listened to the interviews, its hard to hear who they are talking about at times, sometimes you cannot even hear the questions. that being said, who are some of the newcomers that are likely to contribute. i know the transfer at second base that just had surgery will be one if he is healthy come spring. who are some of the other position players and pitchers that will be ready come spring to contribute.

last year we had martin and kjerstad really star. do we have any that caliber?

lastly, im concerned about offensive production from catcher. i know that is probably secondary because receiving is most important. who is competing there with the backup we had l last year?

thanks in advance.

I heard DVH mention in yesterday’s interview that he doesn’t like talking about freshmen until they’ve done something. : ) He said check with him in two weeks on that.

Opitz and Plunkett return at catcher.

My money is on Connor McCullough.

This year we need some freshmen pitchers to step up. Patrick Wicklander is the one that sticks out to me. There are several others that all have the chance to get quality innings and then play a bigger role in the future. We need one of the position players to make an impact but this class has always been about pitching.

Wicklander is definitely a lefty that can help this season.

I expect Matt Goodheart to be the left fielder. There may be others who battle to play in left, but I would figure him to be the best bet to win the job. Only problem is that he’s lefty hitter and that would make the whole outfield hitting lefty. Goodheart is a juco transfer with a good bat and good tools otherwise.

That’s the only position that I think will be open. Fletcher will play center. Kjerstad will play right. McFarland will play first. Ezell, a lefty hitter, will play second. Kenley (much improved as a hitter) and Martin will battle for short and the other will play third. Opitz and Plunkett will battle for catcher. Opitz is a switch hitter. Plunkett is a righthanded bat. I watched Plunkett take batting practice Friday and he was concentrating on going the other way. If he can do that, I suspect he’ll get in the lineup. He’s a good defensive catcher with a great arm. His reputation is that he was a dead pull hitter with lots of strikeouts. Got to learn to go the other way some or he’ll strike out too much.

I need to see some of the others to really understand what is there. I’m told the pitching is good as far as arm talent, but you just have to see how they handle better hitting.

I think Matt Goodheart could end up being the best newcomer on the team. He can really hit and the learning curve will not be as steep because he is coming in from junior college.

I kinda chuckled when Van Horn said he doesn’t talk about freshmen before he’s seen much of them. He told me the previous summer two weeks before the first practice that Kjerstad and Martin were special. He then said Martin would be All-SEC after one day of practice. Now some of that was in casual conversation and I did not have a notepad in my hand. But it was pretty soon into practice last year that he was more than willing to comment about those two.

He did talk about Goodheart to me yesterday. He said he knew his dad for many years, going back to Van Horn’s days at Texarkana CC and Steve’s days as SAU Coach. He said they scrimmaged often during the fall. And, the non-DI players on his TCC roster generally ended up playing for Steve (Matt’s dad) at SAU.

Of course, Goodheart is not a freshmen. He’s a JC player. So Van Horn wasn’t talking about freshmen, although he was a newcomer. Ezell isn’t a freshmen, but a grad transfer. He said he made a mistake in not recruiting him, but he also said Ezell committed to Southeastern Missouri very early.

i loved the hitting videos I saw of Goodheart and thought he would have agreat shot at contributing somehow

I thought this quote from Chase Brewster was telling about Goodheart. Chase is the coach of the Arkansas Sticks, the summer team that has had so many SEC signees the past few years.

“He’s definitely at the top of the best hitters we’ve had,” Brewster said. "He’s a great runner and has been up to 6.5 seconds in the 60-yard dash. He just really knows how to hit.

"His dad is one of the great coaches to ever come through college baseball in Arkansas. He taught Matt a lot and he really gets after it offensively.

“We played in a fall league a couple of years ago, and in 10 games he had six triples and two home runs. He’s just a really good player and really works on his craft every day.” … 8519470236

really like the way he loads up ,he has some power in that swing