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2017 TCU Baseball Preview: Top Returning Players

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With a good chunk of last year’s team coming back in 2017, it’s no wonder the Frogs are ranked No. 1 pretty much everywhere.

NCAA Baseball: College World Series-TCU vs Texas Tech Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Talent. Returners. That “chip on the shoulder” business. It seems TCU has the recipe for a No. 1 team this year.

Just about everyone in the starting lineup is back, minus Dane Steinhagen, so it’s really just a matter of keeping up the momentum and delivering. There’s a good chance the majority of the names that appear on the scoreboard will be familiar. Here are just a few to watch out for:

Evan Skoug

NCAA Baseball: College World Series-Coastal Carolina vs TCU Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Catcher Evan Skoug, better known as Skougasaurus, is the true definition of a heavy hitter. Skoug slammed 9 home runs last season, finishing with a solid .301 batting average. Expect this guy to bring it hard again this year.

Elliott Barzilli

NCAA Baseball: College World Series-Coastal Carolina vs TCU Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

BARZ IS BACK. Another strong hitter, third baseman Elliott Barzilli had a .339 batting average last year (the second-best on the team, just under Luken Baker). But he’s not just prolific at bat. He’s a sneaky guy, too, stealing 14 bases out of 16 attempts last season.

Brian Howard

NCAA Baseball: College World Series-Coastal Carolina vs TCU Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Pitcher Brian Howard is that tall, lanky dude who served as the Frogs’ go-to starter in 2016, throwing out 93 strikeouts on the season. He finished with a 3.19 ERA and 10-2 record.

Jared Janczak

NCAA Baseball: College World Series-TCU vs Texas Tech Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Pitcher Jared Janczak began last season as a reliever but eventually became a starter when fellow pitcher Mitchell Traver couldn’t play due to injury. In the end, Janczak rocked a 2.61 ERA — the best on the team.

Luken Baker

NCAA Baseball: College World Series-Coastal Carolina vs TCU Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

And then there’s Luken. Or should I say, THE Luken. As a freshman last year, the designated hitter (and this year, infielder) held the team’s best batting average (.379) and knocked out 11 home runs, tying with teammate Josh Watson. Whether Baker will be able to continue being a wonder to behold this year is yet to be seen, but if he can manage to skip over the sophomore slump...man. I want what he has for breakfast every morning.