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New Mexico Boasts Solid Lineup for 2017

Coach Birmingham presents a loaded lineup, as usual
University of New Mexico Athletics

UNM Starting Lineup for 2017

The Lobos lost a lot of power from the 2016 squad and a few good arms from the starting rotation. Will they be able to continue their winning ways and their hitting as they have all along? Well, I wouldn't bet against Coach Birmingham. Here's my guess for the starting lineup and rotation. Coach will hopefully help me out and straighten me out at the same time.

The middle infield is empty but all-everything Stajduhar at third and senior Zoellner both return at the corners. The other starters are gone so some coaching staff head scratching needs to be done. Catching is in good hands as Pratt got a lot of time in while DeVito was hurt last season.

Bozar's Best Guess:

C - Andrew Pratt (SO) - .326 and 5 in 92 ABs.

1B - Jack Zoellner (SR) - .307 and 8 in 231 ABs

2B Jared Mang (SO) - .291 and 3 in 175 ABs (m

SS - ?

3B - Carl Stajduhar (JR) - .331 and 18 in 257 ABs (first team All-MWC and a pre-season first team AA)

OF - Luis Gonzalez (JR) - .381 and 6 in 252 ABs and 18 SBs

OF - Danny Collier (SR) - .405 and 0 in limited ABs

OF - Austin Bell (SO) - .342 and 0 in 73 ABs

DH - Andre Vigil (SR) - .262 and 1 in 126 ABs

SP - Luis Gonzalez (JR) - 3-1 and 5.51 in six starts (2nd team All-MWC)

SP - Tyler Stevens (JR) - 8-4 and 4.11 in 16 starts (first team All-MWC)

SP - Carson Schneider (SR) - 9-4 and 4.68 in 15 starts

SP - Johnathon Tripp (SR) - transfer from Texas Tech

RP - Christian Tripp (SO) - 2-2 and 4.54 with 4 saves (He could be a starter and is the brother of teammate Johnathon Tripp).

Coach’s Comments:

Beau Campana (FR) - He was drafted in the 21st round but here he is. Coach says he may start at second for the Lobos. Remember what I said about him and his 8 home runs at the high school level AND for a middle infielder? A rare commodity.

He also has Jared Mang in LF and not the infield as I do. When push comes to shove, he probably can work both. Since one of the OF positions gets bumped as I have it, he has Danny Collier as the DH. I think he has Bell out of the regular spot and moving in and out of the starting lineup. Now, don’t get upset kid, you have plenty of time to force Coach into a tough choice.

Yeah, but there’s more. Vigil goes to RF so he wants to keep that experience in the lineup.

What did he say about the rotation? He feels it’s a strength and that’s not real typical of a Lobos team. It’s always been hitting, hitting, hitting. Last year pitching was not bad and looks to improve. He has freshman Justin Slaten from East Texas in the mix for a rotation spot. That’s impressive. Coach is also impressed with Cody Dye (FR), Nathaniel Garley (FR), and Drew Gillespie (FR). That could mean they will press all of those in front of them. He said that these guys may have been in the rotation in past years. I’m sure all of the other MWC coaches will want to hear that.

Shortstop is also a question mark in Birmingham’s book. He said juco transfer Andre Gregory is a possibility.

Offhand, I'd say the Lobos have reloaded and are ready to again challenge for the MWC title. The staff is strong, deep, and experienced. Two starters return and that represents 31 starts. Johnathon Tripp is a transfer who might step in to fill any openings in the rotation. His younger brother Christian probably inherits the closer role as the position has been vacated.

The position players have five .300 hitters returning leaving only the middle infield blank. That ain't bad but lacking a double play combination could hurt the overall defense. This appears to be the only hole for the team that coach puts on the field. Others in the MWC should be so lucky.