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Texas Tech Baseball Season Preview - Outfield

Tech to welcome some new faces in the outfield this year

Last week, we took a look at the schedule. This week we’re looking at how the outfield may stack up.

Key Departures

  • Zach Davis - 2016 MLB draft, 32nd round, Chicago Cubs. Currently playing with the Cubs in the Arizona League
  • Stephen Smith - 2016 MLB draft, 10th round, Arizona Diamondbacks. Currently playing with the Hillsboro Hops in the Northwest League
  • Tyler Neslony - 2016 MLB draft, 9th round, Atlanta Braves. Currently playing with the Rome Braves in the South Atlantic League

Returners

  • Tanner Gardner - 2016: Hit .379 with 89 hits in 235 at bats. 19 2B’s, 6 3B’s, and 3 HR’s with 35 RBI’s. Responsible for 4 errors, with a fielding percentage of .965
  • Cody Farhat - 2016: Started 3 games for Tech as a freshman, with 5 hits in a limited role, mainly later in the season including the conference tournament and postseason play
  • Anthony Lyons - 2016: Appeared in 20 games last season, 57 games in his career, hitting .280. Anthony has been selected at the past 3 NCAA conventions, where 3 student athletes from each of the Power 5 conferences vote and discuss popular topics in college athletics and academics
  • Hunter Hargrove - 2016: Started 24 games, all at 3rd base, but could see some time in the outfield in 2017. Hit 3-5 with 4 RBI’s in the 11-0 Super Regional clinching win over ECU that sent Tech to the 2016 CWS.

Arrivals

  • Connor Beck - Originally a TCU signee, was a redshirt freshman in 2015. Transferred to Midland College of the Western Junior College Athletic Conference for the 2106 season where he hit .400 with 15 home runs and 82 RBI’s. Both parents were student athletes at Tech.
  • John McMillon - John turned down a $700k signing bonus after being drafted by Tampa to play for the Red Raiders. He is listed as a pitcher, outfielder, infielder, and catcher, but will mostly be seen in the outfield and possibly on the mound.
  • Cameron Warren - Cameron comes to Lubbock from Seminol, Oklahoma, where he was named 1st team NJCAA All-American, hitting .457 with 16 home runs at Seminole Junior College

Tanner Gardner is the obvious mainstay from last year, with 64 starts in 65 games. Zach Davis, Cory Raley, Stephen Smith, and Tyler Neslony combined for 202 starts last year in the field and Raley as a DH, so Tech will be looking to replace a lot of experience and production. Farhat and Lyons could see expanded roles and Hargrove has been able to play outfield in the past, depending on how much help the infield needs.

The biggest question mark this season will be how the newcomers impact the starting lineup. McMillon has the power to possibly become a starting corner outfielder, depending on how the pitching staff turns out. He has been able to throw in the high 90’s, flirting with triple digits, and could challenge for a closer position. Connor Beck had a good intra-squad scrimmage in the Red and Black series, with multiple games of multi-hit performances, and if Warren can continue his excellent JUCO performance, he can nail down the DH position.

Projected Lineup on Day 1

LF - Hunter Hargrove

CF - Tanner Gardner

RF - John McMillon

DH - Cameron Warren

Next week we’ll take a look at the new Red Raider infield