#42 Loyola Marymount Baseball 2015 Preview

Loyola Marymount Lions

Overall Rank: #42
Conference Rank: #1 WCC
#42 Loyola Marymount Baseball 2015 Preview
Loyola Marymount Team Page


There is a lot of room for optimism for Loyola Marymount in 2015. The Lions saw their top two pitchers drafted in last June’s MLB Draft, but both opted to return to school. Senior Colin Welmon, 10-2 with a 2.37 ERA in 2014, was a 34th round pick and red-shirt junior Trevor Megill, who missed last year due to injury, was a third round selection. Joining them are 13 players who started either 25 games in the field or logged at least 30 innings on the mound last year, headlined by this year’s sophomore class that produced two Freshman All-Americans in 2014.

2014: 32-24, 17-10
2014 Postseason: None
Coach: Jason Gill

Field Players:
The Lions brought in a highly touted recruiting class last season and those players delivered in their first year on campus. Outfielder Austin Miller and shortstop David Fletcher each earned Freshman All-American and First Team All-WCC honors after impressive freshman campaigns. The duo were two of just four Lions to start all 56 games and were the Lions top two hitters. Miller, the WCC Freshman of the Year, hit a team high .374 and also led the team in on base percentage, .474, slugging percentage, .451, and stolen bases, 25. Fletcher was equally as impressive, hitting .329 with 28 RBI’s and 17 stolen bases. Last year’s WCC Defensive Player of the Year, Fletcher followed up his impressive spring with an All-Star selection in the Cape Cod baseball League. Sophomore infielder Ted Boeke will join them in the starting lineup after hitting .289 last season, earning 35 starts. Loyola Marymount also returns a solid veteran presence to their lineup as seniors Tanner Donnels, Jimmy Jack and David Edwards are back for their final season of eligibility. Both Donnels and Edwards were regulars in the outfield and infield, respectively, and should be again in 2015. Donnels hit .321 and was second on the team with 36 RBI’s, while Edwards posted a .354 on base percentage after drawing a team high 27 base on balls. Jack transferred in from junior college last year and earned 38 starts in his first season. The first baseman hit .301 and led the team in home runs, 4, and was tied for the lead in slugging percentage, .451. Jack is coming off a summer where he was named an All-Star in the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League and he could be poised for a big senior year. Two more players out of the talented sophomore class should be in the mix for increased playing time. Tyler Cohen, who will also see time on the mound, hit .222 last year and could be in the mix in the infield. Cassidy Brown could take over as the full-time catcher in his second year with the Lions. The 2013 Player of the Year in the state of Ohio started 25 games last year and hit .200. He could face competition at the position from senior Chris Barnett, who has started more than 30 games over his three seasons at Loyola Marymount. Outfielders Kyle Dozier and Ryan Erickson could be in the mix for playing time as well. Erickson hit .379 this summer in the Orange County Collegiate League and earned a spot in the league All-Star game.

The pitching staff should be the strength of this year’s team thanks to the decision of Welmon and Megill to return. Welmon has been the team’s Friday starter since he stepped on campus and he should be in that spot once again in 2015. The two-time All-WCC first team selection led the team in wins, 10, ERA, 2.37, innings pitched, 106.1, and strikeouts, 58. Megill should be the Saturday starter in 2015. The six-foot-eight Huntington Beach native was the Saturday starter as a freshman and then went 3-3 with a 2.72 ERA in 2013 before last year’s injury. Loyola Marymount will need to find a third starter to complete the weekend rotation and they have three pitchers back that started at least five games last year. Sean Buckle went 2-4 with a 4.02 ERA in 17 appearances, including five starts, while Brenton Arriaga and J.D. Busfield were 4-5 with a 4.37 ERA and 1-2 with a 5.35 ERA respectively, starting eight games apiece among their appearances. Arriaga joined Jack in the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League last summer and could be ready to make a jump in 2015. Two newcomers who could also be in the mix for a starting spot are Virginia Tech transfer Trevor Knight and freshman Tylor Megill. Megill, the younger brother of Trevor, is the most intriguing option of the bunch. Tylor was rated as the 92nd best high school player by Perfect Game and was also honored as a Perfect Game second team All-American. It is likely that Buckle ends up back in the bullpen, joining Cohen, Tim Peabody and Brandon Horth. Cohen looks set to take over the closer spot as a sophomore after going 1-2 with a 2.96 ERA and three saves last year. Peabody, 3-1 with a 4.11 ERA, and Horth, 1-3 with a 4.78 ERA, will add depth.

Who to Watch:
The return of Trevor Megill will be something to watch for Loyola Marymount. Megill is a big time talent, something evident with his third round selection in the MLB Draft. If Megill can return to the form he showed during his first two seasons on campus, Loyola Marymount will have a top-notch one-two punch leading their rotation. A healthy Megill gives the Lions a proven option for Saturday. With Loyola Marymount already needing to find players to fill the Sunday and midweek starter slots, being able to pencil in Megill on Saturday gives the Lions a lot more flexibility with their pitching staff.

Final Projection:
Loyola Marymount looks to have the makings of a regional team in 2015. The Lions have solid pitching with Welmon, Megill and Cohen at the back end of the bullpen and they have a deep lineup. It shouldn’t take long to see how good Loyola Marymount really is, as the Lions have weekend series with both Nebraska and Arkansas before the second week of March. The WCC won’t be much easier, as Pepperdine, Gonzaga and San Diego all return talented teams. Pepperdine is coming off a Super Regional appearance last year and this Loyola Marymount team is similar to that Pepperdine team from last season. Pepperdine featured two aces in their rotation and a deep lineup, two things that Loyola Marymount look to have this year. If the Lions can figure out the Sunday starter and get improved numbers from the bullpen, there is no reason the Lions can’t follow in Pepperdine’s footsteps.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: David Fletcher, SS, 222
Hits: Austin Miller, OF, 77
Home Runs: Jimmy Jack, 1B, 4
RBIs: Tanner Donnels, OF, 36
Runs: Austin Miller, OF, 46
Stolen Bases: Austin Miller, OF, 25

Wins: Colin Welmon, P, 10
Innings Pitched: Colin Welmon, P, 106.1
Strikeouts: Colin Welmon, P, 58
Saves: Tyler Cohen, P/IF, 3


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