We have 26 non-conference games each year and without looking at the schedule, our goal should be to win 20 each year. We were 17-8 in 2014 with one snow out. If we win 3 more, play the make up and win (4), that may have tipped the scale toward us hosting a regional. See how important those games are?
We have 30 conference games and without looking at the teams we play, I think we can win half of them.
We will make the SECT and if we can have around 35 wins that will put us back into a regional. When we make a regional anything can happen. I don't see us as a Omaha contender right now or in February. If the young players perform well and some stars arise (all-star type players) then that may change. I foresee the 2016 team as a serious Omaha contender. But for 2015 season, I would think we get to a regional and a super regional. I predicted nothing past a super for 2014 and was in the ballpark.
This is college (of course), so new players arrive all the time and old ones graduate or leave. A new team is born. We have lots of questions and lots of holes to fill. This is why fall baseball is very important and very exciting.
A John Cohen team will always be good on defense. It is his mantra. As of right now, the infield of Britton-3B, Heck and Holland-MIF and Rea at 1B, I see no drop off from the end of 2014. We will be a very solid defense with a smattering of spectacular plays in between.
The outfield heading into July is a big question. Bradford in CF over the years made solid defensive plays. Henderson in RF made tough plays easy. I have as of right now, Cody Brown-LF, Vickerson-CF and Swinarski-RF. Brown and Vickerson showed solid defense in 2014 but someone has to play CF and it seems it is either Brown or Vickerson. Redshirt Freshman Joey Swinarski is new. He should be a true freshman this year but graduated early from HS. He has a ton of talent. Jacob Robson was injured in 2014, so don't forget about him.
Our starting catcher Gavin Collins should be much, much improved from 2014. The problem is backup. We need to find a good backup.
The sticking point with us fans from 2014. College baseball is getting a new ball this year. One that with lower seams should benefit the hitter. Our #2 ranked 2014 recruiting class will be one year older and we will see them in 2015. Humphreys, Collins and Swinarski are the big bats. New comer Holland comes with great hitting credentials. Can Britton become a better hitter in his 4th year? Can Rea get it going in his senior year? Can Kyle Hann and Robson come back from injury and give us offense? Can Daniel Garner do the same?
Our offense is the big question.
Simple fact: we need 3 stud starting pitchers. We need those 3 to give us 90 plus innings each. We have lots of candidates. My wish list to choose from: Trevor Fitts, Preston Brown, Paul Young, Austin Sexton, Dakota Hudson, Vance Tatum. I would love for it to be Hudson, Young and Brown. That would free up Mitchell and Laster for middle relief. I am very, very excited about the LHP staff. We have more than usual and they have talent. I think the staff will be better than it was in 2014.
Heading into 2015, I think defense and pitching will be fine. We have plenty of candidates on the pitching staff. These guys will compete and the rotation should take shape by November. Hitting is the biggest question heading into fall.