April 19, 2017

Baseball!

Sorry for the lack of baseball posts... until now.  Boom.

http://grfx.cstv.com/photos/schools/va/sports/m-basebl/auto_pdf/2016-17/stats/season_stats.pdf

Let's take a look at this...

-- We have three weekend starters with sub-4.00 ERAs in Casey, Murderer Murdock, and Haseley. I feel really strongly that we've found our top three guys, guys who will carry us for the next two months. None of the three are really a bonafide 'ace,' per se... but they each possess soaring upside.

Trust me, we're lucky to have the Murderer in
orange and blue for 2017, 2018, and 2019.
Casey, meanwhile, is enjoying a triumphant ascension to his
rightful spot on Friday night.

(Also, this is my favorite UVA baseball uni.)

-- Bettinger is having a VERY good season. He's a real weapon in long relief. I really like him paired with Murdock, complementing Noah's raw overwhelming stuff with Betty's experience and savvy.

-- Doyle is an 'okay' closer, by UVA standards. He's good enough.

-- Bennett Sousa can eat some innings in relief. He's had some good outings.

-- To me, Chesdin Harrington is one of the unsung bright spots on this year's team. Really solid pitcher, especially against lesser competition (like we may face in the NCAA Tournament setting.)

-- Lynch and Sperling struggled as the Friday/Saturday starters, but have settled in nicely (so far) as mid-week guys. We'll need their arms in the tournament setting; and their experience as starters coupled with rebuilt confidence could/should serve us well.

The 6-foot-6 Sperling - at his best - can be intimidating and overpowering.
A real weapon as a #4/#5 starter.

-- It's hard to remember a time when our staff went a legit nine-deep with proven performers. Jack Roberts makes 10, though I'm not sure we'd ever trust him in an important game.

-- Offensively, the case can be made that this is Brian O'Connor's best lineup at UVA.

-- Haseley and Ginger Avenger Pavin Smith, fuhgettaboutit. Studs.

-- Caleb Knight has been a revelation at catcher. Hope he's able to keep this up thru the month of June.

-- Cam Simmons, Robbie Coman, Ernie Clement, all swinging capable bats. Ernie, specifically, is continuing to emerge from his early season sorta-semi-slump.

-- Jake McCarthy is an athletic marvel. I love what he brings to the table to complement the other guys.

(Also, this is my second-favorite UVA baseball uni.)

-- When guys like Weber, Eikhoff, and Novak are your "worst" hitters, you're in pretty god damn good shape.

-- .974 team fielding percentage. Slightly below BOC's best defensive teams, but very very solid. (For comparison --- 2012 - .972 / 2013 - .969 / 2014 - .981 / 2015 - .971 / 2016 - .970)

-- We're currently 30-9, 10-8 in the ACC, with weekend series against Notre Dame, at FSU, Miami, and at GT looming. It won't be easy to finish with a winning record in the ACC, but ND, Miami, and GT are having down years, and FSU is also a step off of their normally torrid pace. I predict something in the neighborhood of 7-5 during that span, yielding a 17-13 conference record when the dust settles.

-- We've been dominant in mid-week games, and with talents like Sperling and Lynch drawing those starts, I see no reason to expect anything less than success in upcoming games against JMU, Radford, Liberty, and Richmond. So I guess I'm predicting a 41-14 regular season record. That's maybe just outside national seed territory, but it's absolutely in range to allow us to host our first round regional.

-- The ACC tourney in Louisville is going to be beastly. Louisville is a strong team, playing with a big home field advantage. Clemson and Carolina are both juggernauts. Wake can beat anyone they play. We'll have our work cut out for us if we want to bring home that chip.



-- Current national seeds are likely: Oregon State (30-2), Louisville (31-4), Clemson (30-6), UNC (29-7), Texas Tech (31-8), TCU (28-7), Arizona (26-9), and... there's an opening for that #8 slot. Fullerton, LSU, Kentucky, Auburn, Florida, Michigan, Arkansas, Mississippi State, Texas A&M, Virginia... that's your scrum. (I'm probably wrong about the SEC teams -- at least two of them will land national seeds, based on SoS.)

-- My newly-adjusted expectations for this season: Good showing in the ACCT, host a regional, win said regional, road team in the super regional, 50-50 shot at advancing to Omaha. I'd like our chances against any of the non-SEC and non-ACC teams in that setting.


GO HOOS!

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