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Most of the smoke from draft day has cleared and we can begin to see where we are headed from here. Dahl and Russell were both expected to be gone long before draft day - had hoped they were sliding but those mock drafts are pretty much worthless after the top 5 picks for accuracy. The LHP from Baton Rouge was a bit of a surprise to go #100 and based on his Twitter this morning - he's gone but not a massive loss. We did keep 3-4 guys that were draft threats in Rucker, Ebert, Gillikin, and possibly Dylan Smith so we came out smelling pretty darn good for incoming talent - easily our best class in a long time - possibly better than Slater's big class that Pawloski won 20 SEC games with.
Gillikin will likely push for the centerfield job but we do return a bunch of talent in the outfield so not pressing. Ebert will compete for the 2nd base slot and we could possibly see Alvord moved over there. Dylan Smith will compete for the 3rd base job but we do have some options with the other Smith that started at 3rd for us on opening day competing there and possibly at 2nd. Point is we do have options. Shortstop is still a touchy subject for me - if Glavenyak returns and plays defensively like he did in the SEC tourney we will be fine but we don't have any other options right now outside of possibly Ebert but his Twitter sounds like 2B is his mindset.
We return Patrick Savage at 1B who had a very good May and also JD Crowe returns from injury - he showed some promise last fall before getting hurt. Damek Tomsche could be the Juco National Player of the Year as he had another monster year and his team won the juco national championship - he will compete at 1st with Savage and could also get a strong look in RF as he has a cannon of an arm. Rucker is a bonus guy - immense talent and power potential but raw. Hopefully he's much better than a Kevin Patterson who struggled against offspeed pitching. If he comes in and tears it up, that is just icing on the cake.
Other than shortstop, the other big concern for Auburn is starting pitching. Fortunately we are bringing in 4 talented guys that will compete for 1-2 starting slots to match up with super frosh Daniel Koger who should be even better as he gets stronger over the summer and fall. Koger appeared to get tired down the stretch. We also have redshirting frosh Justin Camp who has Friday night talent but is coming back from Tommy John but doing very well from what I hear. I did a bunch of research on the 4 newcomers that will compete for starting slots and also included Justin Camp since he hasn't been seen this year:
Justin Camp - big bodied RHP at 250 pounds that is a bulldog on the mound. Was throwing 92-93 prior to injury with good curve and command. Most guys come back from Tommy John stronger so will not be surprised if he touches mid 90's. Threw 3 no-hitters in high school.
Trey Wingenter - RHP with major league frame at 6'7" 200 pounds. Amazingly, has played Catcher his whole career and can really hit which shows his athleticism. Only started pitching his junior year and had a monster senior season. Haven't seen his numbers yet but have heard he struck out over 150 - I do know he struck out 42 in 3 starts - all 7 inning games. Had a no-hitter this year and showed great command all year. Has a plus slider to compliment a fastball that should touch the mid 90's at Auburn. He's a guy I really like to make a run at a starting slot.
Matt Schultz - incoming frosh RHP that had Tommy John as a sophomore but hit 96 this spring. Played on a bad team but was pretty much unhittable in the Chicago area. Might be better suited to closer but a big-time talent.
Conner Kendrick - juco LHP that had a so-so spring. Played at GT as a frosh. ERA wasn't great this spring but all his other numbers looked good. Got size and talent to put it all together and be an SEC starter.
Mike O'Neal - juco LHP that was lights out as a frosh and only a so-so spring. Has the ability to induce grown balls and get outs. Different style pitcher than Kendrick but could also put it all together at Auburn.
Cole Lipscomb - kind of a wildcard as he comes to Auburn from AISA Edgewood Academy. Has dominated that competition so badly that you would like to think he's legit. Don't forget - Tim Hudson came from an AISA school and Lipscomb is very similar to Tim in build and arm. He might surprise us all and be a stud from Day 1.
Overall, we should be as talented as this year and will have more talented pitching than we've had in many years. Hopefully this is Pawlowski's year to turn the corner.
Another excellent analysis. Thanks.
Really liked the breakdown. Had to laugh however, at the "grown balls." Ha !!
What about Garrett Cooper at first? I believe he has one year left
This post was edited by wareagle16 22 months ago
Not expected to return. Will sign as a free agent if not drafted from what I hear.
I just hope what I saw out of Lipscomb in the AISA Championship series was not indicative of what he will come to Auburn with. He was all over the place. He did throw very hard though and eventually got it going, but early on he was wild. Bounced plenty of pitches to the plate.
Fearless and true.
His season stats (not sure if they included title game) only showed 13 walks in 77 innings with over 100 k's. Bad night?
He said on twitter couple of days ago that he was coming back and to take care of some unfinished business.
What about Will Kendall? Will he be back next spring?
Later in season. Maybe as early as April.
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