#35 Texas Baseball 2016 Preview

Texas Longhorns

Overall Rank: #35
Conference Rank: #3 Big 12

Texas Baseball Top 44 PreviewTexas Team Page

One of the best programs of the modern era, Texas took a big step back in 2015, but hopes to rebound in a new season. Though he spent last year firmly on the hotseat, longtime Texas coach Augie Garrido returns for a 20th season in Burnt Orange, and 48th season in baseball. His first win of 2016 will be his 800th at UT. A magical ride through the Big XII tournament propelled the Horns to the postseason, but does a sub .500 conference record mean that the days of Austin dominating the Big XII are over?

2015: 30-27, 11-13
2015 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Augie Garrido

Field Players:
Despite their struggles in 2015, Texas still fielded some of the best offensive players in the conference. And the bad news for fans of other Big XII teams is that most of them are back. Catcher Tres Barerra anchors the lineup along with infielders Joe Baker, Bret Boswell, and outfielder Zane Gurwitz. Defense is the key to this group’s success in 2016; while the number of errors wasn’t overwhelming, it seemed they happened in the most inopportune times. Cleaning up that part of the game could add several wins to the books.

For better or worse, most of the Longhorn’s pitching staff returns to the rubber this spring, led by a host of experienced arms. Seniors Ty Culbreath and Chad Hollingsworth, along with juniors Kacy Clemens (yes, that Clemens), Andy McGuire, and Josh Sawyer combined for 14 wins a season ago, but ace Parker French has moved on to the big leagues.

Who to Watch:
Barerra is the kind of guy that makes college baseball fun. He plays arguably the toughest position on the field, manages a pitching staff that has been consistently good (despite a step back in 2015), and is the leader in every major offensive category heading in to 2016. Sophomore Joe Baker should take a major step forward in his second go-round; he touched on .300 as a true freshman and showed a little pop with 13 doubles in 37 games. Zane Gurwitz, who hits for contact and has excellent speed, is also a breakout candidate,

Final Projection:
Texas has as much talent as anyone in the conference, as they continue to be a leader in recruiting in the state. The draw of Augie Garrido remains strong, and he continues to sign big bats and big arms year in and year out. But something hasn’t quite clicked - players are either being overrated or underdeveloped down in Austin, and putting together a team that lives up to its potential has been a struggle for UT the past few seasons. After having a disappointing regular season a year ago, Texas made a miracle run in the conference tournament to make it to the NCAAs, where they were summarily dismissed. While the losses of Collin Shaw, C.J. Hinojosa, Ben Johnson and Parker French hurts, the leadership of Barerra and the maturation of some young players should put Texas squarely back in the conversation for a conference title and a postseason run. Some exciting true freshmen (notably INF Cody Clemens, P Nick Kennedy, P Chase Stuggart, and OF Tyler Rand) could also see regular playing time and fill the few gaps in the lineup and on the mound that Texas is lacking.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Tres Barrera C, 212
Hits: Tres Barerra, C, 61
Home Runs: Tres Barerra, C, 9
RBIs: Tres Barerra, C, 34
Runs: Tres Barerra, C, 38
Stolen Bases: Zane Gurwitz, OF, 6

Wins: Ty Culbreth, P, 4
Innings Pitched: Connor Mayes, P, 66.1
Strikeouts: Connor Mayes, P, 54
Saves: Ty Culbreth, P, 4

Madness 2016 Baseball Recruit Rankings:

#75 Tres Barrera


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