#29 San Diego Baseball 2014 Preview

San Diego Toreros

Overall Rank: #29
Conference Rank: #1 West Coast
#29 San Diego Baseball 2014 Preview
San Diego Team Page


San Diego will face life without Kris Bryant this season.  The third baseman hit 31 home runs last year and won numerous Player of the Year Awards.  He was picked by the Chicago Cubs third overall in June’s MLB Draft.  The Toreros will be without Bryant and a number of other key contributors from last seasons NCAA Regional team.  San Diego is looking for some new faces to emerge this season.

2013: 37-25, 15-9
2013 Postseason: NCAA Tournament
Coach: Rich Hill

Field Players:
Connor Joe will be the leader of this team.  The junior returns after hitting .319 with seven home runs and 43 RBI’s.  He also did well getting on base, drawing 26 walks, and finished with a .397 on base percentage.  Andrew Daniel and Louie Lechich will join him.  Daniel will start in the infield, while Lechich will be back in center field, as well as on the mound.  Both players hit .265 last season and added 24 and 25 RBI’s, respectively.  Daniel also was 8-for-10 on stolen base attempts.  Austin Bailey should start at second base this season.  He saw his playing time decrease as a sophomore, but did hit .301 with 28 RBI’s in 103 at bats.  The Toreros should get a boost from Cal State Northridge transfer Josh Goosen-Brown.  The senior is eligible immediately and can play both infield and outfield and should play a big part in replacing production lost from last year.  Candidates to see infield playing time are sophomore Jerod Smith and freshman Nicholas Romo.  Smith hit .286 in 56 at bats last year, while Romo is a great defender at shortstop.  Freshman Ryan Kirby should see playing time in the outfield and provides a big time bat to the lineup.  Returnees Grant Melker and Ben Wylly could also se time in the outfield.  None of the four catchers on the roster have seen playing time at San Diego and the Toreros will look for one of them to step up.  

Sophomore PJ Conlon will be at the head of the pitching rotation this season.  He posted a 9-1 record with a 2.16 ERA as a freshman, starting ten games and appearing in another 15 out of the bullpen.  Troy Conyers should join Conlon after a great end to the season, as he threw a complete game shutout in the WCC Championship Game.  He followed that up with a big summer and was named the top prospect of the Prospects League by Baseball America.  Either Lechich or Ryan Olson will join them.  Lechich started ten games last year and went 3-3 with a 3.24 ERA, while Olson is a big time recruit for the Toreros.  Olson seems like the more likely of the two because he would add a righty to the rotation.  Wes Judish will lead the bullpen.  He went 1-1 with a 4.94 ERA last season and batters hit just .174 against him.  Also returning is Max MacNabb, who went 4-4 with a 6.19 ERA in 25 appearances.  Josh Goosen-Brown could also have an impact after pitching at Cal State Northridge.

Who to Watch:
Josh Goosen-Brown will be a big part of the success for the Toreros this season.  Last year, he hit .279 and led Cal State Northridge in RBI’s with 47.  On top of that, he appeared in 20 games out of the bullpen and went 2-3 with a 4.01 ERA and nine saves.  He provides the Toreros with a quality option at both positions and should provide some leadership for a young team.

Final Projection:
San Diego will need to find some answers for some positions early in the year.  Good news for them, they will play the first month of the season at home and this could be beneficial to the young players as it will ease the transition into college ball.  The schedule has some spots that will test the Toreros, such as a series at Oklahoma State.  This will help prepare the Toreros for the tournament.  As long as some new faces can step up and join the established players, San Diego will be making a return trip to an NCAA Regional.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Connor Joe, IF, 232
Hits: Connor Joe, IF, 74
Home Runs: Connor Joe, IF, 7
RBIs: Connor Joe, IF, 43
Runs: Connor Joe, OF, 43
Stolen Bases: Austin Daniel, IF, 19

Wins: PJ Conlon, P, 9
Innings Pitched: PJ Conlon, P, 87.1
Strikeouts: PJ Conlon, P, 71
Saves: Max MacNabb, P, 3

Madness 2014 MLB Draft Rankings:
#108 Connor Joe


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