BYU Baseball Preview 2016

BYU Baseball fall scrimmage 2015. Photo taken by author.
BYU Baseball fall scrimmage 2015. Photo taken by author. /

BYU Baseball is primed to make the NCAA Tournament in 2016, and perhaps make a nice run as well.

The team kicks off the season Friday in Las Vegas. The Cougars will face Saint Louis in a four game series and then will play four games in Samford, Alabama next week. One final road trip before the home opener against UVU will be a three game series against Kansas in Lawrence.

Last year coach Mike Littlewood and the BYU Baseball squad went 28-23 in the regular season, and then finished with two losses in the WCC Tournament, each by only one run.

Not only should this year’s schedule be easier, but the team will also be better as a whole. Pitcher Kolton Mahoney was a big contributor and will be missed, as will other departures from 2015, but the talent BYU retains and gains should offset the losses. For the pitchers, Michael Rucker, Keaton Cenatiempo and Mason Marshall should lay a solid foundation, and JC transfers Connor Williams and Kendall Motes are excellent talent additions.

One newcomer that will be exciting to watch is outfielder Kyle Dean, who is projected by many to be the freshman of the year in the WCC. Alongside Dean will be Brennon Lund in center and Eric Urry in left field. For the infield, Tanner Chauncey can play multiple infield positions but likely settles in at first base, and Brennon Anderson returns at second after his LDS mission.

Coach Littlewood said sophomore Colton Shaver, who usually functions as the designated hitter, may occasionally play catcher and first baseman. Shaver had an outstanding first year in 2015.

Finishing up the infield is Hayden Nielson at shortstop and Bronson Larsen at catcher, and the front-runner at third, as reported by Kat Leakehe, should be Jackson Cluff.

The BYU Baseball team is projected to finish between third and fifth in the WCC in 2016. I think the Cougars will finish second and reach 30 wins in the regular season.