2008 TCU Baseball Preview: Part I

Feb. 18, 2008

FORT WORTH, Texas - A tall task awaits the coaching staff in 2008 as they look to refuel after the draft and graduation took its toll on the Horned Frog roster from a year ago. In total, the Frogs lost 12 members from a squad that won a school-record 48 contests. Included in that number is the entire starting rotation and No.'s 2-5 in the batting order. While those are ominous numbers, the Frogs are confident they have restocked the locker room with a talented group of newcomers.

In total, the Frogs welcomed 16 newcomers to the fold. Add to that the healthy return of four playes who missed last season with injuries, the Frogs feel they are poised at yet another run at a conference championship and a berth in the NCAA regional.

The following is a look at the Frogs' pitching forecast for the 2008 season:

Starting Rotation
The departure of all three weekend starters from a year ago has left a gapping hole on the mound in 2008. Add to that a more condensed schedule, the Frogs face quite a challenge.

While the task seems daunting, the Frogs have nine very talented pitchers returning from last season along with eight newcomers. Combined, the returners made just seven starts last season. The coaching staff will have plenty of arms to choose from to put together their starting rotation.

The healthy return of Seth Garrison (1-0, 1.98 ERA) from elbow surgery will give the rotation a big boost. He was in the midst of a breakout season when he suffered the season-ending injury.

Steven Maxwell (1-0, 3.86 ERA) should make the move out of the bullpen into the starting rotation. The sophomore had an outstanding summer season in the TCL and was ranked by Baseball America as the sixth top prospect in the league.

Tyler Lockwood (5-2, 4.09 ERA) had three starts a year ago as a freshman and could possibly make spot starts during the midweek contests.

A pair of newcomers could also make an immediate impact in the starting rotation. Andrew Cashner is highly regarded as one of the top prospects in the country and was drafted in the 29th round by the Chicago Cubs out of Angelina Junior College.

Perfect Games' New York Player of the Year, Greg Holle, has the look of a starting pitcher standing 6'8" with powerful stuff on the mound.

The wide-open competiton for the starting nods provides the coaching staff with a good look at what they have on the mound as guys compete to be part of the starting rotation.

The Bullpen
The bullpen could be one of the strengths of the 2008 squad as it will feature many familiar faces ready for any situation.

Lockwood logged a lot of innings in middle relief and was successful in that role a year ago. He most likely will return to that role in 2008.

Taylor Cragin (2-0, 2.42 ERA) put together a strong sophomore campaign, pitching in big games for the Frogs.

Dillon Farish will return after missing last season with an injury. His senior leadership will go a long way in helping a young bullpen.

Derek VerHagen (1-0, 4.24) and newcomer Gabe Sandersius will give the coaching staff options from the left side of the mound.

With two years in the program, Eric Marshall could also get some work out of the bullpen.

Newcomers Sean Hoelscher and Trent Appleby could see time on the mound along with Travis Spencer and Paul Gerrish, both of whom redshirted a year ago.

For the last two seasons, the Frogs have had the luxury of a shut-down guy in the bullpen with Sam Demel, TCU's all-time career saves leader. Now he has departed for the minor leagues and the coaching staff is looking for his replacement. With the condensed schedule, it is likely this role will be filled by a couple of different guys and a trio of newcomers seem to be the frontrunners in the early going.

Texas Tech transfer Collin Auten has Division I experience and led the Red Raiders with five saves.

A pair of newcomers have also received a serious look to anchor the backend of the bullpen. Freshman Chris Anagnostou had an outstanding high school career and was named the Houston-area Pitcher of the Year.

Matt Coburn transferred in at semester after a successful two-year stint at San Jacinto Junior College. He totaled nine saves in his two seasons and earned a spot on the JUCO All-Star team.



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