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UNLV Will Again be Power to be Reckoned With in the MWC

The Rebels lived and died by pitching, mostly, last season. They return two starters from that solid 2014 rotation and the closer. The outfield is very strong with four players that coach will have troubles juggling. The infield is a little dicey with first base being a hole since Patrick Armstrong left and took his eight home runs with him. A number of excellent recruits might edge their way into the lineup this year.

Bryan Bonnell will be the leader in the weekend rotation
Bryan Bonnell will be the leader in the weekend rotation
Daniel Ward

Rebels Return Quality Players to Reload for 2015

UNLV had the best starting pitching in the MWC last season and I thought that would carry them a long way in the post season. However, the team lost ace Erick Fedde and never really recovered. Gone are Fedde and another great starter in John Richy but they get back two other good ones in Bryan Bonnell and Kenny Oakley along with closer Brayden Torres. The pitching staff will be strong again but a third starter needs to emerge. A lot of the recruits are pitchers so expect to see one of them to compete for the Sunday game. You'll definitely see some of them in mid-week games. The starting lineup loses two of the top three hitters and that's going to hurt as the infield has some openings that need to be filled. Justin Jones is the only guy that had a lot of starts at one position so he's in. The rest of the infield is a question mark. The outfield is definitely the strong suit for the team as they have four good ones so I put Joey Armstrong as the DH. Of the four listed, I think they will all get substantial ABs but I'm not sure at all where they will all play. As you can see, they are all quality hitters. Oh, what to do. The Rebels will be good but maybe not as much as last year.

C - Erik VanMeetren (SR) - .291 and 2
1B - Payton Squier (FR)
2B - Justin Jones (JR) - .267 and 3
SS - Austin Anderson (FR)
3B - A. J. Hernandez (SR) - .286
OF - Joey Swanner (SR) - .292
OF - Morgan Stotts (SR) - .337 and 3
OF - Edgar Montes (SR) - .296 and 3
DH - Joey Armstrong (JR) - .302 and 4

SP - Bryan Bonnell (JR) - 7-5 and 2.90
SP - Kenny Oakley (JR) - 4-8 and 3.06
SP - Cody Roper (JR) - 1-2 and 6.43
RP - Brayden Torres (JR) - 2-1 and 1.93 with 9 saves (36 strikeouts in 32 IP)

As usual, when I'm at wit's end as to who will play a position, I put in a recruit. I mean, wouldn't you, if they have solid credentials? Both Squier and Anderson were good enough to be drafted but opted for college and I'll bet Coach Chambers is de-lighted. I have the two frosh in positions of question (at least for me) but first base is a big hole with Patrick Armstrong gone. He owned that position and it's going to be hard to fill. We'll see. Plenty of quality here.