Baseball

2019 Texas Tech Baseball Preview: Outfield

This week, we take a look at the outfield and designated hitter position.

Last week, we took a look at who could start in the infield for the Red Raiders. Prior to that, Keith took a look at Texas Tech’s non-conference schedule.

Now to our preview of the Texas Tech outfield. Much like the infield, we’ll start with the position that’s easiest to choose, which in this case in right field

RIGHT FIELD
Gabe Holt (So.) Max Marusak (Fr.) Tanner O’Tremba (Fr.) Jose Gonzalez (Fr.)
.348/.440/.485, 70 runs, 44 RBIs, 29 SBs, .965 FLD% Freshman from Amarillo HS Freshman from Parker HS (Co.) Freshman from Spring HS

Last Year: This position had several players last year, with Tadlock trying to figure out who he wanted in right. It started with senior Conner Beck, but Beck couldn’t hit a ball to save his life. Kurt Wilson was next, but after a hot start in San Antonio started to cool down. Brian Klein and Cody Masters shared some time out there, but Master’s wasn’t quite there and Klein was a superior infielder. Enter second baseman Gabe Holt, who had an amazing freshman campaign at the plate and had the most clutch hits of the entire season.

My Prediction: With his speed, Gabe Holt stays in right field this season. Tanner O’Tremba and Jose Gonzalez become the main reserves.

This Year: Back in 2017, a talented shortstop who was one of the best players in his class was moved to the outfield because the Red Raiders had an established one already in Orlando Garcia. He would become a freshman All-American, second team All-American and a second round pick in 2018. That player was Grant Little. He had a whole offseason to learn the position and became a great fielder. If Holt sticks in the outfield, he will be a great fielder this season I believe. He has the speed, but with a season of figuring out the angles, he can be an All-American. Sadly for us, he’s a draft eligible sophomore, so this is likely his last year. If Holt is second base, I’d have O’Tremba here.

CENTER FIELD
Cody Masters (So.) Dylan Neuse (So.) Max Marusak (Fr.) Brock Martin (Fr.)
.258/.414/.364, 23 runs, 24 RBIs, 2 SBs, .967 FLD% Transfer from McLennan CC Freshman from Amarillo HS Freshman from San Angelo Central HS

Last Year: Cody Farhat had this position for the whole season, starting 63 of 65 games. He batted .292/.418/.434 with 51 runs and 39 RBIs, but his best attribute by far was his fielding. He made some of the best catches I’ve seen at Texas Tech, and honestly I was surprised to find out he had a .966 FLD%. His glove, arm and athleticism got him drafted in the 21st round. The only other player who played center field is Grant Little.

My Prediction: Cody Masters takes over center field this season, with Dylan Neuse being the main back-up.

This Year: If you look at the center fielders for Tadlock’s College World Series teams, you have Devon Conley, Zach Davis and Cody Farhat. What do they all have in common? Great gloves with great speed and an underrated bat (at least for a couple of them). Masters, who fielded in center field for the whole Red and Black Series, has good speed and a pretty dang good glove. There’s a reason Masters saw some starts last year and some at-bats in the College World Series. By the way, I I think Masters takes an outfield spot. listed Brock Martin as a freshman even though he was in the Red and Black Series last year because he might’ve been redshirted.

LEFT FIELD
Cody Masters (So.) Max Marusak (Fr.) Tanner O’Tremba (Fr.) Jose Gonzalez (Fr.)
.258/.414/.364, 23 runs, 24 RBIs, 2 SBs, .967 FLD% Freshman from Amarillo HS Freshman from Parker HS (Co.) Freshman from Spring HS

Last Year: Grant Little had one of the best season in Texas Tech history last year. He played and started every single game along with Josh Jung and Gabe Holt. He batted .370/.462/.642 with 62 runs, 77 RBIs and 12 home runs in route to earning second team All-American honors. Little was one of the highest players ever drafted from Texas Tech, going in the second round and 74th overall. It’s a shame we only got two years of him, since he was a draft eligible sophomore (much like Caleb Killian was and Gabe Holt is).

My Prediction: Max Marusak takes over left field with Tanner O’Tremba and Jose Gonzalez backing him up.

This Year: For those who haven’t seen him play, he is special. A lot of people (including myself) were telling you about Gabe Holt prior to his freshman year and he absolutely lived up to the hype. Marusak could be even better. First off, he was listed as a Top 200 prospect in the MLB draft, yet didn’t get drafted. He had the highest speed rating among MLB prospects, and is an elite level defender. The knock among scouts was supposedly his power, but Marusak had an OPS of 1.731 with three home runs in the five game Red and Black Series. He has a chance to be a special player for the Red Raiders.

DESIGNATED HITTER
John McMillon (Jr.) Dylan Neuse (So.) TJ Rumfield (Fr.) Tanner O’Tremba (Fr.)
.317/.422/.480, 50 runs, 34 RBIs, 23 XBH, .993 FLD% Transfer from McLennan CC Freshman from Temple HS Freshman from Parker HS (Co.)

Last Year: Tadlock went through a lot of designated hitters last season. It started if John McMillon because, well, power. Unfortunately his average wasn’t good, so we saw other players try out at the position, including Clay Koelzer, who hit below .200, and Brian Klein, who’s glove was being put to waste. Eventually Tadlock went with Zach Rheams, who started in 2017 but struggled throughout the year and was removed from the line-up. Rheams had an outstanding year, as he hit .341/.461/.713 with 17 HRs. He kept on raking in the postseason and had huge home runs against Louisville and Duke.

My Prediction: O’Tremba and Rumfield both get time here, with Rumfield taking over the designated hitter position.

This Year: O’Tremba and Rumfield both looked like very good hitters during the Red and Black Series. O’Tremba had a better average and OBP, but Rumfield had a better slugging and OPS. Usually there’s no trend for designated hitters, as Adam Kirsch and Rheams were a power hitters who had a .300+ average, and Cory Raley and Tanner Gardner were more of a contact hitters. OPS is usually a good measurement for how good a hitter is, so I’m going to Rumfield. Although I don’t have O’Tremba or Neuse starting anywhere, I hope we get to see them this season.

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