#6 Virginia Baseball 2014 Preview

Virginia Cavaliers

Overall Rank: #6
Conference Rank: #2 ACC
#6 Virginia Baseball 2014 Preview
Virginia Team Page


Installed as one of the early favorites to win the ACC, the Virginia Cavaliers are coming off a 2013 that saw them reach the NCAA Super Regionals before falling against Mississippi State. Returning 22 players from last year and adding nine freshmen, three of which were selected in the 2013 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, the Cavs have plenty of talent. With a deep roster and a balance of young and experienced players, the Cavaliers are looking to go even further in 2014 and live up to the considerable expectations that are following the team in Charlottesville and around the country.

2013: 50-12, 22-8
2013 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Brian O’Connor

Field Players:
In the field, the Cavaliers have a great deal of depth and welcome back star catcher/outfielder Brandon Downes for his junior year. Downes was crucial at the plate for Virginia, and combined with talented freshman infielder Daniel Pinero and junior Branden Cogswell. They should have a good year from their position players.

A deep pitching staff will be led by Brandon Waddell and senior Whit Mayberry. And with plenty of younger players sure to challenge for time on the mound, the Cavaliers have a number of arms to choose from.

Who to Watch:
Outfielder/first baseman Mike Papi was named a first-team All-American last year, and the junior will want to carry that form into 2014 as one of the more experienced players on the squad. A top offensive producer and also solid in the field, Papi is a crucial part of this Cavaliers team.

Final Projection:
There is a lot of hype surrounding this Virginia team, and rightly so as they look to be one of the most talented teams in the country. Given their experiences of last year, the Cavaliers should be looking to advance to the latter stages of the NCAA Tournament at a minimum, and must be thinking seriously of a trip to the College World Series. They certainly have the talent to reach the latter stages of the postseason, even in what will be a highly competitive ACC.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Joe McCarthy, OF/1B, 223
Hits: Brandon Downes, C/OF, 80
Home Runs: Brandon Downes, C/OF, 10
RBIs: Brandon Downes, C/OF, 59
Runs: Brandon Downes, C/OF, 67
Stolen Bases: Branden Cogswell, IF, 12

Wins: Brandon Waddell, P, 6
Innings Pitched: Brandon Waddell, P, 88.2
Strikeouts: Brandon Waddell, P, 84
Saves: Josh Sborz/Whit Mayberry, P, 2

Madness 2014 MLB Draft Rankings:
#11 Derek Fischer
#88 Mike Papi
#93 Nick Howard
#97 Branden Cogswell
#105 Brandon Downes

Madness 2014 Baseball Recruit Rankings:
#11 Connor Jones


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