The Air Force Academy Will be Young if Nothing Else
This is a last place team in the MWC and they lose four good hitters. The pitching staff wasn't that good and they lose two starters. the rule-of-thumb here is if your team is a veteran team and still is not very good, then you are in trouble. I'm not being mean as I'm a fan of San Jose State and they were not very good the last two years and they had mostly seniors. It takes awhile to repair such things. The academies can't use juco transfers for quick fixes so must rely on the frosh to help. The Falcons have a good class of recruits coming in and most will get a chance to start either as a position player or a pitcher. Middle infield is gone (Thorne and Roberts) but two good shortstops are coming in. Two of the outfield players Baska and Bast) are gone and one returns as a sophomore. One of those outfielders was the center fielder. To complete the decimation of the "up the middle strength" catcher Garrett Custons is also gone and is a pro. Since the "up the middle strength" starts with the catcher, let's start with the catcher. I'm thinking junior Brian Sicher (.242 and 1) is the heir apparent but I also believe he'll be pushed by two incoming freshmen in Hanlin and Neubeck. Experience really counts at this position. The two corner positions look fairly solid with Kline (best hitter) at first and Saleck (.258 and 4) looking ok with some pop. But guess what? I'm putting highly rated Griffin Jax at third and it's his position to lose. Who plays second and short? I'm choosing two highly rated freshman over anything the Falcons have returning. Please remember this was a last place team. They've got some great frosh coming in; use ‘em. Outfielders? Long looks like he needs to play a bit more as he hit fairly well. Can he catch a ball? Draws is an incumbent so I'll give him a pass. He has to pick it up at bat. The other returning players don't inspire much in me so I'm going to have to go with a freshman (again) as John Gamble gets a nod from me.
This team will have to find two starting pitchers also as both Bertelson and Baker now joining the roles as active duty officers. Returning pitchers Cameron White and Steve Trojan probably will start as they had a lot of starts last year. They will have had to improve a lot over last season. Their numbers are nothing to brag about. Bo Wilson looks to repeat as the closer as he had no starts last season. The pitching needs work. Incoming frosh who might help are Jacob DeVries and Nathan Stanford. I was expecting to put Sam Ashey in as a starting pitcher but he wasn't to be found on the roster. Who knows.
C Brian Sicher - .242 and 1
1B Seth Kline - .356 and 2 (best on team)
2B Russell Williams - freshman
SS Anthony Denkinger - freshman
3B Griffin Jax - freshman
OF Mariano Long - .298 and 1
OF Spencer Draws - .248 and 0
OF John Gamble - freshman
DH Peter Johnson - .313 and 1
SP Cameron White - 3-11 and 5.21
SP Steven Trojan - 4-7 and 5.99
SP Jacob DeVries - freshman
SP Nathan Stanford - freshman
RP Bo Wilson - 1-0 and 5.40 with 2 saves
The starting lineup is young without a doubt. The Falcons have a lot of high powered frosh coming in that deserve a chance. The Falcons didn't do very well last year and the only standout is Seth Kline. The rest of the positions appear to be ripe for the picking; that is, if you're a freshman. Four positions filled by newbies. The pitching staff looks the same way. New blood filling the holes. That's a total of six freshmen filling starting positions both in the field and on the mound. A young team just got younger and they could surprise.