There are zero TCU Baseball players on the league’s recently announced 2021 Preseason All-Conference team.
This is the second year in a row that the league’s most decorated team has gotten disrespected when it comes to preseason honors, as the same thing occurred leading into the 2020 campaign. We never had the chance to prove how wrong they were, though, as the season was stopped after just a few weeks of play due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Guys like Johnny Ray (1-1 with a 2.53 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 21.1 innings), Russell Smith (2-0, 2.57 ERA and 27 Ks in 21 frames), and Haylen Green (1-0, 0.00 ERA, 19 strikeouts in 17.2 innings) were making a case on the bump and guys like Gray Rodgers, Tommy Sacco, and Gene Wood were amongst the league leaders in various categories.
Additionally, Green was named a Pre-Season All American by Collegiate Baseball, who has the Frogs ranked 19th in their opening poll. DI Baseball starts TCU out at number 10.
The Horned Frogs should be very good once again in 2021; having returned all eight seniors from a year ago and added several of their top recruits — players that would have likely been high to mid round draft picks in a normal year — this is as stacked a squad as you will find in college baseball, and at all three areas. TCU could well be the Big 12’s best defensive team, and the pitching staff should be a top unit nationally, as well. But the Big 12 is absolutely loaded this spring: of the nine programs that field a baseball team, five find themselves ranked in the top 25 ahead of opening day, with #3 Texas Tech, #9 Texas, #10 TCU, #14 WVU, and #20 Oklahoma State all shouldering the burden of high expectations.
It’s hard to argue against the choices made by the conference, as the league is loaded with talented players. But to have a team that has been at or near the top annually be disrespected without a single All-Conference player heading into the season for a second straight year should be motivating for a TCU team that certainly feels like they have something to prove.
It might not be Omaha or bust in 2021, but it sure feels that way. And guys like Green, Wood, Austin Henry, Charles King, Hunter Wolfe, Zach Humphreys, Conner Shepherd, and Dalton Brown didn’t come back to not make a serious run at the College World Series.
They, along with the bevy of talented young players will certainly be ready to prove them wrong when the season kicks off. And they will get an immediate chance to do just that when they participate in a loaded field at the State Farm College Baseball Showdown at Globe Life, a three day tournament that pits three ranked teams each from the Big 12 and SEC against each other for three great days of baseball from February 19th-21st.