting double digit home runs last season. And with Martin’s improved plate approach, that power number might increase even more. Goodheart has some power and will certainly hit more than five homers, while the guy to watch is Opitz. Opitz has become a well-rounded hitter. And though he hit three home runs last season, we’d be shocked if he doesn’t hit well north of that number this spring.

    Nesbit and Franklin have some pop as well, especially Franklin, who has impressive raw power, while a newcomer like Webb has enough power to run the ball out of the yard. He certainly has the power to go gap-to-gap.

    It will be much of the same for the Razorbacks. The power production will be there.

    Speed: 55
    The Hogs have more than enough speed to make things happen on the bases. Casey Martin and Christian Franklin both return after swiping double digit stolen bases last season. Both have a chance to best their marks of 10 and 12, respectively, last season.

    Catcher Casey Opitz moves well for a catcher and junior college transfer Braydon Webb has above-average speed and is a quick twitch guy. Cole Austin also can move around with his average to above-average speed at times.

    Arkansas won’t blow teams away with its team speed, but there are enough speedsters on this roster to keep some teams honest.

    Defense: 70
    Being a great defensive team starts with having a big-time catcher, and the Hogs certainly have that with junior Casey Opitz leading the way. Opitz showed noticeable improvements with the bat during the fall, while his defensive skills remained elite. He’s an excellent catch and throw guy is just a terrific all-around player and leader.

    He anchors the defensive unit, while going across the infield, the Hogs love the way they will set up this spring.

    At third, Arizona State transfer Austin showed great instincts and defensive skills during fall workouts, Martin is an electric overall player and needs to be more consistent at shortstop, incoming freshman Robert Moore is a premier defender and Nesbit is an experienced guy over at first base.

    The outfield is also very talented with some athleticism. Kjerstad has gotten a bit more pep in his step and has improved as a defender, Christian Franklin looks to take the reins from Dom Fletcher out in center with ease and Braydon Webb is a quick twitch athlete who excites the coaching staff.

    All is well from a defensive standpoint.

    Starting Pitching: 55
    The weekend rotation still isn’t set, but the Hogs at least know who likely will have the top two starting jobs on the weekend – righthander Connor Noland and lefthander Patrick Wicklander.

    Noland did some good things last season but had his ups and downs like any young arm in the Southeastern Conference. He showed improvements during the fall, sitting more 90-93 mph with his fastball, along with good secondary stuff. That’s a few mph velocity jump from last season. Meanwhile, Wicklander was anywhere from 89-91 and up to 92 mph with his fastball, along with solid secondary stuff.

    As for the No. 3 starting job, it’s up in the air at the moment, though Kole Ramage and senior Kevin Kopps are legitimate options. Kopps will sit in the low 90s with his fastball with good stuff, while Ramage is a seasoned and proven arm. The Hogs also are excited about freshman righthander Peyton Pallette, who showed electric stuff during fall workouts.

    The good news? The Hogs have plenty of talented options for the No. 3 spot. The bad news? There’s no one set in stone at the moment.

    Bullpen: 60
    The Razorbacks certainly have some good ones to replace with the departures of lefthander Matt Cronin and righthander Jacob Kostyshock, among others. But this bullpen is still rich with talent and primed to have a solid 2020 campaign.

    Veteran righthander Zebulon Vermillion is slated to lead the bullpen. Vermillion took a big step forward two summers ago and logged more innings last season. Now, he’s ready for the limelight after getting up to 95-96 mph with his fastball with an improved changeup during fall workouts. Elijah Trest has a big-time arm and was up to 96-97 mph with his fastball, along with a solid slider in the fall, while an x-factor type could be righthander Jacob Burton. Burton got hit in the fall, but his upside is undeniable with a fastball ranging 95-98 mph. He just needs to be better and more consistent.

    Seasoned righthanders Kole Ramage and Caleb Bolden are worth watching, too. Ramage has pitched in some big-time situations in the past and is a quality arm, while Bolden is working his way back from injury and was up to 90 mph with his fastball in mid-November. Arkansas expects him at full speed come Opening Day.

    In terms of freshmen, keep an eye on righthanders Peyton Pallette and Blake Adams. Pallette impressed the coaching staff with a strong fall that included a fastball 93-95 mph with a breaking ball with a spin rate around 3100. Meanwhile, Adams was up to 96 mph with an effective breaking ball. Finally, also watch out for young lefty Kaden Monk. The 6-foot-3, 160-pounder, showed a lot of movement on his pitches and should log significant innings with his ability to command the zone.

    Experience/Intangibles: 60
    The Hogs have some holes to fill from last year’s team, but they also welcome back several key cogs from that club.

    From an offensive standpoint, there’s a lot of experience throughout the lineup with the return of Kjerstad, Opitz, Goodheart and Martin, among others. Franklin is a year older and wiser, and the Hogs have a freshman up the middle in Moore who’s mature beyond his years.

    The Hogs have some inexperience at the backend of the bullpen, but the starting rotation, despite not being dominant does have experience. Noland and Wicklander got their feet wet in the starting rotation last season and should improve this spring.

    There’s also the Dave Van Horn factor. Van Horn’s teams have been incredibly consistent the past few seasons and we don’t expect that trend to change in 2020.

    Arkansas will have another strong season that ends with a Top 16 seed. Then, we’ll see if it can add a national title to its rich history.

    All the pieces are there to make another strong run.
    Cornelius Suttree and bertwing like this.
  43. FadeMe

    FadeMe Well-Known Member
    Auburn TigersAtlanta BravesAtlanta United

    #8 #Auburn Tigers

    Top 25 Breakdown: No. 8 Auburn
    SEASON PREVIEW Aaron Fitt - January 14, 2020

    2019 Record: 38-28. RPI: 19.
    Coach (Record at school): Butch Thompson (141-104 in 4 seasons)
    Ballpark: Plainsman Park (4,100)
    Postseason History: 22 regionals (active streak: 3), 5 CWS trips (active streak: 1).
    More: Fall Report on Auburn
    Schedule, Stats, Team News: Follow the Tigers all season long at our Auburn Team Page.

    Auburn's Projected Lineup
    Pos. Name, Yr. AVG/OBP/SLG HR RBI SB
    C Matt Scheffler, Sr. .260/.331/.342 2 28 5
    1B Rankin Woley, Sr. .277/.336/.387 3 45 2
    2B Garrett Farquhar, Jr. Tr. — Shelton State (Ala.) JC
    3B Brody Moore, So. .333/.379/.444 0 4 0
    SS Ryan Bliss, So. .281/.367/.369 3 37 11
    LF Judd Ward, Jr. .272/.377/.393 5 34 5
    CF Kason Howell, So. .262/.340/.307 0 28 14
    RF Steven Williams, Jr. .247/.355/.413 9 36 3
    DH Conor Davis, Sr. .290/.351/.448 8 36 2
    Pos. Name, Yr. W-L ERA IP SO BB SV
    SP #1 Tanner Burns, Jr. 4-4 2.82 79.2 101 23 0
    SP #2 Jack Owen, Jr. 4-2 2.75 68.2 59 14 0
    SP #3 Bailey Horn, Jr. 4-2 5.97 37.2 31 20 0
    Closer Cody Greenhill, Jr. 2-3 3.45 57.1 44 18 12

    Grading The Tigers
    Just as scouts grade prospects using the 20-80 scouting scale, we use a 20-80 scale to evaluate teams in our top 25. A score of 50 in each category is average, relative to a typical NCAA tournament team; 55 is slightly above-average; 60 is above-average (plus); 70 is well above-average (plus-plus); 80 is top of the scale, historically strong. Accordingly, 45 is fringe-average or slightly below-average; 40 is below-average; 30 is well below-average; and 20 is the extreme in that direction.

    Hitting: 55
    Auburn’s offense under-performed for much of last season, finishing ninth in the SEC in batting and 10th in scoring. But seven everyday regulars are back in the fold, and there’s reason to believe many of them will take steps forward with another year of experience under their belts. It might not be a flashy offense, but Auburn figures to get plenty of competitive at-bats up and down the lineup. The Tigers have a trio of gritty, athletic fire-starters with good bat-handling skills in Ward, Bliss and Howell, who could all compete for time in the top two spots in the batting order, but Auburn hopes all three can reduce their strikeout rates in 2020. Ward, a compact lefthanded hitter with a nice line-drive, gap-to-gap approach, is a warrior in the batter’s box and could be the favorite for the leadoff spot. Bliss and Howell are contact-oriented hitters from the right side, but Howell in particular stood out this fall for his strength gains, making him an obvious breakout candidate.

    Hitting coach Gabe Gross identified Woley as one of Auburn’s most improved hitters this fall, so look for a jump from last year’s decent production. Williams and Davis figure to be the centerpieces of the offense; Williams also put on good weight in the offseason and showed a much-improved ability to drive the ball middle-away. Scheffler’s calling card is his defense, but he also made noticeable strength gains after spending the summer working out with Williams and Howell. Juco transfer Farquhar turned in one quality at-bat after another in the fall, and his line-drive stroke should play well in his first season at the Division I level. And Moore looks poised to take a step forward as a sophomore after showing glimpses of offensive potential as a freshman.

    Power: 45
    Auburn ranked next-to-last in the SEC in home runs and slugging a year ago, and it lost its top two home run hitters in Edouard Julien and Will Holland. But Williams has light-tower power from the left side and could realistically double his eight-homer output from a year ago now that he’s added strength and made strides with his offensive approach. The physically mature Davis offers double-digit homer ability from the right side and has a knack for delivering the timely hit. It’s reasonable to expect Woley and Ward to hit for a little more power this year as well, though neither profiles as a true slugger. Freshman two-way talent Nate LaRue, the likely backup catcher, brings exciting bat speed and power potential from the right side, but it’s unclear how many at-bats he’ll log as a freshman, particularly since he could wind up as a key bullpen arm. Expect this to be more of a doubles team than a long ball squad.

    Speed: 50
    The Tigers were an efficient basestealing team a year ago, swiping 63 bags in 76 attempts (an 83 percent success rate). Howell (14-for-16) and Bliss (11-for-13) are the top two threats on the basepaths — both are above-average runners who pick their spots well. Ward is a solid-average to slightly above-average runner, while Moore and Farquhar move around fine, though neither is a burner. Scheffler also runs well for a catcher, showing fringe-average run times from home to first. But the speed game doesn’t figure to be a big part of Auburn’s attack, overall.

    Defense: 55
    The Tigers were an average defensive team last spring, ranking 78th in the nation with a .973 fielding percentage, but their returning experience should translate to more defensive consistency in 2020. Scheffler is the general, a mature defensive catcher who blocks and receives well and owns off a strong, accurate arm and quick release, though LaRue offers even more arm strength. Howell and Ward are outstanding in the outfield, and Williams owns a cannon in right field. Farquhar is a fundamentally sound, reliable second baseman, and Moore is a fluid athlete who looks the part at the hot corner, though he could also slide to shortstop if needed. The biggest question is whether Auburn will move Bliss from second (where he was very good last year) to short; his arm is a little light for the position, but he can make up for it by aggressively charging the ball and getting rid of it quickly and accurately.

    Starting Pitching: 65
    Pitching looks like Auburn’s greatest strength in 2020, and it starts with the loaded weekend rotation. Burns should be one of the nation’s premier aces, with a 91-95 mph fastball, a putaway slider, solid changeup and good command. The key for him is maintaining his strength all season long, and coach Butch Thompson suggested that something as simple as an added emphasis on hydration could help him do that. Owen is a finesse lefty with advanced feel for an 86-90 fastball, a plus changeup in the low 80s and a decent curveball, and he proved himself as a reliable SEC starter last spring after transferring in from the juco ranks.

    Horn, a fourth-year junior lefty, is the big pick to click after working his way back from injury and coming on strong down the stretch last spring. Physical and athletic with a nice three-pitch mix, Horn was overpowering in our look this fall, pitching at 92-93 with a good slider at 81-82, and he owns a quality changeup as well. A third lefty, sophomore Brooks Fuller, also has starting experience (eight starts among his 20 appearances last year). Like Owen, Fuller has a long, loose arm action and good deception that makes his 86-89 mph fastball play up, and his calling card is a very nice big-breaking curveball at 75-78. Fuller looks like the favorite to serve as the midweek starter.

    Bullpen: 65
    Auburn’s pitching staff is deeper than it has been in years, giving Thompson an exciting collection of weapons to complement one of the SEC’s premier closers in Greenhill. A proven warrior who competes as hard as any pitcher in college baseball, Greenhill’s bread and butter are his lively fastball and his aggressiveness. The Tigers are still trying to figure out how best to deploy him to get the most out of him, because he has tended to show premium velocity (think 95-97) in his first appearance of a weekend, then lesser stuff (maybe 89-90) in his second outing. Perhaps the answer is to use him once per weekend for multiple innings as a stopper/long reliever hybrid. Auburn will certainly have enough arms in the bullpen that it shouldn’t need to rely on Greenhill to close out multiple games per week. Senior righty Ryan Watson has loads of experience and decent enough stuff — a nice downer breaking ball at 73-77 with good bite to go along with his 89-90 fastball. Another intriguing returning arm is sophomore lefthander Garrett Wade, the highest-profile member of last year’s recruiting class. Wade made seven starts and eight relief appearances as a freshman but logged just 33.1 innings, as spotty command held him back. He has a quick arm and a promising slider and changeup, making him something of an X-factor on this staff, a potential difference maker if he can refine his command and continue to “get comfortable,” as Thompson put it.

    Sophomores Carson Skipper and Richard Fitts each got a taste of starting in SEC play last spring, and Thompson said both of them made jumps this fall. Skipper, a 6-foot-3 lefty with an over-the-top Iron Mike-style delivery, worked downhill at 88-90 and showed excellent tumble and arm speed on his 80-83 changeup in our fall look. Fitts really stands out for his advanced command of a low-90s fastball, but he also mixes in a decent low-80s slider effectively.

    Auburn’s strong recruiting class brought a bushel of reinforcements for the bullpen. Freshman Hayden Mullins is one of the biggest names in the class, a 6-foot lefty who has been up to 94 mph with feel for a breaking ball and good pitchability. Trace Bright, a 6-4 righty, has looked even better than the Tigers expected this fall, working at 90-92 with a promising breaking ball and the ability to land his changeup for strikes. Freshman righty Mason Barnett missed time in the fall with a stress fracture in his back but was up to 95 mph last year. LaRue owns a clean high three-quarters arm action and worked at 89-91 with a wicked hammer curveball at 78-79 in the fall. Expect low three-quarters righty Blake Burkhalter to serve as another big bullpen weapon. He sat 89-92 with funk and life this fall and has good two-plane action on his 78-81 slider. Lefty Peyton Glavine, the son of Hall of Famer Tom Glavine, is a 5-foot-11 bulldog with a longer three-quarters arm action and some front-side funk that makes his 87-89 fastball play up, and the pitch has good arm-side run when it’s down in the zone. He also showed feel for a nice fading changeup at 82. Two more juco transfers to watch are Jackson Reynolds and Drew Baker, the latter of whom showed big-time arm strength in the fall along with command that remained a work in progress. A three-quarters righty with a short, quick arm action, Baker sat 91-94 and touched 95 in our fall look.

    Experience/Intangibles: 65
    The regular season was a grind for Auburn last spring, but the Tigers showed admirable toughness and resilience, and their high character really carried them through the postseason to Omaha for the first time since 1997. Those attributes figure to remain major strengths once again, because this team is loaded with experienced veterans who now know the way to Omaha. Expectations will be higher entering this season than they have been in a long time on the Plains, but this group has the makeup and leadership to thrive under the spotlight.
  44. steamengine

    steamengine I don’t want to press one for English!
    Duke Blue DevilsHouston AstrosKansas City ChiefsLiverpool

    The Jung dynasty continues

    NineteenNine and FadeMe like this.
  45. Zebbie

    Zebbie Hey Mike, guess what I have in my underwear?
    Texas Tech Red RaidersTexas RangersChicago CubsDallas StarsTexas Tech Red Raiders alt

    We’ll go as far as our pitching can take us this year, but maybe the bats will surprise us some
  46. Daddy Rabbit

    Daddy Rabbit obviously silly and not productive
    Tennessee VolunteersAtlanta BravesNashville PredatorsGrateful DeadBonnaroo

  47. NineteenNine

    NineteenNine Divers are, in fact, wankers. It's science.
    ArsenalTiger WoodsSneakersDallas Mavericks altTexas Tech Red Raiders alt

    Josh Jung was named player of the decade in the Big XII?? Wow.
  48. dallasdawg

    dallasdawg does the tin man have a sheet metal cock?
    Staff Donor
    Texas RangersDallas MavericksDallas CowboysDallas StarsOklahoma Sooners

    there's another?
  49. killerwvu

    killerwvu Restoring WVU's E-Rep 1 Post At A Time
    Donor TMB OG
    West Virginia MountaineersBrooklyn NetsDallas CowboysNational LeaguePittsburgh Pirates

  50. FadeMe

    FadeMe Well-Known Member
    Auburn TigersAtlanta BravesAtlanta United

    Been waiting on that news to become official. It had been talked about for a while since Steve Smith took the Tennessee Tech job. We also have Gregg Olson as a GA. He's currently enrolled and finishing up his degree. Solid recruiting tool and knowledge base with Huddy. Only thing about it that I was curious about was his involvement as a donor prior to taking the job. He's given a lot of money to the program over the years. Not sure how that shakes out now that he's an assistant.