Story Poster
Photo by Tarah Cochran, TexAgs
Texas A&M Baseball

6 Days 'til Aggie Baseball: Finding right fit at DH key for A&M in 2021

February 13, 2021

It’s that time of year! The Texas Aggie baseball team is set to open up the 2021 season one week from today against Xavier at Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park. Over the next week, be on the lookout for daily content from the TexAgs baseball coverage team. You can keep up with the full series here: 2021 Aggie Baseball Preview Series.

College baseball will be different for the next few years. The NCAA’s decision to allow athletes an extra year of eligibility due to the impacts of COVID-19 has made roster management even more important than it already was. In a lot of ways, it’s made it more difficult.

However, Rob Childress, Justin Seely and Chad Caillet may not mind because the expanded roster has given them many options to find the right nine that will give the Aggies the best chance to win each time out.

The staff brought in a host of bats from the high school and junior college ranks and some from the transfer portal. The talent within those additions has been battling the grizzled, experienced guys like Hunter Coleman, Mikey Hoehner, Bryce Blaum, Ray Alejo and Will Frizzell in fall practice and preseason scrimmages for opportunities. Obviously, each of those guys brings something different to the table both offensively and defensively.

Jackie Ysaquirre, TexAgs
Blaum has had more than a few big hits during his career.

The A&M staff will have a big job throughout the early part of the season figuring out which combination will make the offense tick the best. A key piece to that puzzle will be who fits in that designated hitter spot. That is highly likely to fluctuate based on the defensive setup, but I thought it would be helpful to breakdown the top options for that role as we head into the season.

For the sake of time and space, I’m not going to list guys who I think will log a large chunk of innings on defense — like Hoehner, Alejo, Trevor Werner or Logan Britt. Those guys could fill the DH role for a game or two, but I think they will find themselves in the lineup positionally on most days. So, here are my candidates:

1. Will Frizzell

Really, when you look at this A&M lineup, a lot hinges on the health of the big man’s knee. He’s trimmed down this off-season but hasn’t lost any juice in the bat. If Frizz can stay healthy, he’s likely to be playing first base a lot. If he’s unable to go day-to-day, he will be the most likely candidate for the DH spot long term.

2. Hunter Coleman

A super senior who is hugely experienced, Coleman is a valuable piece to this baseball team for his clubhouse and dugout presence. He’s also one of the club’s best defenders. The staff raves about his knowledge of the game, and he has always had plenty of power. We’ll see if his experience facing SEC pitching makes the staff find him at-bats somehow.

3. Bryce Blaum/Logan Sartori

One of these guys is going to play second. The other one will give the coaches a lot of thinking to do with that DH spot. Both were top of the order bats last season, and even though he struggled to start 2020, Blaum has had some massive hits and moments in Maroon & White. I look for one of these to also be a “next in line” guy should Britt, Werner, or Kalae Harrison go through prolonged rough patches.

Tarah Cochran, TexAgs
Bost ended 2020 on a tear, hitting three home runs in the final series of the season.

4. Austin Bost

The season couldn’t have ended at a worse time last year for the Port Neches-Groves product. This kid has hit his entire life, and he was on his way to doing just that before COVID-19 hit. A tough kid who does well against secondary stuff, Bost is someone who the staff can feel good about rolling out there against a lefty or a righty.

5. Zane Schmidt

I feel like I watched Schmidt quietly put together quality ABs at a high percentage in the shortened season. He uses a good feel for the strike zone with a simple approach and clean bat path, making him a tough out. He also stays within his plan and will take his backside knock/groundball. I think he’ll get a look early on against righties.

6. Ryan Targac

A switch-hitting freshman infielder out of Hallettsville, all this kid has done since the late fall is smash. He’s got real thump from both sides of the plate and has run balls out of Olsen Field in scrimmages off of some of the team’s best arms. The biggest question is how will he handle the grind of facing SEC arms every plate appearance during league play. Targac is a stock-up bat for sure.

7. Bryan Sturges

There aren’t many guys who are going to have a feel for the strike zone or the ability to adjust from pitch-to-pitch like the UTSA transfer. The kid understands hitting. Now, there is a large jump in the level of competition coming from Conference USA to the SEC, but Sturges is a guy who will undoubtedly get better with volume. The issue is, can he get that volume with so many options around him?

8. Rody Barker

Gritty, tough, intense. Those are just a few words to describe the Hill Country kid, and Barker brings those qualities to the plate. He’s always locked, he’s always engaged, and he wants to win every day. He also has a short, flat swing that results in a lot of hard contact. I’ve heard Barker has been really good so far in the scrimmages.

9. Taylor Smith

I suspect Smith and Hoehner will split the catching duties with a sprinkle of Hunter Coleman mixed in. The Grayson College transfer has big, big power, and he has started to put that on display in the practices leading into the season. He originally started his career at Incarnate Word, so, like Sturges, he may need some volume to get into the swing of things. If he does, though, he has the potential to lead the Aggies in home runs.

10. Brett Minnich

Minnich is a highly athletic outfielder who comes to A&M after applying his trade just down the road at Blinn the last two seasons. At 6-5, 200 pounds, there’s still plenty of room to add strength. He is an intriguing kid with a lot of upside.

Discussion from...

6 Days 'til Aggie Baseball: Finding right fit at DH key for A&M in 2021

3,059 Views | 0 Replies | Last: 3 yr ago by Brauny
There are not any replies to this post yet.
Page 1 of 1
subscribe Verify your student status
See Subscription Benefits
Trial only available to users who have never subscribed or participated in a previous trial.