#26 Baylor Baseball 2020 Preview

Baylor Bears
Overall Rank: #26
Conference Rank: #5 Big 12
 Baylor Logo
Coach Steve Rodriguez has turned around the Baylor program. After a tough debut campaign in 2016, Baylor has reached the NCAA Tournament for three straight years. Last season the Bears even finished second in the Big 12 with a 14-8 record. The Bears have some big holes to fill this year though, including the loss of four players who hit over .300 and accounted for 35 homeruns and a closer who did not give up a run all season long.
2019: 35-19, 14-8
2019 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Steve Rodriguez
Key Departed Players:
Davis Wendzel, IF, .367 BA, 8 HR, 42 RBI, 11 SB
Richard Cunningham, OF, .326 BA, 5 HR, 31 RBI
Cole Haring, OF, .325 BA, 12 HR, 44 RBI
Shea Langeliers, C/1B, .308 BA, 10 HR, 42 RBI
Kyle Hill, P, 0.00 ERA, 6-0 W/L, 29.1 IP, 35 SO, 7 SV
Key Returning Players:
Andy Thomas, C/1B, .335 BA, 4 HR, 32 RBI
Nick Loftin, IF, .323 BA, 6 HR, 41 RBI
Davion Downey, OF, .243 BA, 4 HR, 28 RBI
Paul Dickens, P, 4.41 ERA, 6-2 W/L, 79.2 IP, 96 SO
Jimmy Winston, P, 4.30 ERA, 5-3 W/L, 73.1 IP, 45 SO
Hayden Kettler, P, 4.21 ERA, 2-2 W/L, 36.1 IP, 32 SO
The pitching staff should be in decent shape with the return of Jimmy Winston and Paul Dickens to lead the weekend rotation. Winston posted a 4.30 ERA and went 5-3 in 19 appearances, including 11 starts. Dickens is the more overpowering pitcher and struck out 96 batters in 79.2 innings of work. Tyler Thomas, Hayden Kettler, Jacob Ashkinos, Blake Helton, Anderson Needham and Luke Boyd all started at least a couple games last season and will look to take a step forward and claim a spot in the weekend rotation. With all of those experienced options, Coach Rodriguez will find the proper role for all of his arms. The offense is where Baylor could be in some trouble. Last season this group ranked in the top ten in the nation in batting average and doubles. That will be difficult to replicate in 2020. Andy Thomas and Nick Loftin are proven hitters who will have to lead the way. Thomas hit .335 with four homeruns and 32 RBIs, while Loftin hit .323 with six homeruns and 41 RBIs. If Baylor is going to reach their fourth straight NCAA Tournament, they will need to find a few more hitters to fill out the lineup.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament