As we get ready for another season of tantalizing college baseball, we can start to predict some of the things that will transpire once the competition is underway. There were a few unexpected events during last seasons, such as the Miami Hurricanes not making the playoffs and West Virginia making their long-awaited comeback to the postseason, their first appearance since 1996.
The offseason can sometimes be a testing time for baseball fans with no matches to attend or watch on the television. However, it’s always enjoyable to talk about what may happen in the future as we wait with anticipation for that first game in June. Let’s take a look at some of the things that wouldn’t be surprising to see in the 2018 season.
Gators Continue to Dominate the Mound
The Florida Gators have always had a reputation for pumping out quality pitchers and absolutely nothing has changed. Head coach Kevin Sullivan took them to the College World Series five times on the back of their pitching before finally clinching the university's first-ever national championship last season. Florida will like their chances for back-to- back titles considering how strong their lineup will remain in 2018. The side will have to move forward without Alex Faedo, which is a heavy loss, but Brady Singer will certainly help to ease the pain.
Singer, the righty from Eustis High School, was in superb form last season and led the Gators for innings pitched. Where he really started to shine was in the College World Series, making two starts and getting two wins, as well as striking out 21 in the 14 innings he pitched. His impressive efforts propped him up to the number one collegiate arm in the competition and
there's no doubt major league teams will be keeping a close eye on him next season.
However, it doesn’t stop there for the Gators and Singer will be partnering up with Jackson Kowar, another powerful right-hander. Kowar holds the record for the best single-season in the history of the program after an incredible sophomore campaign last year. He will certainly make the Gator’s rotation stronger and will be a key part of how the team will grind down their opposition in 2018.
The SEC is loaded with quality competitors once again and Arkansas, for one, will definitely provide a substantial challenge. However, the experience that Florida gained from last season's campaign is priceless and will put them in good shape to grab a second straight title. According to most bookmakers, they will start their year as one of the major front-runners,
with some keen bettors already getting behind the Gators due to their many impressive performances last season. With such a long wait until the first game of the year though, it can often be handy to use some of the free bet promotions found on tipping sites such as Oddschecker to minimize your risk at such an early stage.
Niko Hulsizer to Lead the Pack for Home Runs
The 2018 season is shaping up to be absolutely huge for Morehead State’s Niko Hulsizer. After a terrific freshman debut, he jumped from nine doubles to 21, and then took his five home runs up to a staggering 27 last campaign. He almost broke the record for most homers in all of college baseball but, unfortunately, fell two runs shy of Iowa’s Jake Adams. Hulsizer will begin his junior year as the reigning OVC co-Player of the Year, after sharing the award with Ben Fisher from Eastern Kentucky. The Eagles faithful will be hoping that his bat can swing them into the postseason and, if he continues to improve on last term’s efforts, he could very well be the home run king of 2018.
Wichita State to Return to the Postseason
Unfortunately, for Wichita State, things haven't been going exactly to plan over the past few years with the team not making an appearance at the tournament since 2009. However, even though two players does not make a team, Greyson Jenista and Alec Bohm will certainly give their fans something to be excited about heading into next season. They will both start their campaign as All-Americans and the duo definitely has the ability to start something special
for the Shockers.
If the team can get moving early in the AAC it could give them the momentum they need to be competitive this year in the NCAA. They will need their other players to perform as well but there is a solid chance they could become one of the dark horses in 2018. Now, all we have to do is wait until June to see if these predictions will come to fruition. The one thing
we can count on for sure is that it’s going to be another stellar season of college baseball.