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The Bees (Ballers) Are Back in Town: 2014 Georgia Tech Baseball Season Preview

February 13 is here and it's time for Beesball to start back up at Rusty C

Danny Hall approves of this year's Beesball team
Danny Hall approves of this year's Beesball team

Today is February 13th and you know what that means? No, its not Valentine's Day Eve (Well, not for everyone). But for us, it means that Georgia Tech baseball starts tomorrow! Danny Hall is bringing his Yellow Jackets into the season coming off of a 37-27 (15-15 ACC) record from a year ago. Let's take a look at what Beesball is going to look like this year.

Replacing a pitcher like Buck Farmer is never an easy thing to do. Let's take a look at the guys that are going to give it a shot.

Name Height Weight Handedness Last Season's Stats
Jonathan King 5-11 199 LHP 6-5, 4.04 ERA
Cole Pitts 6-5 223 RHP 5-3, 4.71 ERA
Josh Heddinger 6-4 221 RHP 3-0, 4.61 ERA

Joining these guys as the midweek starter is likely freshman RHP Zac Ryan. About Ryan, Danny Hall had this to say: "he's probably the best freshman pitcher we have in the program." The best pitcher in this group will likely be Jonathan King. King made 24 appearances, 10 starts, last season. While his overall record may not look exciting, what is exciting is that he went 3-1 in ACC play.

With all these guys pitching in the rotation, that leaves everybody else on the pitching staff to the bullpen. Highlighting the bullpen are seniors RHP Dusty Isaacs and LHP Devin Stanton. These two look to be essential pieces to the bullpen this year, with Isaacs also having the flexibility to spot start.

Now that we have looked at the pitching staff, let's take a look at what the lineup is going to look like.

Name Position Height Weight B/T Year
Thomas Smith 2B 6-1 177 R/R Jr.
AJ Murray 1B 6-1 209 R/R Jr.
Matt Gonzalez 3B 5-11 192 R/R So.
Mott Hyde SS 5-11 186 R/R Sr.
Daniel Springola CF 6-1 182 L/L Jr.
Ryan Peurifoy RF 6-2 189 R/R Fr.

Grant Wruble

DH

6-1

183

R/R

So.
Mitch Earnest C 6-2 216 R/R Jr.
DeAndre Smelter LF 6-3 221 R/R Sr.

Leading off will be our fastest player, Thomas Smith. This guy is not only fast, but he also is no slouch with the bat. Another guy to watch for in this lineup is sophomore 3B Matt Gonzalez. After finishing second in the College Home Run Derby last year, Gonzalez looks to be the team's main power threat this year. Likely cycling with Grant Wruble at DH will be senior OF DeAndre Smelter. With Smelter's injury issues, his throwing ability from the outfield may not be spectacular. If this happens, look for one of the freshman outfielders (Eric Knox and Keenan Innis) to play in that spot.

Now that we have looked at what the team is going to look like, let's move on to everybody's favorite part of preview articles: PREDICTIONS!! I expect the Yellow Jackets to take a slight step back in terms of wins, but I fully expect them to return to Regionals. In the ACC tournament, it's probably not likely that they finish fourth unless they catch fire like they did last year. Finishing in the top half of the tournament is definitely not out of the question, however. Mott Hyde is the leader of this team. The senior captain is the team's active leader in homeruns. To project anybody else to win the MVP is a crime. I also expect Jonathan King to take a huge step forward in help easing the pain of losing Buck Farmer. He will have a sub-3.50 ERA. One last prediction, Matt Gonzalez will be the only player on the roster to hit double-digit homeruns. I think he hits at least 11.

So what do y'all think Beesball Nation? Do we finish better or worse than last year? Will we be able to ease the pains of losing Buck Farmer, Daniel Palka, and Zane Evans? Any bold predictions?