I started this in another thread, but wanted to get this out there as a main topic. It gets tough this time of year to figure out the possibility of hosting, or just making the NCAA tournament. Most everyone is playing for the same thing, trying to get a good seed in the NCAA tournament. It gets tight. Here is what I see right now as the main concern for the Arkansas baseball team, getting it’s pitching square.
The Hogs will score enough runs, in my estimation. No, they won’t score as many in SEC games as they were against even quality non-conference games, but they can score.
Here is the top of the pitching staff:
Blaine Knight (the top arm and most consistent pitcher this season)
Trevor Stephan (great in last outing, and one of the better arms on the team)
Kacey Murphy (good lefty arm, although not yet a consistent starter)
Then, here are the top options out of the bullpen:
Jake Reindl (most consistent reliever and a good strike thrower)
Kevin Kopps (up and down, but with several nasty pitches)
Cannon Chadwick (good early, but wild of late - tough on right-handers)
Evan Lee (strike thrower and fearless)
Barrett Loseke (good fast ball, but inconsistent)
Josh Alberius (up and down, but experienced)
Here are the ones that they need to step up in a bigger fashion:
Dominic Taccolini (he’s missed three straight weekends, so I’m not sure on his availability)
Weston Rogers (spot availability against lefties
Matt Cronin (another lefty with situational ability)
Jacob Kostyshock (very inexperienced, but has good fast ball)
As far as the position players, the key is to get the righthanded bats going a little better. Arledge, Shaddy, Koch and Bonfield have not been as good of late. The lefty bats have been the strength in conference play and that’s Biggers, Spanberger, Fletcher and Cole (switch hitter). The worry is when the opponent has good lefty pitching to slow down those guys. That’s when the righty hitters have to step up. It seems like there have been too many strikeouts from the righty hitters.
I’ve wondered what would happen when we got to this stretch of the season when Koch didn’t have to catch so many days. With no midweek games over the May part of the schedule, I was hopeful that he’d make a little bit of a surge. That should help Bonfield, too. He’s played almost every day.
The two guys that I’m most happy to see come to the plate these days: Spanberger and Biggers. I’m not saying they are the best two players on the team, but they sure seem to be able to put the ball into play in almost every situation whether they are facing pitchers throwing from either side.