At least for Texas, Spring should be here in about 3 days, last about 5 days, then on to summer. So obviously it's time for several outlets to be releasing their 2008 College Baseball Pre-season Rankings. Texas is ranked in every poll going as high as #6 in the NCBWA, and #8 in the Collegiate Baseball poll, and as low as #16 in the Baseball America poll. But what does Baseball America know?
Texas fell short of the World Series last year as their achilles heel of pitching was the same has it had been all season, and the bats couldn't come through in the clutch. This season, many of the bats are gone as Texas will have three slots to fill in the infield. All of which could be filled by transfers. Michael Torres (Fresno State), David Hernandez (Florida State), and Brandon Belt (San Jacento JC) all are front runners to be on the opening day lineup. But not all of the bats are gone as Texas returns their headlining juniors of 2007 NCAA Home Run Champ Kyle Russell (.335/28/71) and Jordan Danks (.332/4/38). However, with some of the other bats moved on, the lineup could more closely resemble the traditional Augie small ball lineups.
The pitching staff for the Longhorns underachieved all of last season, as Texas struggled with consistency from their starting rotation and depth in their bullpen. Texas will get to start mostly from scratch as Austin Wood (8-1/3.15) is the only reliable pitching arm returning from 2007. However, Texas has an infux of talent coming into the pitching staff in 2008. Starting with the return from injury of Kenn Kasparek, the 6-10 starter who pitched well in the postseason in 2006. Also coming back will be Randy Boening who missed all of 2007 as well. Texas also welcomes in transfers from Florida State, Oral Roberts, and San Jacento JC, as well as 6 freshman arms. With so many pitchers to choose from, hopefully Augie will be able to find enough arms to get Texas back as one of the premier pitching teams in the country.