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Discussion in 'College Baseball Clubhouse' started by Bombay96, Dec 20, 2018.
Any thoughts on how Big 12 baseball will shake out in the spring?
Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?
Baylor (2018 Record: 37-21, 13-11)
It was an outstanding 2018 season for Baylor as they finished fifth in the Big 12 and then ran through the Big 12 Tournament on their way to a championship.
Baylor will be a very experienced team in 2019 as they return their entire starting lineup and weekend rotation. Catcher Shea Langeliers returns as one of the best catching prospects in the country because of his work behind the plate. He also hit .252 last year with 49 runs scored, 18 doubles, 11 home runs, and 44 RBI. Third baseman Davis Wendzel hit .310 a season ago with 38 runs scored, 22 doubles, 8 home runs, and 49 RBI. Shortstop Nick Loftin will be back atop the lineup after hitting .306 as a freshman last season to go along with 52 runs scored, 12 doubles, 6 home runs, and 36 RBI. DH Richard Cunningham led the team with a .342 average last season to go along with 9 home runs and 38 RBI. First baseman Andy Thomas hit .324 last year with 35 runs scored and 34 RBI.
Cody Bradford will be back to lead the weekend rotation after posting a 2.51 ERA in 2018 over 96.2 innings pitched with 87 strikeouts. Hayden Kettler had a 3.81 ERA in 87.1 innings with 56 strikeouts. Kyle Hill will be a big part of a depleted bullpen after posting a 2.62 ERA in 55 innings pitched last year with 47 strikeouts and a save.
Freshman Anderson Needham could have an impact right away on the mound, while two-way freshman Brooks Helmer could help in both areas. JUCO transfer Logan Freeman is expected to take on a big role in the pitching staff.
Outlook for 2019
The biggest question for Baylor entering the season is the bullpen as most of it is gone, including All-American closer Troy Montemayor. Replacing those pieces, and avoiding the injury bug, will be key for their success in 2019.
Kansas (2018 Record: 27-30, 8-15)
The Jayhawks finished eighth in the Big 12 last year, which was just enough to make the Big 12 Tournament where they upset top seeded Texas before dropping the next two.
Catcher Jaxx Groshans is the team’s top returning hitter after batting .313 last year with 4 home runs and 43 RBI. Second baseman James Cosentino hit .269 in 2018 with 40 runs scored, 7 home runs, and 24 RBI. Outfielder Brett Vosik should be back at the top of the lineup after hitting .309 last year with 32 runs scored.
Ryan Zeferjahn will lead the weekend rotation as one of the best arms in the country striking out 100 batters last season in 80.1 innings pitched with a 4.48 ERA. Ryan Cyr had a 4.29 ERA in 56.2 innings pitched last year with 55 strikeouts and a save.
Outlook for 2019
They lose two of their top hitters from last year but pretty much have everyone else back in the lineup. Zeferjahn will give them a chance on Friday nights, but they’ll need to make a major improvement on their 6.15 team ERA from last season.
Kansas State (2018 Record: 23-31, 5-19)
It was not a pretty season for Kansas State in 2018 as they only won five conference games, finished last, and missed out on the conference tournament.
Will Brennan hit .359 last year with 49 runs scored, 13 doubles, 23 RBI and 19 stolen bases. He will likely hit atop the lineup again. Shortstop Cameron Thompson hit .257 last year with 32 runs scored and 33 RBI.
Kasey Ford had a 4.67 ERA in 61.2 innings pitched with 45 strikeouts in 2018. Jaxon Passino was great out of the bullpen last year with a 2.92 ERA in 24.2 innings with 18 strikeouts and 2 saves.
Outlook for 2019
The Wildcats lose some key players off a team that wasn’t very good in 2018, so it’s hard to see them being much better unless their newcomers make a major impact.
Oklahoma (2018 Record: 38-25, 14-10)
The Sooners had a solid 2018 season as they finished fourth in the Big 12 and then made it to the semifinals of the conference tournament. After winning the first two games of the Tallahassee tournament, they dropped two straight to Mississippi State.
Oklahoma loses two big pieces from last year’s team in Steele Walker and Kyler Murray. Those were the only two players to hit double-digit home runs for Oklahoma last year. Third baseman Brylie Ware will try to pick up the slack after hitting .331 last year with 41 RBI. Shortstop Brandon Zaragoza hit .279 a season ago with 46 runs scored. Brady Lindsly, Justin Mitchell, and Blake Brewster will need to step up as well.
Nathan Wiles has a chance to be the Friday night guy after posting a 3.54 ERA in 86.1 innings pitched with 69 strikeouts a season ago. Levi Prater had a 4.09 ERA in 50.2 innings with 64 strikeouts. Braidyn Fink posted a 1.71 ERA in 21 innings with 28 strikeouts and a save.
Outlook for 2019
The Sooners are losing two of their top hitters and their best starting pitcher from last year, so those will be big holes to fill. Offensively this team should be fine, but they’ll need some help in the pitching staff from newcomers to get back to their level of success in 2018.
Oklahoma State (2018 Record: 31-26-1, 16-8)
Oklahoma State got off to a slow start last year (10-8-1) and struggled out of conference but finished second in the Big 12. They went 0-2 in the Big 12 Tournament, and then couldn’t get past the pitching of Stetson in the regionals.
Colin Simpson is back after hitting .280 last year with 48 runs scored, 13 doubles, 18 home runs, and 51 RBI. He’ll split time between catcher and the outfield. First baseman Christian Funk hit .245 a season ago with 7 home runs and 33 RBI. Outfielder Trevor Boone hit .270 with 10 home runs and 33 RBI. Outfielder Carson McCusker will take on a bigger role in the lineup this season as well.
Joe Lienhard will try to anchor the weekend rotation after posting a 5.30 ERA in 2018 over 69.2 innings pitched with 62 strikeouts. Jensen Elliott and Mitchell Stone will need to step up in the pitching staff this season.
Newcomers who could have an impact this season include: Logan Gragg, Huey Morrill, Bryce Carter, Jake Lyons, Andrew Navigato, and Brett Standlee.
Outlook for 2019
The coaching staff hopes this team will be more consistent offensively in 2019, and they believe their pitching depth will be a strength this season.
TCU (2018 Record: 33-23, 10-13)
After reaching the College World Series in four straight seasons, TCU took a step back in 2018 missing the postseason altogether.
Outfielder Josh Watson will be back to lead the offseason after hitting .305 last year with 8 home runs and 32 RBI. Zach Humphreys should be back behind the plate after hitting .225 a year ago in 53 games.
If TCU is going to get back on track in 2019 they’ll need their talented pitchers to stay healthy and effective. Jared Janczak only started eight games last year but had a 3.00 ERA in 42 innings pitched with 41 strikeouts. Nick Lodolo had a 4.32 ERA in 77 innings pitched with 93 strikeouts. Charles King was solid mostly out of the bullpen last year with a 3.12 ERA in 40.1 innings pitched with 30 strikeouts. Jake Eissler had a 3.24 ERA in 41.2 innings pitched with 58 strikeouts.
Coach Schlossnagle mentioned several newcomers who will have an impact this season. That list includes infielders Hunter Wolfe and Austin Henry, outfielder/infielder Andrew Keefer, first baseman Jakob Guenther, catcher Alex Isola, and left-handed pitcher Brandon Williamson.
Outlook for 2019
“Considering the season we had in 2018, we need to improve in all areas — mainly we need to stay healthy.” – Head Coach Jim Schlossnagle
Texas (2018 Record: 42-23, 17-7)
It was a remarkable season by Texas as we witnessed one of the greatest player performances from Kody Clemens (.351/24/72) as he lifted the Longhorns all the way to the College World Series.
Shortstop David Hamilton is back to lead this team after batting .291 a year ago with 44 runs scored, 5 home runs, 37 RBI, and 31 stolen bases. Zach Zubia hit .275 last year with 11 home runs and 45 RBI. Catcher DJ Petrinksy hit .257 in 2018 with 9 home runs.
Blair Henley should return to the weekend rotation after posting a 3.32 ERA last year in 86.2 innings pitched with 64 strikeouts.
There are a lot of newcomers who will have an immediate impact on the pitching staff this year. That list includes: RHP Coy Cobb, RHP Jack Neely, RHP Cole Quintanilla, RHP Owen Meaney, RHP Kolby Kubichek, and RHP Donny Diaz
Outlook for 2019
With just one weekend starter coming back, Texas will need a lot of young pitchers to grow up quickly early in the season. Fortunately, they have a lot of big arms coming in who have a chance to do just that for the Longhorns.
Texas Tech (2018 Record: 45-20, 15-9)
The Red Raiders put together a challenging schedule last season and I think it helped them in their run to the College World Series. Their schedule is even more challenging this season.
Josh Jung returns as one of the best players in the country after hitting .392 last season with 69 runs scored, 17 doubles, 6 triples, 12 home runs, and 80 RBI. Outfielder Gabe Holt hit .348 in 2018 with 70 runs scored, 6 home runs, 44 RBI, and 29 stolen bases. Second baseman Brian Klein hit .317 a year ago with 50 runs scored. First baseman Cameron Warren hit .326 last year with 10 home runs and 53 RBI. Catcher Braxton Fulford and outfielder Cody Masters are expected to step up in the lineup.
Caleb Kilian was great last year with a 3.24 ERA in 72.1 innings pitched with 63 strikeouts. John McMillon could be back in the weekend rotation after posting a 4.02 ERA last year in 62.2 innings pitched with 73 strikeouts. Erikson Lanning and Caleb Freeman add depth to the pitching staff.
Hitters: OF Max Marusak, INF Dru Baker, INF Dylan Neuse, C Cole Stilwell
Pitchers: LHP Mason Montgomery, RHP Micah Dallas, RHP Bryce Bonnin
“Lineup has a chance to have some length and athleticism 1-9. Should be able to defend with the best of them. Pitching will have depth with a combination of power and pitchability. Team has potential to be one of our best ones yes.” – Head Coach Tim Tadlock
West Virginia (2018 Record: 29-27, 9-15)
The Moutainers had a solid season in 2018 but fell just short after going 2-2 in the Big 12 Tournament.
Outfielder Darius Hill will be back after hitting .329 last year with 41 runs scored, 4 home runs, and 36 RBI. First baseman Marques Inman hit .319 a year ago with 6 home runs and 40 RBI. Tyler Doanes should be back in the middle of the lineup after hitting .317 last season in just 101 at-bats. Outfielder Brandon White hit .289 in 2018, while fellow outfielder Braden Zarbnisky hit .259. Ivan Gonzalez, Isaiah Kearns, Kevin Brophy, and Chase Illig are also expected to play big roles in the lineup this season.
Alek Manoah will lead the rotation as one of the best arms in the country after posting a 4.00 ERA last year in 54 innings pitched with 60 strikeouts. Kade Strowd made 13 starts last year and had a 5.74 ERA in 62.2 innings pitched with 61 strikeouts. Sam Kessler was great out of the bullpen last year with a 2.86 ERA in 28.1 innings pitched with 32 strikeouts and 4 saves. Braden Zarbnisky and Isaiah Kearns will also help add depth to the pitching staff.
Hitters/Fielders: Paul McIntosh, Tevin Tucker, Phillip Dull, Austin Davis
Pitchers: Brock Helverson, Daniel Ouderkirk, Beau Lowery
Outlook for 2019
“I think it’s important to improve our pitching and defense, and those are two things we are working on as we prepare for the season.” – Head Coach Randy Mazey
2019 All-Big 12 Preseason Team
C: Shea Langeliers (Baylor)
1B: Cameron Warren (Texas Tech)
2B: Brian Klein (Texas Tech)
SS: David Hamilton (Texas)
3B: Josh Jung (Texas Tech)
OF: Gabe Holt (Texas Tech)
OF: Darius Hill (West Virginia)
OF: Will Brennan (Kansas State)
DH: Zach Zubia (Texas)
SP: Cody Bradford (Baylor)
SP: Caleb Kilian (Texas Tech)
SP: Nick Lodolo (TCU)
SP: Blair Henley (Texas)
SP: Ryan Zeferjahn (Kansas)
RP: Kyle Hill (Baylor)
RP: Sam Kessler (West Virginia)
RP: Braidyn Fink (Oklahoma)
C – Colin Simpson (Oklahoma State)
C – Jaxx Groshans (Kansas)
1B – Marques Inman (West Virginia)
2B – James Cosentino (Kansas)
SS – Nick Loftin (Baylor)
3B – Davis Wendzel (Baylor)
3B – Brylie Ware (Oklahoma)
OF – Josh Watson (TCU)
DH – Richard Cunningham (Baylor)
SP – Alek Manoah (West Virginia)
SP – Hayden Kettler (Baylor)
SP – Jared Janczak (TCU)
SP – Nathan Wiles (Oklahoma)
Predicted Order to Finish:
1. Texas Tech
6. West Virginia
7. Oklahoma State
9. Kansas State