#5 Louisville Baseball 2017 Preview

Louisville Cardinals
Overall Rank: #5
Conference Rank: #2 ACC
 Louisville Logo
Louisville had a tremendous regular season in 2016, finishing first in the ACC’s Atlantic Division and playing their way into a number two national seed in the NCAA Tournament. However, the postseason was not as kind to the Cardinals as they ran into a team of destiny in UC Santa Barbara in the Super Regionals. The Gauchos eliminated Louisville on a walk-off grand slam homerun by Sam Cohen in the bottom of the ninth inning of game two in the Louisville Super Regional. Despite this disappointment, the Cardinals are in position as a program to reload and contend for ACC Championships and College World Series trips on an annual basis.
2016: 50-14, 22-8
2016 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Dan McDonnell
Key Departed Players:
Will Smith, C, .382 BA, 7 HR, 43 RBI
Nick Solak, IF, .376 BA, 5 HR, 29 RBI
Blake Tiberi, IF, .340 BA, 10 HR, 51 RBI
Corey Ray, OF, .310 BA, 15 HR, 63 RBI, 44 SB
Kyle Funkhouser, P, 93.1 IP, 3.86 ERA, 47 BB, 95 SO
Zack Burdi, P, 30.0 IP, 3.30 ERA, 9 BB, 47 SO, 11 SV
Drew Harrington, P, 110.2 IP, 1.95 ERA, 25 BB, 92 SO
Danny Rosenbaum, IF, .287 BA, 10 HR, 42 RBI
Key Returning Players:
Devin Hairston, IF, .361 BA, 3 HR, 45 RBI
Colby Fitch, C, .339 BA, 5 HR, 25 RBI
Brendan McKay, IF/P, .333 BA, 6 HR, 41 RBI, 109.2 IP, 2.30 E.R.A., 42 BB, 128 SO
Drew Mann, IF, .309 BA, 0 HR, 17 RBI
Colin Lyman, OF, .301 BA, 0 HR, 30 RBI, 9 SB
Logan Taylor, OF, .280 BA, 0 HR, 18 RBI, 18 SB
Kade McClure, P, 78.0 IP, 2.54 ERA, 20 BB 77 SO
Brendan McKay is an excellent two-way player that will have to take an even bigger role in 2017 to offset some of the extensive losses from last season. McKay has a great mix of power and the ability to hit for a high average at the plate. And, on the mound, can be very dominant at times. Kade McClure will be counted on heavily to pick up form where he left off in 2016 as McClure was 12-0 with a 2.54 earned run average. Devin Hairston and Colby Fitch are also going to find a way to offset some of the lost production from players like Corey Ray, Will Smith, Nick Solak and Blake Tiberi.  Hairston and Fitch combined for eight homeruns and 70 runs batted in last season. Thus, a good goal will be about a combined 12-14 homeruns and 100 plus runs batted in for 2017. Logan Taylor and Devin Mann are going to take even bigger roles in the everyday lineup and their ability to get on base will help Louisville manufacture runs this season since they won’t be as prolific with the long ball this season. Patience will be a virtue for Cardinals fans. The talent is still there, but it will just take some time for this Louisville team to find its identity in 2017. But in the end they will be a high seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament
Madness 2017 Draft Rankings:
#10 Brendan McKay