New Mexico Has Hitting Depth - As Usual
Nothin' like having an All American returning to the lineup. How about three? Two hitters and a pitcher. As most of us know, the Lobos never have a problem hitting. They just can't get over the hump and get invited to a regional. I've talked to coach a few times in the past and he's not happy about that. Ah yes, the role of the mid major in college sports; bend over please.
The Lobos hit a ton (.310) in 2015 and the pitching was ok but at least one good arm is gone (junior Toller Boardman; drafted and signed). Senior Aaron Siple is also gone and he was their top hitter. Did they lose any others? Well, yes, as junior Sam Haggerty was also drafted and signed. This team was blessed in that they had only four seniors to go along with the signed draftees. That's not too bad, really. The seniors, besides Siple, were Colton Thomson, Ryan Padilla, and Jake Cole. Padilla hit .280 but mostly off the bench. Thomson started five games and had reasonable luck and 26 IP so he was valuable. Cole had 40 IP and 4 saves in 25 appearances so he was the closer. He didn't appear to have dominant stuff but he WAS the closer and that's an important role on any team. Therefore, the Lobos lose two starting position players, a starting pitcher, and a closer. With the hitters they have, the positions should be able to be filled quite easily. The pitching could be a concern. Coach told me before the season started that he had high hopes for Boardman and he was right in his expectations. He had him for one year. I figure better than not at all.
What returns? How about the three freshmen AA's? The three are starting pitcher Tyler Stevens, who was tops on the staff, 3B Carl Stajduhar (possible POY), and catcher Cory Voss (you know how I feel about catchers). I'm leaving it at that. These three guys along with a bunch of good hitters? No problem. Pitching could use a little shoring up as a starter or two in the rotation will be hard to find.
Coach Birmingham never has any trouble recruiting good players and here's the list.
Cole Anderson, OF - drafted and signed
Austin Bell, OF - undrafted
Aaron Corral, INF - undrafted
Fernando Fernandez-Beltran, LHP - undrafted
Austin Isenhart, LHP - undrafted
Jared Mang, INF - undrafted
Erick Migueles, OF - undrafted
Gage O'Brien, RHP - undrafted
Andrew Pratt, C - undrafted
Peyton Remy, RHP - undrafted
Donnie Sands, INF/RHP - drafted and signed
Austin Treadwell, OF/RHP - undrafted
Cristian Tripp, RHP - undrafted
Jacob Westerman, INF - undrafted
Coach recruits quality knowing that he will lose some. He has some pretty good ones that didn't sign and will show up pretty soon to play college ball. Well done!