#37 Kentucky Baseball 2020 Preview

Kentucky Wildcats
Overall Rank: #37
Conference Rank: #10 SEC
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During Coach Nick Mingione’s debut season with Kentucky in 2017, the Wildcats went 43-23 and reached the Super Regionals. They have taken steps back in the following two seasons, culminating with just seven SEC wins last season. That is a long way from their 19 conference victories just two years earlier. But most of last year’s team is back and that experience should push Kentucky up the SEC pecking order and towards the NCAA Tournament.
2019: 26-29, 7-23
2019 Postseason: None
Coach: Nick Mingione
Key Departed Players:
Ryan Shinn, OF, .286 BA, 13 HR, 31 RBI
Zack Thompson, P, 2.40 ERA, 6-1 W/L, 90.0 IP, 130 SO
Key Returning Players:
Coltyn Kessler, C/IF, .297 BA, 5 HR, 29 RBI
Jaren Shelby, OF, .273 BA, 6 HR, 35 RBI, 13 SB
Breydon Daniel, IF/OF, .238 BA, 7 HR, 20 RBI
Austin Schultz, IF, .265 BA, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 10 SB
T.J. Collett, 1B, .259 BA, 10 HR, 40 RBI
Jimmy Ramsey, P, 7.26 ERA, 4-6 W/L, 57.0 IP, 68 SO
Dillon Marsh, P, 6.43 ERA, 3-3 W/L, 49.0 IP, 45 SO
Daniel Harper, P, 4.70 ERA, 3-3 W/L, 46.0 IP, 42 SO
Oraj Anu, OF, JC
Chase Bryan, OF, JC
Matt Golda, IF, JC
Losing Zack Thompson, who was selected 19th overall in the 2019 MLB Draft, will hurt the pitching staff. Thompson went 6-1 with a 2.40 ERA with 130 strikeouts in 90.0 innings of work. Even without Thompson, Kentucky has a very experienced group. Dillon Marsh, Jimmy Ramsey and Mason Hazelwood are a good group of starters and Daniel Harper and Carson Coleman lead an equally experienced bullpen. The offense returns much of their regular lineup. Jaren Shelby and Austin Schultz have some quality speed and that will be important for a team like Kentucky that will need to grind out some wins. Shelby also has some nice pop to his bat, but it is Breydon Daniel and T.J. Collett who will likely belt most of the homeruns. The addition of some junior college transfers, most notably Oraj Anu and Matt Golda, will provide another dimension to this offense. Last season Anu was a Third-Team NJCAA All-America honoree after hitting .394 with 19 homeruns and 65 RBIs with Wallace-Dothan Community College. He will not put up numbers like that with Kentucky, but he will add another threat to an offense that ranked second to last in the SEC in runs scored last season.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament