#26 Oklahoma State Baseball 2018 Preview

Oklahoma State Cowboys
Overall Rank: #26
Conference Rank: #4 Big 12
Oklahoma State had their backs against the wall all season long as they had to go on a tremendous run late in the season just to get into the NCAA Tournament. The Cowboys won their final two regular season games against Oklahoma and swept through the Big 12 Conference Tournament to get the automatic bid from the Big 12. The NCAA Tournament was not so kind to Oklahoma State as the Cowboys were two and barbecue in the Fayetteville Regional. Overall, despite the tough 2017 season, the program is in good shape under the direction of head coach Josh Holliday. Thus, Oklahoma State is always going to be in the mix for the postseason on an annual basis for the foreseeable future.
2017: 30-27, 8-13
2017 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Josh Holliday
Key Departed Players:
Garrett McCain, OF, .388 BA, 4 HR, 43 RBI, 19 SB
Garrett Benge, IF, .304 BA, 10 HR, 53 RBI, 5 SB
Ryan Sluder, OF, .260 BA, 2 HR, 22 RBI, 10 SB
Tyler Buffett, P, 5.23 ERA, 93.0 IP, 82 SO
Blake Battenfield, P, 4.91 ERA,69.2 IP, 58 SO
Key Returning Players:
Colin Simpson, C/OF, .277 BA, 11 HR, 40 RBI
Ryan Cash, IF, .274 BA, 0 HR, 9 RBI
Jon Littell, OF, .262 BA, 4 HR, 28 RBI
Cameron Dobbs, IF, .220 BA, 1 HR, 14 RBI
Michael Neustifter, IF, .213 BA, 5 HR, 11 RBI
Joe Lienhard, P, 4.66 ERA, 65.2 IP, 60 SO
Jonathan Heasley, P, 3.55 ERA, 38.0 IP, 31 SO
Carson Teel, P, 3.06 ERA, 64.2 IP, 77 SO
Jensen Elliott, P, 3.63 ERA, 22.1 IP, 26 SO
The pitching was not good enough in 2017 as the Cowboys had a team earned run average of 4.54. There is potential within the staff as Carson Teel is back and most likely will be the Friday night starter. Teel does a nice job of pitching to contact as he only walked 20 batters in 64.2 innings of work. Jensen Elliott should be back healthy in 2018. He only pitched 22.1 innings last season and was outstanding as a freshman back in 2016. Jonathan Heasley should be in the conversation for a weekend rotation spot and started five games in 2017. He was effective as both a starter and out of the bullpen. Colin Simpson is the best returning position player for the Cowboys. Simpson can hit for power after hitting 11 homeruns last season. The versatility of Simpson is also another plus as he can play catcher and spends time in the outfield. Jon Littell and Michael Neustifter are also going to be back and will provide some nice complimentary homerun power for Oklahoma State. The opening two series in Big 12 play against Texas and TCU will set the tone for the conference race. If the Cowboys can be at 3-3 or better after those two series, then they will be in great shape to contend in the Big 12.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament