#2 TCU Baseball 2017 Preview

TCU Horned Frogs
Overall Rank: #2
Conference Rank: #1 Big 12
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TCU exceeded expectations in 2016 by returning to the College World Series for the third consecutive season. The Horned Frogs stepped up when it counted the most in game three of the College Station Super Regional, beating Texas A&M 4-1 to cement their case as the premier program in state of Texas. The rise of the Horned Frogs is another excellent example of what can happen when you have investment from the athletic department and the right head coach that creates a championship culture like Jim Schlossnagle has done in Fort Worth.
2016: 49-18, 15-9
2016 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Jim Schlossnagle
Key Departed Players:
Dane Steinhagen, OF, .313 BA, 8 HR, 51 RBI, 12 SB
Key Returning Players:
Luken Baker, DH/P, .379 BA, 11 HR, 62 RBI, 47.2 IP, 1.70 E.R.A., 16 BB, 41 SO
Elliott Barzilli, IF, .339 BA, 7 HR, 48 RBI, 14 SB
Evan Skoug, C, .301 BA, 9 HR, 51 RBI, 7 SB
Cam Warner, IF, .300 BA, 6 HR, 43 RBI, 10 SB
Ryan Merrill, IF, .298 BA, 1 HR, 25 RBI, 11 SB
Austen Wade, OF, .286 BA, 1 HR, 27 RBI, 13 SB
Josh Watson, OF, .280 BA, 11 HR, 44 RBI, 12 SB
Brian Howard, P, 98.2 IP, 3.19 ERA, 30 BB, 93 SO
Mitchell Traver, P, 30.1 IP, 3.26 ERA, 10 BB, 28 SO
Durbin Feltman, P, 34.2 IP, 1.56 ERA, 11 BB, 49 SO, 9 SV
Jared Janczak. P, 82.2 IP, 2.61 ERA, 26 BB, 80 SO
TCU is going to be able to come at opposing pitching staffs offensively in a variety of ways. Luken Baker is an outstanding two way player that has a chance to win National Player of the Year honors. Baker can hit for average, power, and was very effective in his ten starts on the mound as well. It will be interesting to see how opposing teams attack Baker this season and whether or not they intentionally walk him on a regular basis. Evan Skoug, Josh Watson, Elliott Barzilli, and Cam Warner will bring plenty of offensive firepower to the table in 2017 as they combined for 33 homeruns, 186 runs batted in and 43 stolen bases last season. Austen Wade and Ryan Merrill will also bring plenty of speed to the table. They stole 13 and 11 bases, respectively, and Nolan Brown’s return to action will make this lineup almost impossible to slow down on the bases. On the mound, Brian Howard should be the Friday night starter. He was clutch all season long in 2016, including game three of the Super Regional against Texas A&M. Howard pitched seven innings and limited an explosive Texas A&M to just two hits and walked only two batters and struck out eight. Mitchell Traver is back as well in 2017 and will be looking to stay healthier after being limited last season due to back issues. Jared Janczak and Nick Lodolo will round the starting rotation, giving the Horned Frogs the depth they need to battle through a losers bracket in the postseason. Durbin Feltman is going to be dominant closer for TCU after limiting opposing batters to a .129 batting average last season. The Horned Frogs, when all is said and done, should be in Omaha as a top three national seed and a big favorite to win it all.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament
Madness 2017 Draft Rankings:
#43 Evan Skoug