I know it’s soon, but I have moved on. Went through hell and agony after game 2. Had game 3 pretty much figured out, and I was drained anyway.
So. Can Campbell pitch from the stretch next year? Will the other pitchers be able to make improvements? Will McKinney ever pitch again? Are there any freshmen coming in who might do what OSU’s freshman did? And JUCO pitchers with great promise?
How did their pitchers go so long, so effectively?
Who will play 1st? 3rd? Will the JUCO corner infielder be in the mix? I have heard rumors of maybe a graduate transfer from a nearby college.
I think we can get back next year just like I thought we could get there this year. However, even if we have a great team, one that’s even better than this one, a few bad breaks can stop it. I think it’s very likely we make the NCAA next year, but to have much of a chance to get to Omaha, it’s best to be seeded highly so you can host both a regional & super regional. MSU, Texas, & Washington proved you can make it without hosting, but it’s still better to play well enough to earn those. (On the flip side, Ole Miss & FSU proved that getting a high seed doesn’t guarantee you’ll get out of your home regional.)
But I think it’s realistic to hold our reasonable hope we’ll get back to Omaha next year. For this program it isn’t pie in the sky hope. It’s reasonable. But we’ll have to beat some good teams to do it. Getting to the finals is very hard. Probably not a realistic “expectation” but not one that’s out of line with reality.
My gut tells me next year is a possibility - because of the shape our program is in - but not a probability as it was this year. I’d think it would be 2020 or 2021. Yes, we’ll be losing some real studs, but I’d bet we have others of similar skill coming in behind them. We just don’t know who they are yet.
It’s never to early to talk Hog sports. Signed 12 pitchers. After Knight it was solid at #2 and crapshoot at 3. 3 spots available in my opinion. Campbell better learn to pitch from the stretch or he will be - what could have been. Electric stuff but Ricky Vaughn control. Matt can answer much more but who is left after signings by MLB and who is going to emerge is a million dollar question. Hitting should be good. Time will tell. Like the juco catcher.
How do you explain the fact that we’ve been 5 times in 14 seasons? Pure luck?
Yes, it IS hard to get to the CWS - just like it’s hard to get to the Final Four, or into the CFP group of four. But in baseball, our history tells us that our program is in good shape to compete for the CWS most every year, which means we’ll probably get there again 2 or 3 times each decade. Not a guarantee, of course; but a reasonable expectation.
Now, if you’re talking about the FINAL of the CWS (NOT what the OP asked), that’s a different story. It might take 10 or 20 years to get back there. Or, 3 - you just never know when you’ve got a program, coaches and the facilities that we do.
Martin and Kjerstad will be team leaders as high-drafted juniors. DVH will fill in holes as needed. If some of the freshmen who didn’t play much this past year make expected leaps, this team could be good again real quickly. But it’s not guaranteed. We’ll be in Omaha again no later than 2022. Just don’t think DVH, with the drive he has, will rest until he gets the Hogs back soon.
DVH is too good a coach and recruiter for us not to back in the CWS very soon. We have the hitters and if we can find or develop pitchers similar to the two OSU freshman pitchers, we will reach the finals.
I think it’s probably a little bit unrealistic to expect us back next year with all that we lose although we are bringing in some good pitchers and three or four good hitters it looks like. I know that auburn and Texas A&M bring back a lot next year I know I know LSU will be a lot better so we will have to play very well to compete with them.
Getting there is hard, but winning it is really hard. Fortunately, if we get there with a good enough team, our chances are good enough, too. One thing this season taught me (again) is that a few painful regular season losses don’t matter. SEC tournament losses don’t matter (and in fact might help if they keep you out of the final game or two.) What matters is doing well enough during the season against good competition to get a high seed to get to host a regional & if successful, a super regional.
Ole Miss did that, but blew its regional. Tenn Tech was pretty good, but more often than not if you can be a top 8 seed, getting the first 2 wins in the regional means getting to the super. That home field advantage is huge, especially for us with the huge crowds.
I know we’re losing Knight & Loseke. Might lose Campbell & I guess we’ll lose Reindl. So we’ve got to replace some fine pitchers. I’m worried Keaton McKinney is going to be one of those that just couldn’t make it due to injuries. Hope I’m wrong. However, I know we’ve got some great recruiters. I know we’ve got some kids that can develop. If we’re successful there, we have enough hitters coming back to make for a good core.
Much of it also depends upon the schedule, too. The right schedule (and winning with it) brings the opportunity to host in postseason, but a lot depends on how good the teams are on the schedule and if their RPI will help Arkansas get into the top eight. All of that is part of the “luck” that helps a team get to the CWS.
That’s pretty much my view. Having three studs is a great starting point. Ask OSU, which just won the whole thing with three first-round draft picks, plus a couple of really good pitchers. We can’t count on Campbell or anyone else winning 14 games, but a couple of people with 10-4 records wouldn’t hurt, and we do have some talented arms.
There was some thought that Plunkett would leave for the pros and start pitching (IIRC), but according to Matt’s story, it appears he is returning. Is there any chance he’ll move to pitcher this year or return as a catcher?
Schedule during the season isn’t all that critical. Obviously it’s a good tiebreaker if you’re down to deciding the seeds, or the final at-large spots. And being in the SEC, we’ll always have a tough schedule. But once you get in the NCAAT, you just have to win five games and lose no more than two to get to Omaha. Get to June and get hot. That’s how you get to the CWS.