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Texas Tech Baseball: The Outfield

We already looked at the infield, and now we'll take a look at the Outfield and the Designated Hitter position. Who will be starting in Left Field, Center Field, Right Field and Designated Hitter.

Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

You saw last week who could be playing in the infield positions, now we'll be looking at Right Field, Center Field, Left Field and Designated Hitter (technically not the outfield, but we have to the position somewhere).

Right Field:

Stephen Smith (SO.) Anthony Lyons (SO.) Quinn Carpenter (JR.)
.417 OBP, 20 RBIs .969 Fielding % .286 AVG, 8 RBIs, .900 Fielding % Transfer from Iowa Central CC

Last Year - Several players played Right Field this past season. Eric Gutierrez played a game in RF at the start of the season, with Adam Kirsch and Stephen Smith playing a majority of the season. Stephen Smith would eventually play Right Field in the playoffs and is poised to start in the outfield next season. However, with Anthony Lyons, Quinn Carpenter, and Zach Davis vying for a spot in the outfield, Smith could be moved.

My Prediction - Stephen Smith will be the starter in Right Field, with Anthony Lyons and Quinn Carpenter playing reserve time.

This Year - Stephen Smith was a nice little surprise for the Red Raiders last year, being one of the Big XII leaders in On Base Percentage (3rd overall). Smith played well in his first season, getting on base, coming up with some big hits in the regular season and providing an extra glove. He provides consistently at the lead-off spot by getting on base, but I think he could be moved to the 2nd spot this year. I think he'll play in Right Field this year so Tadlock can add a little speed at the Center Field position and in the line-up.

As for the back-up I think it will likely be shared time between Quinn Carpenter and Anthony Lyons. The starter would be determined on who is pitcher. If a Right Hander is on the mound, Quinn Carpenter will likely play. If a Left Hander is on the mound, Anthony Lyons will likely play. They could use them in pinch hitting situations or if Smith needs a day off. Anthony Lyons is also quick enough to be used as a pinch runner. We'll definitely see these guys some point in the year.

Center Field:

Stephen Smith (SO.) Zach Davis (JR.) Hunter Hargrove (SO.)
.417 OBP, 20 RBIs, .969 Fielding % .367 AVG, 9 SB (9 Attempts), .952 Fielding % Transfer from North Central Texas

Last Year - Many players played Center Field last year. Devon Conley started the season in CF, then Zach Davis got some time, and Stephen Smith played a little CF before Conley became the Center Fielder once the playoffs came around. Conley provided the speed factor in the line-up and great defense. He had an RBI in the regional final that sent Tech to the Super Regional and a great defensive play that took Tech to the College World Series.

My Prediction - Zach Davis gets in the start in Center Field, with Stephen Smith moving over to Center when Davis doesn't play

This Year - I figured Stephen Smith and Tyler Neslony would get the start in the outfield, but I wasn't sure who would get in the final spot. I narrowed the list to Davis, Carpenter and Lyons, but I eventually went with Davis because of the speed he provides and how he stepped up in the postseason. He also has the most experience on the team and played well at the plate and in the outfield in the Red and Black series. I think he could take over the lead off spot and get in a good position for either Stephen Smith, Tyler Neslony or Eric Gutierrez to hit him home.

However, this is another position (like 3rd Base) where I could be totally wrong. Anthony Lyons or Quinn Carpenter could easily start the season in the outfield. Don't be surprised if any of these guys start next season.

Left Field:

Tyler Neslony (JR.) Anthony Lyons (SO.) Quinn Carpenter (JR.) Hunter Hargrove (SO.)
.375 AVG, 34 RBIs, .986 Fielding % .286 AVG, 8 RBIs, .900 Fielding % Transfer from Iowa Central CC Transfer from North Central Texas

Last YearHeath Herrington started the season at Left Field last year, but Tyler Neslony quickly took over the job during the Indiana Series. However, Neslony got hurt during the year, so Anthony Lyons, Alec Humphreys and Todd Richie filled the void while Neslony was out. Neslony would be the starting Left Fielder throughout the play-off and made big plays for the Red Raiders in the 3-hole.

My Prediction - Tyler Neslony will start the season at Left Field, with Quinn Carpenter and Anthony Lyons getting a majority of the back-up time here.

This Year - Tyler Neslony was stellar last year in Left Field. He had the highest average in the Big XII and would've had the batting title if he played enough games. He was right up there with Eric Gutierrez and Adam Kirsch when it came to production, and came up with clutch hits in the Super Regional and College World Series. Neslony is speedy, has a good glove and sneaky power. He lead the Big XII in Triples, had 12 doubles, and a .454 OBP He'll definitely get the start next year in Left Field for the Red Raiders.

As for the back-up I think it will likely be shared time between Quinn Carpenter and Anthony Lyons. Much like the Right Field position, the starter would be determined on who is pitcher. They could use them in pinch hitting situations or if Neslony needs a day off. Anthony Lyons is also quick enough to be used as a pinch runner. Someone like Heath Harrington could also be used here as a defensive sub.

Designated Hitter:

Last Year - I'm not going to list all the players that played Designated Hitter last year, or list the players that could play it next year. Basically everyone could play the position, but the best hitters will likely be in position to play DH. Last year, Adam Kirsch played majority of the time at DH, and was Designed Hitter once the postseason came around. He had a key 2-run HR in the Regionals and hit home the lone run in Game 2 of Super Regional.

My Prediction - Tanner Gardner, Anthony Lyons, Quinn Carpenter and WIll Hairston will all see time as Designated Hitter, with Quinn Carpenter earning the job when it's all said and done.

This Year - I think Tech will go through several Designated Hitters throughout the year, but I think Quinn Carpenter will get the job when Big XII play begins. Tech is losing a lot of power with Adam Kirsch, and could use a threat in the middle of the order with Quinn Carpenter. He has enough power where he could lead the league in HR's this year, even over Eric Gutierrez and Texas' Tres Barrera. I think Tech could really use power in the line-up. Tadlock will try a lot of player at the DH position to find the right guy for the position.