We're taking a look back and a look ahead at college baseball teams from around the country. Next up are the Texas A&M Aggies!
Texas A&M's 2019 season was up-and-down, but they proved to be competitive in arguably the toughest division in baseball, the SEC West.
A Look Back at 2019
Texas A&M had an up-and-down 2019 season, culminating in a dream-like walk-off win over Regional host, West Virginia and a disappointing loss to Regional Champ, Duke, who lost to NCAA Champion, Vanderbilt in Nashville. A&M finished 39-23-1 (16-13-1 in SEC play), and was ranked as high as 9th in the College Baseball Nation Composite Top 25.
Aggie pitching, coached by Rob Childress, who will be going into his 13th year as head coach in College Station, had a stellar year in 2019. The staff finished with a 3.21 ERA, which was good for 3rd in the NCAA and 1st in the conference, as well as a 1.21 WHIP (2nd SEC) and 10.91 K/9 (1st SEC). While the offense did not have a great season, to put it lightly, there are positive signs for the future as A&M hired Southern Miss hitting coach Chad Caillet in the offseason.
Four Aggies were drafted in the 2019 MLB Draft, including Braden Shewmake (1st round), John Doxakis, (2nd round), and Kasey Kalich (4th round).
A Look Ahead at 2020
Even though Texas A&M lost Friday starter, John Doxakis, they will look to reload with another dominant lefty, Asa Lacy. They will also return starter Jonathan Childress (no relation to the head coach), who underwent Tommy John surgery last year.
Continuing their rotation with the beginning of season tournaments, the Aggies will return to the Frisco College Classic after going 3-0 in the 2019 Shriners College Classic. Their foes in the tournament will be Illinois, Oklahoma State, and UCLA. (Check out the full list of 2020 College Baseball Tournaments)
In midweek games, the Aggies will also play several in-state teams, including Rice, Texas, and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. The Aggies initially had a trip to Cal State Fullerton planned for their marquee non-conference matchup; however, a scheduling conflict saw Cal State Fullerton replaced by New Mexico State. Though both Texas A&M and New Mexico State are Aggies, the two teams could not have been more different last year. New Mexico State led the country in scoring (11.1 runs/game), while Texas A&M was third in the country in runs given up (3.7 runs/game).
The SEC conference schedule is a gauntlet, as always, and A&M starts off playing at Auburn and home against Ole Miss, a 2019 CWS team and a Super Regional team, respectively. Then, after visiting the always-tough Florida, April’s schedule starts by hosting Georgia, who was a Regional host, and Dallas Baptist; next, the Aggies visit Arkansas, who is coming off back-to-back Omaha appearances.
The next key stretch for the Aggies comes just two weeks later when they visit the New Dude to play Mississippi State and then head home to face LSU. With the talent of the SEC West, these series will likely be pivotal in deciding the winner of the division and conference.
Kyle's (@kylemckelv) 2020 Prediction: The Aggies will make a Super Regional.
Texas A&M's pitching in 2019 was elite, but the offense left something to be desired. They return the dominant lefty Asa Lacy to figures to be the Friday night starter. When they get Jonathan Childress back, their rotation will be solidified with three solid starters, including Christian Roa, from last year. Aggie pitching returns players who accounted for 72% of the innings pitched from last season, and with Rob Childress' track record of developing pitching talent, I believe they will be about as good as last year on the mound. We'll see how the offense comes around with new hitting coach, Chad Caillet, but since talented pitching depth helps teams advance in the post season, I'm optimistic about their chances.
John’s (@johnny_omaha_) 2020 Prediction: The Aggies will return to a Regional.
For the Aggies, their offense is a liability until proven otherwise. Perhaps Caillet can turn things around for Texas A&M, but if the 2019 Aggies taught us anything, you can’t solely rely upon pitching to advance in the NCAA Tournament. That being said, Asa Lacy should be one of the top arms in the country, and the Aggies will likely continue their streak of 13 straight Regionals. As of now, I would project them as a two seed in a Regional.
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