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Author Topic: Post Fall World Series Lineup  (Read 1822 times)

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ucahogfan

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Post Fall World Series Lineup
« on: October 21, 2017, 05:47:39 pm »

Starting Lineup

Catcher - Grant Koch (Junior) - We have the best catcher in college baseball on this team in Grant Koch.  The power is legit and he could be a 15-20 HR guy this year.  The arm is plus as well, but he can improve on the other facets of catching.  Still, we are in excellent hands with Koch this year.

Backups - Zack Plunkett (RS Junior), Casey Opitz (Freshman), Brady Disher (Freshman) - While catching depth was a huge issue last year, it won't be this year.  Plunkett and Opitz could be starting on a lot of teams in the country, but they will see plenty of action this year.

First Base - Jared Gates (Senior) - He was the top performer during last year's Fall World Series, but an unfortunate injury derailed his season IMO.  He still showed plenty of pop in his bat, but the lack of non-con ABs hurt him.  I think we see him just explode this year and be a .300+ hitter with double digit HRs.

Backups - Jordan McFarland (Sophomore), Derek Ripp (Freshman) - McFarland has a rare combo of power and speed and I thought he would be the 1B this year, but it seems like DVH has Gates penciled in.  Ripp has shown some big time pop this fall, but he might be a good RS candidate given the depth on this team.

Second Base - Carson Shaddy (RS Senior) - He had a disappointing junior season and he still hit .280 with 8 HRs.  Most people would be beyond happy with that type of production from their 2B, but it was Shaddy's worst BA in his career.  He could easily be a .330+ hitter with double digit HRs which is AA level production at 2B.  He also has improved defensively and is no longer an adventure out there.

Backups - Hunter Wilson (RS Junior), Jack Kenley (Sophomore) - The depth on this team is insane.  Both Kenley and Wilson are elite defenders who have shown a little bit with the bat.

Third Base - Casey Martin (Freshman) - I'm sure an upperclassmen like Wilson or Kenley will get the first crack at 3B, but I think Martin will see plenty of action there as well.  DVH has said he is our fastest base runner so he adds another element to this team which can just hit the ball a long way up and down the lineup.  I think he also has some pop in his bat.

Backups - Hunter Wilson (RS Junior), Jack Kenley (Sophomore)

Shortstop - Jax Biggers (Junior) - Biggers was one of our top hitters last year even though DVH had him down towards the bottom of the lineup.  He doesn't have the intimating power of players like Fletcher, Koch, or Bonfield, but he does an excellent job of squaring the ball up and spraying line drives everywhere.  He still hit 4 HRs last year and could be a 5-7 HR type guy this year.  Plus, it is hard to top his defense.

Backups - Jack Kenley (Sophomore)

Left Field - Eric Cole (Junior) - I think he sat out the FWS with an injury and he has flown under the radar among returning players, but he will be in the lineup.  He got off to a terrible start last year, but was one of our best hitters by the end of the year.  He is like Biggers where he sprays line drives all of the field and has shown some surprising pop at times.  While it is probably not going to happen, I think Cole has double digit HR power.  If anything, he is probably a 20 2B guy unless teams play as deep in the OF this year as they did last year which they probably will.  He is also an excellent defender with a plus arm.

Backups - Luke Bonfield (Senior), Heston Kjerstad (Freshman), Cole Turney (Freshman), Bryce Bonnin (Freshman) - Turney, Bonnin, and Kjerstad would probably start on most teams in the country, but they are going to struggle to find ABs this year IMO given what we know with returning players.  The depth is just ridiculous.

Center Field - Dominic Fletcher (Sophomore) - He started off strong and finished strong, but struggled in the middle of the year like a lot of freshmen do.  Without hitting a big slump, Fletcher is probably a .320 hitter this year with 15-20 HRs.  While he isn't the fastest guy out there, he is a great defender with an insane baseball IQ and a strong arm.

Backups - Heston Kjerstad (Freshman)

Right Field - Evan Lee (Sophomore) - He is a truly special talent with potential to be an impact player both ways.  The plate discipline and base running are both elite.  He also does a good job of hitting line drives.  He is probably a 5 HR type guy this year, but with plenty of doubles.  The arm is also elite as he can hit 95 off the mound.

Backups - Heston Kjerstad (Freshman), Cole Turney (Freshman), Bryce Bonnin (Freshman)

Designated Hitter - Luke Bonfield (Senior) - Bonfield is a decent defender, but his bat plays.  He has been a middle of the order bat the last two years and nothing should be different next year.  Like Shaddy, he is probably a little disappointed about last year and will want to show that he is a truly elite hitter.  He has 15-20 HR power, but it will probably be more in the 10-12 HR range which is still big time pop at the college level.

The Batting Order
1.  Jax Biggers - SS
2.  Eric Cole - LF
3.  Luke Bonfield - DH
4.  Dominic Fletcher - CF
5.  Grant Koch - C
6.  Carson Shaddy - 2B
7.  Jared Gates - 1B
8.  Evan Lee - RF
9.  Casey Martin - 3B
« Last Edit: October 21, 2017, 06:21:00 pm by ucahogfan »
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ucahogfan

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Re: Post Fall World Series Lineup
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2017, 05:47:49 pm »

The Weekend Rotation
Friday - Blaine Knight (Junior) - We have one of the best Friday night starters in the country in Blaine Knight.  Having an ace returning is huge especially one that turned down the potential of being drafted very high.  The command is really good and the stuff is just as good.  I think he has also added weight which is huge and hopefully means he seems a little increase in velo.  Even if he is still 90-95 like he was last year, he will be a great pitcher.

Saturday - Isaiah Campbell (RS Sophomore) - Kendall Rogers tweeted out this week that Campbell has been working 90-94 this fall and is back healthy.  Having him in the Saturday spot basically gives us another ace going and could be a high level pick if he lives up to the potential he has shown in the summer and fall of 2016.

Sunday - Keaton McKinney (RS Junior) - This is the most notable change I have made after the report that McKinney is ahead of schedule and already throwing off the mound.  It is also encouraging to hear he is pain free while throwing for the first time ever.  He has seen a lot of action in his career at Arkansas and was a huge factor helping get us to Omaha in 2015.  I think we see a version of McKinney like we expected when he was coming to campus where he was 90-94 with that change.  He has been extremely effective working 88-90.  He will be unstoppable working low to mid 90s.

The Rest of the Staff
Midweek Starter - Kacey Murphy (Junior) - Having Murphy as a midweek starter is not a knock against him.  He would be a weekend starter on most teams in the country, but that just shows the depth we have.  He got better as the season went along and was one of our top arms the last month.  He works both sides of the plate with that fastball that sits around 90 and then strikes guys out with that nasty curveball.

Closer - Evan Lee (Sophomore) - This might be the best way to utilize Lee this year especially since we have plenty of depth to take over in the OF.  I think he should be used as the traditional 3 out type closer since we will lose the DH if he comes in the game from the field.  Having him go in short spurts might mean we see him 92-95 with that curveball which has been in the low 80s with serious bite this fall.

Setup - Jake Reindl (Junior) - He is the crafty arm who was our top arm out of the pen last year.  He doesn't have 95 in the arm like a lot of players on this staff, but he does have a fastball which is tough to square up as well as slider which is tough for hitters.

Setup - Matt Cronin (Sophomore) - Like Lee, he is a power arm LHP with a nice curveball.  He was mainly 90-94 last year with a fastball that just explodes on hitters.  He is a guy to have in case we need a big K.  He does see his command waiver at times, but a lot of freshmen do before throwing more strikes later in their career.

Setup - Barrett Loseke (Junior) - There is a ton of potential from Loseke as he can be 90-96 with a swing and miss slider.  His biggest trouble so far at Arkansas is throwing strikes, but he is an excellent arm to have if he figures it out.

Matchup Arm - Angus Denton (Sophomore) - His sidearm style makes him a go to guy if teams have an excellent RHH who struggles with side arm pitching.

The Freshmen
Bryce Bonnin - RHP - One of the highest rated recruits we have gotten to campus as he could have been a 2nd round pick had he been signable last year.  Like Lee, he could potentially make an impact on both sides of the ball.  On the mound, he can be 90-96 with a plus slider and could be a big arm for us this year.

Jackson Rutledge - RHP - He will be an intimidating presence on the mound at 6-8 and has the power stuff to back it up.  DVH has said he has mainly been 92-96 this fall with a plus curve and just wild enough to scare hitters while filling up the zone.  He could be a big time arm out of the back end of the pen or a midweek starter.

Hunter Milligan - LHP - He has been a well known arm around the state for a long time as he was hitting 90 several years ago.  While I don't think he has added much velo since then, he has added pitchability which is a nice thing to have out of a freshman.  I don't think he threw much in the fall, but the potential is there.

Caleb Bolden - RHP - He was a great add in June after being drafted pretty high.  I don't think he has the raw velo that Rutledge and Bonnin have, but it sounds like he does have some good pitchability.

Zebulon Vermillion - RHP - Another taller player at 6-5, he has hit 94 in the past so he does have some power in his arm.  He is yet another talented arm that came in with this freshmen class.

Kole Ramage - RHP - He doesn't throw as hard as the other freshmen, but is more in the Reindl / Kopps mold of fastball right around 90, but the breaking stuff and movement is what makes him effective.  A lot of times, those guys see some innings early in their career.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2017, 07:10:53 pm by ucahogfan »
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ucahogfan

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Re: Post Fall World Series Lineup
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2017, 05:47:57 pm »

This is so much to like about this team.  Kendall Rogers currently has us as the favorite to win the SEC West this year which has some talented teams in 2018.

Offensively, Heston Kjerstad was our best bat in the fall, but who do you take out of the OF?  Lee hit like .350 out in California this summer while Cole and Fletcher are both returning starters who performed well for a very good offense last year.  We return 7 everyday players including 59 of the 83 HRs we hit last year.  I think this is another team that hits 80+ HRs again this year.  I think we see Koch, Fletcher, Bonfield, Shaddy, and Gates all hit 10+ HRs at a minimum with Cole, Lee, and Biggers being 5+ HR threats.  I think we also run a little more than last year adding Lee and Martin to the every day lineup although I think the reason why we didn't run as much was do to our power.

Defensively, I think this will be the best defense we have seen under DVH.  You have an OF which will run a lot of fly balls down and keep runners from taking the extra base.  Biggers is one of the better defenders in the country while Koch has a cannon on his arm.  Plus, most of the players have another year of experience under their belt.

On the mound, I am a little worried about the depth in the pen, but this is one of the more talented staffs we have seen under DVH.  Our weekend rotation will be one of the best in the country and the rest of the arms have shown potential.

While we are bringing in a top 5 recruiting class, how much are we going to rely on them this year?  We had just about everything go right in the draft last year both in the recruiting class and returning players.  The depth on this team is just insane on the offense.  I think this offense will make some pitching staffs beg for mercy during the season as this will probably be the best offense under DVH.  The leadership on this team is also going to be a key.  You have veteran players like Carson Shaddy, Luke Bonfield, and Keaton McKinney who have played in Omaha before and know what it takes to get there.  Jared Gates is another senior you like to have.  Typically DVH doesn't like seniors, but having three in our lineup like we will have is huge.

The expectation for this team is Omaha.  There is just to much to like not to expect them in Omaha in June.  Can it be baseball season already?
« Last Edit: October 21, 2017, 07:26:34 pm by ucahogfan »
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Kevin

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Re: Post Fall World Series Lineup
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2017, 08:59:05 am »

thanks for the info.

dvh has really beefed up the schedule also
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flippinhogmana

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Re: Post Fall World Series Lineup
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2017, 09:11:18 am »

ditto to what Keven said UCA.  I appreciate your analysis and there isn't much to disagree with it on.
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ModestoHOG63

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Re: Post Fall World Series Lineup
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2017, 03:04:46 pm »

we look pretty dang salty.  I'm pumped!
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bulldog04

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Re: Post Fall World Series Lineup
« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2017, 03:19:46 pm »

I like the idea of Lee as closer as he seems to have that bulldog mentality.  My guess is that Murphy or Lee will start out as the 3rd starter until KM gets it going.  As it has been said before, we will need some freshmen to show up like and bring depth to our bullpen.
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Amityvillehogger

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Re: Post Fall World Series Lineup
« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2017, 04:26:10 pm »

I like the idea of Lee as closer as he seems to have that bulldog mentality.  My guess is that Murphy or Lee will start out as the 3rd starter until KM gets it going.  As it has been said before, we will need some freshmen to show up like and bring depth to our bullpen.

Give Murphy the 3rd starter shot first. He’s proven it on the field.
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ThisTeetsTaken

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Re: Post Fall World Series Lineup
« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2017, 05:52:36 pm »

Great stuff UCA.  Can't wait to watch this season unfold.  Could be a good'n.
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Knot2brite

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Re: Post Fall World Series Lineup
« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2017, 07:43:53 pm »

Bullpen depth concerns me...lack of a steady third baseman concerns me...these are my worries before the season starts...
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hogwild04

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Re: Post Fall World Series Lineup
« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2017, 11:08:50 pm »

 I like UCAs line-up, after watching and tracking the entire fall, not just fall world series, that is about i had it going into the season.   I do think 3rd is not a lock, but we have enough talent to fill it.  As bullpen, we have some good 90 plus freshman to get it done, (Rutledge, Bolden) I see Bonin as a closer this season. Seeing him in the fall he looked much more comfortable coming in for a inning or 2 and throwing gas, hate that after hyper extending his knee he was pulled from defense and hitting, had one of the higher avgs until then,  I can see him being a back-up this year to about every position.  The only one I may have to pencil in would be Herjsted, I cannot see him sitting for long, he can be a impact player this year.  With the experience and returners, that is about all i see as freshman getting multiple innings.  We have a great recruiting class this year and it adds depth and future is bright, with a great group returning from a team that hosted a regional, that will include 2 top pitchers, a incredible catcher, SS, and solid outfield, a very experienced  2nd baseman,  it is unreal to think what  Arkansas will do over the next 3 years.  To the other underclassman, be patient, be ready if your number is called and be ready to step it up for the 2 to 3 years after this one, learn from the upperclassman and let this be the start of a 3 year consecutive trip to CWS.  Did I mention on of the best coaching staffs in the nation.  LOL   Counting the days
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Arch Hog

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Re: Post Fall World Series Lineup
« Reply #11 on: October 24, 2017, 09:03:29 am »

Thanks UCA.  Great and well thought analysis.  This is the reason I love EI as opposed to the sewer of negativity other spots have become.
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dotnet

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Re: Post Fall World Series Lineup
« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2017, 10:45:29 am »


The expectation for this team is Omaha.  There is just to much to like not to expect them in Omaha in June. 

This has less to do with the team and more to do with it being 2018 and time for the rotation
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dotnet

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Re: Post Fall World Series Lineup
« Reply #13 on: October 24, 2017, 10:52:52 am »

I do think 3rd is not a lock, but we have enough talent to fill it.  As bullpen, we have some good 90 plus freshman to get it don

I think you hit on the best part of this team.  Every year there is someone we all have penciled in who just dissapoints for whatever reason.  This happens in the minors and the majors too. 

the key with this team is the quality options to fill in if/when that happens is really crazy.  UCA put up a lineup I agree with but leaves Mcfarland, Kjersted, Bonnin, and eventually Turney  as options to fill in at a number of locations.  That type of depth is unreal.  The only place where this team would be really hurt by losing a guy is SS and frontline pitching. 

If Martin struggles, it seems like worst case scenario is you have a plus defender there or you move Gates to third and let someone else play first.

I can't believe that McFarland isn't projected as a starter - not saying its wrong.  I would still be equally excited about this season if you told me he was the starter at first and projected to be a middle of the order bat.  I think he has that kind of talent, and he may not start?   i do think the most likely scenario is a L/R platoon with him and gates, for what thats worth. 
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Rock City Razorback

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Re: Post Fall World Series Lineup
« Reply #14 on: October 24, 2017, 03:27:56 pm »

Scary lineup all around! Nation better be put on alert, we're coming for Omaha and not settling for just getting there!
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ucahogfan

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Re: Post Fall World Series Lineup
« Reply #15 on: October 24, 2017, 09:34:29 pm »

hogwild,

As far as Bonnin not seeing a ton of ABs in the fall after the injury, that was almost certainly DVH playing it safe with such a talented player.  Let's also not forget he had plenty of ABs this summer in California against D1 pitchers and showed pretty well out there.  He might get a crack at 3B as well.

Kjerstad is such an exciting player from what I have heard from DVH this fall.  He did grow from a top of the order type hitter when he committed to a middle of the order type bat now.  I also think he has plenty of speed as an OF.  However, who do you take out of the lineup?  So much depth on the team this year.
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ucahogfan

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Re: Post Fall World Series Lineup
« Reply #16 on: October 24, 2017, 09:41:50 pm »

dotnet,

Kenley has shown some nice tools defensively as a SS so while losing Biggers would be terrible, we have a solid backup option there.  It also seems like he is much more confident as a hitter which is huge.

I really wanted to put McFarland in my starting lineup; however, it seems like Gates is the 1B in the upcoming year.  McFarland's tools are just so unique in terms of his athleticism and raw power at his size.  If he is an everyday starter, he is primed for a big year IMO.

There is so much to like about this freshmen class offensively (and on the mound).  Opitz was a potential top 10 round pick as a C and I believe has shown excellent potential this fall.  Turney brings some of the best raw power we have seen out of a freshmen.  Bonnin hit over .300 against college pitching.  Kjerstad has been maybe our best hitter this fall.  Martin is one of the best hitters to come out of this state in a while.  Any other year, we might see several of them starting; however, the 2018 Hogs are one of the most experienced teams in the country.
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hogwild04

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Re: Post Fall World Series Lineup
« Reply #17 on: October 24, 2017, 10:28:19 pm »

 I think all the prior post are great comments and all make sense, and we all agree the freshman class is one of the best ever and think most would be starting for any other school they might have gone to, but this is not a typical team with the experience coming back, and not that some of the freshman are incredible, just hard to imagine not giving the first crack to the returners.  I'm not a coach anymore, but DVH is in a great situation with the depth.  Dotnet made a point with someone will have a shaky season, always happens, will be interesting to see with the depth how long DVH will let it go before making changes.   I think DVH  will make the right choice for the starting line-up because I don't see a wrong one. 
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PorkRyan

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Re: Post Fall World Series Lineup
« Reply #18 on: October 25, 2017, 10:57:20 am »

I think Lee will end up at 1B to allow Kjerstad to get in the lineup, that could move Fletcher to RF with his arm.  Gates, Martin, and Kenley will battle it out at 3rd and I agree with UCA that Martin wins out in the end.  I could also see McFarland getting into the lineup ahead of Cole in LF. I expect Wilson to be a late game defensive sub at 3rd or 2b.  Plunkett will give Koch a rest and that will be huge for him.  I'm not sure if Opitz has the arm to stick at catcher.  It is crazy how much depth we have.  Regardless of how it works out we are going to have some excellent players on the bench. 

I think Murphy is still expected to be the #3, at least to start.  Anything we can get out of Keaton is a bonus and if he does come back and can take over the #3 spot then then I will be thrilled for him and the team.  That would solve any depth issues on the mound.  I also like Lee as the closer.  I think Cronin and Bolden are the midweek guys to start the season.
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Re: Post Fall World Series Lineup
« Reply #19 on: October 25, 2017, 04:44:12 pm »

I think Lee will end up at 1B

Gates will be our first baseman.
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ucahogfan

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Re: Post Fall World Series Lineup
« Reply #20 on: October 28, 2017, 03:19:36 pm »

I think Lee will end up at 1B to allow Kjerstad to get in the lineup, that could move Fletcher to RF with his arm.  Gates, Martin, and Kenley will battle it out at 3rd and I agree with UCA that Martin wins out in the end.  I could also see McFarland getting into the lineup ahead of Cole in LF. I expect Wilson to be a late game defensive sub at 3rd or 2b.  Plunkett will give Koch a rest and that will be huge for him.  I'm not sure if Opitz has the arm to stick at catcher.  It is crazy how much depth we have.  Regardless of how it works out we are going to have some excellent players on the bench. 

I think Murphy is still expected to be the #3, at least to start.  Anything we can get out of Keaton is a bonus and if he does come back and can take over the #3 spot then then I will be thrilled for him and the team.  That would solve any depth issues on the mound.  I also like Lee as the closer.  I think Cronin and Bolden are the midweek guys to start the season.
It was hard to leave Kjerstad out of the lineup, but we return one of if not the top CF in college baseball in Dominic Fletcher, a .350 hitter most of last season in Eric Cole (spent the first third of the season hitting about .100), one of the potential top two way players in collge baseball in Evan Lee who throws 93-94 from the mound and then also hits .350 and showed more power than expected this fall, and a returning two year starter and senior Luke Bonfield.  Who does he replace in that group?

3B will be an interesting position this year considering that Gates has moved over to 1B, but DVH has said Martin is turning in run times down the 1B line at 4 flat which is just elite speed.  Not many players run that time down the line from the RH side.  That means you could legitimately throw an 80 on his speed.  With the power we have in the lineup, having someone who can wreck havoc on the bases like that will be nice to have.  Kenley is also a very good option especially if he has improved his hitting like it looked like he has.

I feel bad for McFarland.  He is such a talented player, but looks to be in a numbers crunch when it comes to a starting position.  I hope he still gets plenty of mid week ABs so he can go into 2019 ready to lead the team with Fletcher and Lee.

Murphy will still make for an elite Sunday starter if he shows us what he did down the stretch consistently this year.  Sounds like he had a very good fall.

It sounds like Bolden has a bright future for us.  While he isn't mid 90s like Rutledge and Bonnin, he still has shown the coaches a lot this fall.

For anyone who has not looked at Kendall Rogers' fall report about the Hogs, I would highly suggest you read it.  It definitely got me more excited about the Hogs this spring.
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bulldog04

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Re: Post Fall World Series Lineup
« Reply #21 on: October 28, 2017, 03:47:58 pm »


Murphy will still make for an elite Sunday starter if he shows us what he did down the stretch consistently this year.  Sounds like he had a very good falll
I want Murphy to improve on his glove side fastball location. That hindered him last year. Go soft way and bust righties inside like Glavine did.  It worked out okay for him
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navyhog24

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Re: Post Fall World Series Lineup
« Reply #22 on: October 28, 2017, 06:55:24 pm »

Does anyone have link for the Kendall Rogers report?
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TebowHater

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Re: Post Fall World Series Lineup
« Reply #23 on: October 29, 2017, 08:13:42 pm »

Does anyone have link for the Kendall Rogers report?

https://d1baseball.com/fall-report/fall-report-arkansas-3/

Here it is but it is behind a pay wall :(
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