D1 Baseball: Hogs Omaha bound in 2020

Two of their three guys think we’ll be back for part three, along with several other SEC teams.


I’ve thought – and Matt Jones and I seem to share this opinion – that this will be one of Dave Van Horn’s best teams. It’s early. Things have to go right. But there are a lot of great pieces to the puzzle. Dave usually figures it out. Things change. Like in coaches. I don’t expect any moves this late, but it’s happened before when you have good assistants like Nate Thompson and Matt Hobbs. And, of course, you have to dodge the injury bug. They did after the start of last season. Dave and Nate both told me last winter that there was a lack of depth, but guess what, there were no injuries really to the every day lineup. That’s one of the reasons some of the utility players got so little time in the lineup. No one got hurt.

Yup, Wiz posted that back in July: viewtopic.php?f=7&t=28212&p=210043

I already have hotel rooms booked in Omaha next year. Typically I wait until a point in the season that I think the team might be good enough. In 2018, it was the Kentucky series that made me realize how good the team was; this year it was the Mississippi State series.

I have thought for three years that 2020 set up as a potential blockbuster season.

Did you see our pitching staff next year from three years back? Was that expectation based on the Martin and Kjerstad class of recruits? The strength of the recruiting classes back to back to back? I am just curious what you could see then and how much it “came to fruition” and how much it is “surprise emerging talent” and later recruits that make this next team special.

More than anything it was based on what I could see happening in recruiting. Once I saw what Martin, Kjerstad and Opitz were capable of doing as freshmen last year, then Wicklander and Noland as pitchers this year, it reinforced that belief. I think there are some players coming in next year who can have a good first-year impact, too.

The 2020 team is going to be experienced before the season even begins, and as Clay said, it will be deep. Dave Van Horn told me a couple of weeks ago that they will have more depth to scrimmage this fall than any fall since he has been here. The competition to get on the field is going to be incredible to watch. There are some potential holes in the roster - notably in the pitching staff - but every college team has those. The key is to have players step up and patch those holes as best as possible. That is what Arkansas did in 2019, and I think the 2020 team looks a lot better on paper than the 2019 team did this time last year.

“WHAMMY” :sunglasses:

I can’t remember having more anticipation for the upcoming 3 major sports as now, can’t wait. :sunglasses:

I feel happy now, Hog baseball has become the sport of hope and anticipation…

Campbell provided a great Friday night replacement for Knight. But, I don’t see a potential replacement for Campbell.

I could see Wick being a Friday night stopper. It’s a lot to ask of a soph but not impossible. Suppose I can’t rule it out for Noland now that he’s focused on baseball. Less frequently a freshman becomes Da Man.

I started this thread because Kendall had tweeted about the column that day. Didn’t realize he was tweeting about old news.

No one expected Campbell to have the kind of season he had. It’s hard to see how Arkansas won’t take a step back on Fridays next year because of how great Campbell was. But I think 1-3 the starting rotation will probably be better because of the experience Wicklander and Noland gained this year.

I think the only hope for an effective Friday night starter is Noland. It is conceivable that, now that he is totally focused in terms of weight training and off season work, on baseball that he might take a big leap forward in velocity, control, and expand/enhance his pitch options. Improve his change up pitch, curve ball, slider, etc. He should improve more from freshman to sophomore year than a normal baseball only player.

I wouldn’t exclude Wicklander. He has a lot of potential as well.

Totally agree Wicklander can be nasty with a little more control and an improved Changeup.

I thought Wicklander was the best of the freshman pitchers this year, especially once he got into the weekend rotation because his walks decreased significantly from when he was in the bullpen. When Wicklander has control he is really good.