#14 Arizona Baseball 2017 Preview

Arizona Wildcats
Overall Rank: #14
Conference Rank: #2 Pac-12
Arizona Logo
Arizona caught fire in the NCAA Tournament and rode that momentum all the way back to the College World Series Championship Finals. The mix of clutch pitching, timely hitting, and good old fashioned mental toughness when facing elimination in the Lafayette Regional was the perfect mix of ingredients to come ever so close to winning a national championship. The scary thing for the rest of the Pac-12 is the Wildcats should only get better under the leadership of head coach Jay Johnson. Coach Johnson has done an excellent job since coming over from the University of Nevada.
2016: 49-24, 16-14
2016 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Jay Johnson
Key Departed Players:
Zach Gibbons, OF, .385 BA, 0 HR, 48 RBI
Cody Ramer, IF, .348 BA, 2 HR, 40 RBI
Ryan Aguilar, OF, .310 BA, 8 HR, 56 RBI, 12 SB
Bobby Dalbec, IF, 260 BA, 7 HR, 40 RBI
Nathan Bannister, P, 142.1 IP, 2.59 ERA, 33 BB, 114 SO
Key Returning Players:
JJ Matijevic, IF, .287 BA, 4 HR, 37 RBI
Cesar Salazar, C, .276 BA, 0 HR, 28 RBI
Louis Boyd, IF, .240 BA, 0 HR, 22 RBI, 11 SB
Jared Oliva, OF, .240 BA, 4 HR, 36 RBI, 13 SB
Alfonso Rivas, IF, .247 BA, 1 HR, 26 RBI
JC Cloney, P, 110.1 IP, 2.45 ERA, 22 BB, 61 SO
Cameron Ming, P, 80.1 IP, 3.59 ERA, 22 BB, 59 SO
In order for Arizona to get back to the College World Series they are going to have to find that mix of an everyday lineup that can come together like the 2016 team did. There are a fair amount of returning players but there will be 16 new faces on the 2017 roster so this will take some time to come together. JC Cloney should move into Nathan Bannister’s spot and be the ace of the rotation following his excellent 2016 season. The ability to pitch to contact for Cloney is a great asset as he does not waste baserunners by giving away unnecessary walks. Cameron Ming is back out of the bullpen and came up clutch several times during the College World Series, especially eating up critical innings.  Jared Oliva, Alfonso Rivas, JJ Matijevic and Cesar Salazar are going to be the veterans in the everyday lineup that will need to be leaders on and off the field and produce right away at a high level. Several newcomers are expected to play key roles. Cal Stevenson will take over in left field, Matt Frazier in right field, Cameron Cannon at second base and Nick Quintana at third base to round out the lineup. Tylor Megill and Landon Faulkner, a pair of junior college transfers, should round out the number two and three spots in the starting rotation. This Arizona team should peak by May and make its way back into the NCAA Tournament and will be very tough out in the postseason.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament


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