#41 Pepperdine Baseball 2014 Preview

Pepperdine Waves

Overall Rank: #41
Conference Rank: #2 West Coast
#41 Pepperdine Baseball 2014 Preview
Pepperdine Team Page


After a 2012 season where Pepperdine reached a NCAA Regional, the Waves took a step back last season, finishing 27-24 and missing out on the NCAA Tournament.  Coach Steve Rodriguez looks to have the Waves back on track this season.  Pepperdine returns a lot of production off last years team, including a pair of draft picks that opted to return to school.  A talented freshmen class also enters, creating some high expectations for the Pepperdine program.

2013: 27-24, 13-11
2013 Postseason: None
Coach: Steve Rodriguez

Field Players:
Pepperdine returns a pair of first team All-WCC members that will be the focal point of the offense.  Kolten Yamaguchi is back at the catcher position after leading the team in batting average, .309, and slugging percentage, .473, last season.  He also only committed one error behind the plate and finished with a .994 fielding percentage.  Austin Davidson is also back this year at third base after hitting .287 with 15 doubles, 6 home runs, and 24 RBI’s last year.  Joining Davidson in the infield will be Hutton Moyer and Drew Hacker.  Moyer hit .258 with 3 home runs and was a perfect 7 for 7 on stolen base attempts, while Hacker had a .333 on base percentage.  They are expected to occupy the middle infield positions.  Brad Anderson looks set to occupy first base after hitting .273 in limited playing time last season.  A solid group of freshman will challenge the group for playing time.  Nick Costello and Manny Jefferson are the most likely out of the bunch to find immediate playing time.  Costello was named the MVP of the Blue and Orange World Series, while Jefferson performed well during the Waves trip to Taiwan.  Bryan Langlois will be back in the outfield.  He hit .279 with 5 home runs and 25 RBI’s and drew a team leading 22 walks last season.  Joining him in the outfield will be junior Aaron Brown, who doubles as a pitcher, and highly recruited freshman Jack Ross.  Junior James Grandpre and freshman Austin Barnett will battle to see time behind Yamaguchi behind the plate.

Senior Corey Miller and junior Aaron Brown are both back after being drafted in the 2013 MLB Draft and will headline the pitching rotation.  Miller was 5-5 with a 2.71 ERA last season and only walked 26 batters in 89.2 innings.  Brown was 6-3 and led the team in wins.  Joining them win the starting rotation will be sophomore Jackson McClelland, who was 2-1 with a 1.65 ERA out of the bullpen last season.  Another player who could make some starts is senior Matt Maurer, who pitched in the bullpen last year, but also made seven starts.  Junior Mat Snider looks set to step into the vacant closer role this season for the departed Michael Swanner, who was drafted by the Braves.  Adding depth in the bullpen will be Jayson Balades, Eric Karch, Ivan Dilda, and Evan Dunn.  Balades had a solid fall after redshirting last season and Karch spent his summer playing in the Cape Cod Collegiate Baseball League after going 5-5 out of the bullpen last year.  

Who to Watch:
Aaron Brown is looking to bounce back from an injury plagued sophomore campaign.  He was a 17th round pick in the MLB Draft coming out of high school but opted to attend Pepperdine instead.  As a freshman, Brown started 32 games in right field and hit .265 with 24 RBI’s.  He also pitched in 16 games out of the bullpen and picked up four saves.  After that performance, much was expected of Brown last year, as Baseball America had him on their Preseason All-American Team, but injuries limited his production.  He played in 25 games in the field, only getting 12 starts last year, but hit .313 with 2 home runs in just 48 at bats.  Brown was also able to win 6 starts in just 12 appearances as a starting pitcher.  Fully healthy this year, expect Brown to put up big numbers in the field and on the mound.

Final Projection:
Playing in a West Coast Conference that lost a lot of players during the 2013 MLB Draft, including a pair of first rounder’s, the Waves have a great chance to improve on last season’s 13-11 conference mark.  Pepperdine returns almost all of its key players and adds some highly rated newcomers. They should be able to improve their win total.  The Waves took a trip to Taiwan this fall, allowing for players to get some much needed experience before the start of the experience, especially for the freshmen. If Brown can stay healthy this season and produce the numbers he is capable of in addition to some production from the freshmen, Pepperdine should find themselves in a NCAA Regional as a team capable of making a run in the tournament.  

Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Austin Davidson, IF, 202
Hits: Austin Davidson, IF, 58
Home Runs: Austin Davidson, IF, 6
RBIs: Austin Davidson, IF, 24
Runs: Bryan Langlois, OF, 35
Stolen Bases: Hutton Moyer, IF, 7

Wins: Aaron Brown, OF/P, 6
Innings Pitched: Corey Miller, P, 89.2
Strikeouts: Corey Miller, P, 67
Saves: None

Madness 2014 MLB Draft Rankings:
#135 Aaron Brown


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