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Aztecs Return Veteran Lineup for 2014 Season

The Aztecs have few holes to fill in position players as most return. Two starting pitchers return and a freshman AA as a possible closer does also. Veteran experience is always important but will this be enough to boost their chances at a MWC championship? Could be. The Aztecs also have a new pitching coach with a ton of experience which will help with the veterans as well as some good frosh.

Will Aztecs celebrate even more in 2014?
Will Aztecs celebrate even more in 2014?
Kenny Olinger

SDSU Looks to Repeat NCAA Appearance with Veteran 2014 Lineup

The Aztecs had about an average a year as you can get in 2013. They broke even overall and the same within the MWC. The best part was that they finished strong and made it into a NCAA regional by winning the MWC Tournament (don't get me started). They lost both the regional games but they WERE there. What will they do for an encore? Well, first, they return a lot of their best hitters and positions seem to be in pretty good shape with an upgrade needed in an outfield position and a "who knows?" for the DH. Pitching is in fair shape but two starters are needed as the two top arms are gone. Freshman AA Bubba Derby returns as my choice for closer.

The biggest loss in the field will be catcher Jake Romanski who was followed in the batting order by Brad Haynal (DH) whom I think might be the heir apparent. The infield appears set with some good bats and only shortstop Evan Potter might have to worry a bit as he hasn't shown he can hit much. Freshman Andrew Brown might get a look there. If Potter is great at his position, he probably doesn't have to worry. Center field is set with Allen and one of the corner outfield positions looks ok with Munoz. That leaves one opening in my estimation. I see no incoming frosh as an outfielder so that will have to be a returning player. I'll have to take a guess here and go with Spencer Thornton as he returns from an injury-plagued year.

Pitching was ok last year; pretty much like the hitting. They lose the top starter in Ryan Doran and he takes 16 starts and 111 innings with him. The two other starters with the most starts return as Walby and Cederoth look to be the one and two guys for the weekend. That leaves two openings in the starting rotation and two freshmen look pretty good (if you read my recruits article). I'll plug both Seeburger and Gatica in those holes and see if they can hold on or get replaced. Derby got All-American recognition as a freshman and that was due mostly to 44 strikeouts in 35 IP. I'd call that closer stuff and that's where I put him. He had only one start so you never know what coach has in mind for him.

C - Brad Haynal - .241 and 3
1B - Ryan Muno - .312 and 4
2B - Tim Zier - .341 and 1
SS - Evan Potter - .195 and 0
3B - Tyler France - .317 and 5
OF - Greg Allen - .299 and 0
OF - Matt Munoz - .298 and 2
OF - Spencer Thornton - injured
DH - Andrew Brown - freshman

SP - Philip Walby - 5-3 and 3.82
SP - Michael Cederoth - 3-9 and 4.25
SP - Brett Seeburger - freshman
SP - Tyler Gatica - freshman
RP - Bubba Derby - 4-3 and 3.79

Coach Gwynn also brought a new pitching coach on board with loads of experience and some major league time to boot. Look to see an improved pitching staff and a move up in the standings. They could surprise many folks and win the MWC.