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2016 Texas Tech Baseball Preview

We examine the 35 Red Raiders who have Omaha on the brain

One year after advancing to the College World Series for the first time in program history, the 2015 season failed to live up to expectations. But then again, the only thing that would have met those high expectations was a return trip to the CWS. After the disappointment of going 31-24 last year -- A season filled with dismal offensive production and bad luck-- there is nothing this team wants to do than get leave 2015 behind and get back to their winning ways.

Even with the down year last year, Coach Tadlock has reinvigorated the program and put it consistently in the national spotlight. The national media isn't so sure. In what many thought would be a return to the preseason Top 25, every major ranking left the Red Raiders off, which only fuels Tech's fire even more. 

Tech returns 17 players from last year and welcomes 15 newcomers to the program. With all major starters returning save the middle infield, including Tim Proudfoot and Bryant Burleson. With only two infielders in the incoming class, it's a safe bet that they'll both start up the middle from day one. Here's how the Opening Day positions look according to VTM.

Quick Notes:

  • Orlando Garcia gets the nod over platoon partner, Michael Davis, because Garcia had better production offensively than Davis last year.
  • Zach Davis starts in Center, mainly due to his defense and senior standing. He's been in a tough position battle with Cory Raley and sophmore, Tanner Gardner.

With plenty of power and production up and down the lineup, the key for Tech this year, will be pitching and defense. Defense has been a particular struggle at times for the team going back to the error filled Game 2 of the CWS in 2014. The hope being that an 18-man deep pitching staff, over half of whom are first year players, will pitch consistently enough to take pressure off the defense and vice-versa. The key returner is Junior Ryan Moseley who complied at respectable 3.46 ERA over 65 innings pitched in 2015. His good work was often a missed opportunity as he recorded just 4 wins in 12 starts. Junior catcher, Kholeton Sanchez has stated this is an "elite" pitching staff and is going to surprise a lot of people with how dominate they can be. "It's not fun facing them when we're in the hitter spots" admits Sanchez.

The competition is a good thing for this Red Raider team with as many first time players to the college ranks and the overwhelming number of freshman. For this team to grow and compete beyond this year, that will be a must. Some positions battles are still ongoing and just like the football team, as a fan, you want the players to be pushing each other and vying for playing time, not just in pre-season, but throughout the season as well.

To get there they will have rely on 4th year Head Coach, Tim Tadlock.

Tadlock is known as one of the best recruiters in the country and has a definite focus on what he wants in a player coming into the program. A heavy emphasis on JUCO players during his first few years has switched to more of a HS approach as he builds for long term success. Like Kliff Kingsbury and Candi Whitaker, Tadlock is a Texas Tech alum and bleeds scarlet and black as much as anyone. The turnaround of the program in just a few short years has been a great testament to the players and the coaching staff and the culture they have instilled at Dan Law Field. 

KEY GAMES:

March 4, 5, 6 series against Cal State Fullerton (HOME)
March 11, 12,13 series against University of California (AWAY)
April 15,16,17 series against San Diego State (HOME)

Let us know your thoughts for the season, whether you'd like to hear a Baseball Podcast and let us know in the poll your expectations for this season.