#23 Texas A&M Baseball Preview

Texas A&M Aggies

Overall Rank: #23
Conference Rank: #9 SEC
Texas A&M College Baseball Top 44 Team Preview
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A balanced and highly motivated squad returns in 2013 for veteran head coach Rob Childress as the Aggies will be embarking on their first season in the ultracompetitive Southeastern Conference. The 2012 season ended earlier than expected as Texas A&M lost two straight games to Ole Miss and TCU after beating Dayton in the College Station Regional. With specter of the new conference and the passionate Aggieland fan base, it has the feel of another fun dynamic season in College Station.

2012: 43-18, 16-8 (Big 12)
2012 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Rob Childress

Field Players:
The Aggies return several top position players in 2013. Mikey Reynolds is the best all-around returner heading into his senior season.  In 2012 he hit .306, with one homerun and 23 RBI and is huge weapon on the base paths with 21 stolen bases. Troy Stein, a junior catcher, is going to be huge in the development of the new weekend starting pitchers and is a force offensively as well as he hit .304 last season with a pair of homeruns and drove in 25. The depth of this lineup is what is going to help Texas A&M be able to compete right away against the likes of South Carolina and Florida in the Southeastern Conference.

Rafael Pineda is a junior right handed pitcher who will be counted on heavily to set the tone on Friday nights, especially in conference play. Last season Pineda was 5-1 with a 2.71 ERA in 83 innings.  He pitches to contact as he only walked 16 and struck out 44.  Kyle Martin is senior right hander who is going to be critical coming out of the bullpen to close games. In 2012 Martin was 6-5 and had seven saves and struck out 52 in just over 56 innings.  Other candidates for the weekend rotation will be guys like Corey Ray, who made three starts in 2012 and compiled a 2-0 record with a 3.52 earned run average, and Gandy Stubblefield who had four starts as well.

Who to Watch:
Right handed pitcher Grayson Long is the most highly touted member of the incoming class. Long, at 6’6” 190 lbs., brings a big strong frame with room to get stronger and, with openings in the rotation, should have a chance to compete for playing time early for coach Childress.  Rex Hill is a left hander who should be a nice change of pace with his 89 mph fastball, curve and changeup to keep hitters off balance in the aggressive Southeastern Conference.

Final Projection:
The Aggies are going to be plenty battle tested by the time conference play rolls around. They will play Fullerton in a park where it is a challenge to hit in at times against a perennial power in the Titans. A trip to Minute Maid Park in early March will bring matchups against Houston, Rice, and North Carolina. In conference play, the Aggies will get high profile home series against LSU and Georgia and great road challenges at Arkansas, Ole Miss, and Arkansas. If Texas A&M can dial up a little more offense this season, they should be able to safely be in the top half of the conference and be a potential contender for one of the 16 hosts’ bids for the Regional round of play. The biggest thing that could keep them from that is if they don’t develop enough pitching depth to deal with the heavier hitting Southeastern Conference. Overall, the Aggies should be just fine in the Southeastern Conference. They have a top flight stadium, great fans, and a history of winning that should resonate very well on the recruiting trail.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Mikey Reynolds, IF, 216
Hits: Mikey Reynolds, IF, 66
Home Runs: Brandon Wood, OF, 5
RBIs: Brandon Wood, OF, 25; Troy Stein, C, 25; Krey Bratsen, OF,25
Runs: Mikey Reynolds, IF, 55
Stolen Bases: Mikey Reynolds, IF, 21; Krey Bratsen, OF , 21

Wins: Kyle Martin, P, 6
Innings Pitched: Rafael Pineda, P, 83.0
Strikeouts: Kyle Martin, P, 52
Saves: Kyle Martin, P, 7


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