#33 Florida Atlantic Baseball 2017 Preview

Florida Atlantic Owls
Overall Rank: #33
Conference Rank: #3 Conference USA
Florida Atlantic reached the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year and the third time in four years. This year should result in another tournament appearance, but Coach John McCormack does have some big holes to fill. Most notable are pitchers David McKay and Brandon Rhodes and shortstop CJ Chatham. Those three played a big part in the Owls’ success in 2016. The pitching staff should be in good shape with Marc Stewart leading the way. Junior college transfer Jake Miednik is expected to step into the rotation as well. The Owls do have one of the best closers around in Cameron Ragsdale too. He tallied 15 saves in 24 appearances and allowed a mere five runs all season.
2016: 39-19, 21-8
2016 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: John McCormack
Key Departed Players:
David McKay, P, 3.74 ERA, 74.2 IP, 66 SO
Brandon Rhodes, P, 4.09 ERA, 99.0 IP, 52 SO
CJ Chatham, .357 BA, 8 HR, 50 RBI
Billy Endris, .288 BA, 2 HR, 31 RBI
Key Returning Players:
Marc Stewart, P, 3.58 ERA, 78.0 IP, 45 SO
Cameron Ragsdale, P, 1.61 ERA, 28.0 IP, 21 SO, 15 SV
Austin Langham, .320 BA, 0 HR, 23 RBI
Esteban Puerta, IF/OF, .307 BA, 10 HR, 52 RBI
Stephen Kerr, IF, .253 BA, 5 HR, 38 RBI
Sean Labsan, OF, .268 BA, 5 HR, 23 RBI
Moving on without Chatham will not be easy, but FAU has plenty of talent at the plate. Esteban Puerta belted ten homers with 52 RBIs and will again be the team’s top power hitter. Austin Langham and Gunnar Lambert also hit over .300 last season and will score plenty of runs again in 2017. Finding another consistent, powerful bat to replace Chatham may be the toughest task for this Owls team. Sean Labsan and Stephen Kerr have some pop to their bat, but they do not hit for a particularly high average. It may be too late for the seniors to boost their batting average too much this season. Junior college transfer Brad Mathiowetz will be in the mix as well and could help bolster the team’s power at the plate.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament