Here comes the hype train.
Fresh off of their third straight College World Series appearance, and returning the majority of their starting lineup and pitching staff, TCU Baseball has earned Collegiate Baseball’s Preseason #1 Ranking.
Led by their five pre-season All-Americans, including super sophomore Luken Baker and ace Brian Howard, the Frogs have eight position players and five important pitchers back from a team that ran through the Big 12 Tournament, dominated in a home Regional, and outlasted Texas A&M at Blue Bell Park in the Supers on the way to Omaha. Though the Frogs could not overcome 2016’s Cinderella Coastal Carolina, who would go on to to win the National Championship, they won a pair of games and advanced to the final weekend, setting up a potential National Championship run of their own for the coming season.
TCU No. 1 in CB’ s Fabulous 40 D-I pre-season poll presented by Big League Chew. Go to: https://t.co/mwPyom1pHo@bigleaguechew @TCU_Baseball pic.twitter.com/Ofd2CxynTi— Collegiate Baseball (@CBNewspaper) December 20, 2016
With a combination of power and discipline at the plate, the Frogs should improve on their seven runs per game and 315 walks, while increasing a steal total of 97 based on the return of speedy center fielder Nolan Brown from injury. Combine the return of Luken Baker, Evan Skoug, Josh Watson, Cam Warner, and more, with a pitching staff led by Howard, Mitchell Traver, Jared Janczak, and closer Durbin Feltman, and TCU has the look of an imposing powerhouse at the plate, on the mound, and in the field. Add in the country’s 8th best recruiting class - headlined by freshman pitcher Nick Lodolo - who turned down big pro money to come to Fort Worth - and the Frogs could be in for a special season.
“We have a veteran club with College World Series experience,” said TCU Head Coach Jim Schlossnagle. “We return eight of nine starting position players. We also have our entire weekend pitching staff rotation and closer from last year’s ball club back. You have to like the experiences that those guys have gone through. We have now been to three straight College World Series. In the process, we have played some very tight Super Regional games. They have been in the fire. That’s for sure.”
This is just the first of what could be several significant preseason honors for TCU Baseball as a program, and its players. With opening day less than 60 days away, the road to Omaha is beginning.
You can see Collegiate Baseball’s top 40 here.