#41 San Diego State Baseball 2016 Preview

San Diego State Aztecs
Overall Rank: #41
Conference Rank: #1 Mountain West
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San Diego State has taken control of the Mountain West Conference and has become a consistent NCAA Regional participant. However, under the direction of head coach Mark Martinez, the bar has been raised and the quest is on to kick the door down and get to the first Super Regional in program history.
2015: 41-23, 19-10
2015 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Mark Martinez
Field Players:
There will be some reloading of the offensive attack for San Diego State as they have lost a fair amount of power in the lineup from last season with the loss of Seby Zavala, Steven Pellares, Danny Sheehan and Ty France, who combined for 33 homeruns and 209 runs batted in last season. Andrew Brown is back and while he is not a prototypical power hitter, he was very productive with 32 runs batted in while hitting just under .295. Outfielder Chase Calaibuig is back as well after hitting .305 last season. He was very effective at getting on base with a .417 on-base percentage. It will be important for Calaibuig to raise that on-base percentage even higher this season as the offense will probably have to manufacture more runs.
This should be the strength for the Aztecs right out of the gate to start the 2016 season. Marcus Reyes and Cody Thompson should anchor the weekend rotation. Thompson was more of the workhorse between the two as he pitched 85.1 innings. Reyes is not going to overpower you with a ton of strikeouts, as he does pitch to contact. That happens almost too much as opposing hitters hit .311 last season against him. It will be a huge bonus for San Diego State if both Thompson and Reyes could approach 100 innings of work each. That will save them from wearing down their bullpen too much.
Who to Watch:
Redshirt senior outfielder Spencer Thornton should see an even bigger role in 2016 after starting 38 games last season. Thornton hit.317 with two homeruns and 23 runs batted in and stole six bases. If Thornton can drive in about 40-45 runs that will make the offense that much better over the course of the season.
Final Projection:
San Diego State will hit the ground running against Oregon to start the season as the Ducks will fly down to Tony Gwynn Stadium to battle the Aztecs. The Tony Gwynn Classic will provide San Diego State a chance to potentially to take on either Kentucky or UC Santa Barbara and both of those teams could be NCAA Tournament teams. Other key out of conference games against UC Irvine, San Diego, Oregon State and Texas Tech should help the Aztecs maintain a pretty solid RPI as these games are spread out nicely within the schedule.The season, quite frankly, is going to come down to how quickly the offense comes together. If San Diego State can score in the range of 350-360 runs, they should be in position to win the Mountain West Conference and get back to the NCAA Tournament.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament
Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Andrew Brown, IF, 254
Hits: Andrew Brown, IF, 75
Home Runs: Justin Wylie, IF/OF, 3
RBIs: Andrew Brown, IF, 32
Runs: Chase Calaibuig, OF, 39
Stolen Bases: Chase Calaibuig, OF, 7
Wins: Marcus Reyes, P, 7
Innings Pitched: Cody Thompson, P, 85.1
Strikeouts: Cody Thompson, P, 69
Saves: CJ Saylor, P, 11