#42 Auburn Baseball 2017 Preview

Auburn Tigers
Overall Rank: #42
Conference Rank: #8 SEC
Auburn suffered through a tough 2016 campaign, winning just eight SEC games. And with most of their top hitters gone, the Tigers do have a lot of areas where they need to improve and find new players ready to step up. Replacing Joshua Palacios, Anfernee Grier and Niko Buentello will not be easy. Returning players like Blake Logan and Damon Haecker will have to pick up the leadership slack and help a large group of newcomers replace a lot of lost production.
2016: 23-33, 8-22
2016 Postseason: None
Coach: Butch Thompson
Key Departed Players:
Justin Camp, P, 4.43 ERA, 81.1 IP, 52 SO
Joshua Palacios, .385 BA, 5 HR, 23 RBI
Anfernee Grier, .366 BA, 12 HR, 41 RBI
Niko Buentello, .332 BA, 11 HR, 55 RBI
Jordan Ebert, .325 BA, 2 HR, 31 RBI
Cody Nulph, .275 BA, 0 HR, 36 RBI
Key Returning Players:
Casey Mize, P, 3.52 ERA, 69.0 IP, 59 SO
Gabe Klobosits, P, 4.70 ERA, 44.0 IP, 44 SO
Cole Lipscomb, P, 5.10 ERA, 67.0 IP, 50 SO
Andrew Mitchell, P, 5.40 ERA, 60.0 IP, 54 SO
Blake Logan, C, .274 BA, 2 HR, 36 RBI
Damon Haecker, IF, .284 BA, 1 HR, 21 RBI
A promising group of pitchers and an improving defense will keep the Tigers competitive even if it takes a little while for the offense to come around. Cole Lipscomb and Andrew Mitchell were regular starters last season and Casey Mize and Gabe Klobosits saw plenty of action as well. With Gordon Cardenas and Daniel Sprinkle rejoining the bullpen, Auburn should have a pretty good pitching staff. Perhaps more importantly, Auburn’s defense has shown vast improvement during the fall. Last year the defense was questionable and that really hurt Auburn at times. If the defense behind a developing pitching staff can keep most teams under control offensively, Auburn should have the offensive patience to win plenty of close games and battle for a spot in the NCAA Tournament.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament


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