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UNLV Baseball Needs New Offense in 2016

The Rebels had a veteran group for position players in 2015 which produced but didn't win. That's always a strange combination but that's what happened. Pitching should return a good group of young arms but the offense needs to be reworked. AND, as far as I can tell, Oakley (above) didn't sign a free agent contract so he will return.

Kenny Oakley should be the leader on the mound in 2016
Kenny Oakley should be the leader on the mound in 2016
Eric Toliver

Is 2015 Forgotten For UNLV Baseball

I certainly hope so as last season was forgettable. The team was picked by many to be in the race for the MWC title but had a miserable year. They finished just ahead of San Jose State which isn't saying much but this is a new year. The Rebels had a pretty good collection of talent. How much did they lose and who returns?

Did they lose any seniors? Was this a veteran group? Yes to both. Eric VanMeetren, Matt Thomas, Joey Swanner, Morgan Stotts, John Morey, Edgar Montes, Joey Lauria, A.J. Hernandez, and Dylan Ellis were all seniors. In addition to that big group of talent, two juniors were drafted in Joey Armstrong and Bryan Bonnell. They both signed and are also gone to the team. Let's see how much this hurts besides a lot.

VanMeetren was a regular who hit .301 with 5 home runs. That's pretty good production. Swanner had, for him, a bad year and had plenty of ABs. He hit only .172 but I'm certain he'll be missed. Stotts had a good year at .280 and 2 in 218 ABs. Montes was another regular who hit .306 and 3. Do you see where this is going? Hernandez didn't have a very good year but was valuable off the bench. Ellis was another good hitter at .313 and 2. Armstrong hit .277 and 2. So in my book, that is a group with six starters and an asset off the bench. That's a hard hit.

I could find no stats on Morey so he may be back. Bonnell should have been one of the better pitchers in the MWC but I think he must have been hurt. The pros liked him. Lauria was valuable and effective out of the pen. In other words, the staff was left pretty much alone.

Three good starting pitchers are coming back in Oakley, Myers, and Bohall. Both Bohall and Myers were freshmen last season so the starting pitching looks like it's in good hands. The offense comes back pretty much empty-handed but Squier is a returning freshman that looks good. He'll need a lot of help. The top hitters are gone.

As I've done in previous posts of this nature, I don't talk about the quality of the recruits coming in, just if they got drafted and signed. How about this group?

Nick Ames, 1B - undrafted

Tevita Gerber, LHP - undrafted

Kyle Isbel, INF - undrafted

Dean Kremer, RHP - drafted and unsigned

Sam Pastrone, RHP - drafted and signed

Austin Pritchard, 1B - undrafted

Larry Quaney III, RHP - undrafted

Max Smith, OF/P - undrafted

Vince Taormina, C - undrafted

Overall, it looks as if the coaching staff might have to go back to the drawing board. Drawing board. Hmm. Do architects and draftsmen still use those? Anyway, the offense has been emptied of production while the pitching will be decent if not damned good.