Earlier this week I reviewed the daunting schedule for this year's Cavaliers (that didn't go over to well with some people). Following that I went over the pitchers and position players in an effort to try and figure out who was going to play what spots. Let's combine all of those and talk about some expectations for this upcoming season.
First, let's go over what exactly happened last season. The team finished the season with a 39-19 record overall which included an 18-12 conference record, the first time the team didn't get to 40 wins since 2008. They were awarded a regional, but ended up losing to App. St. and were eliminated by Oklahoma. To be quite honest, I think the team overachieved just a bit. They did perfectly well for the amount of talent they had lost the year before, but I am not sure hosting a regional was the best thing that could have happened. Let's hope they learn from last year.
As I detailed in my position and pitcher player preview, I am pretty sure the offense is going to take a step forward and the pitching is going to take a bit of a step back.....at first.
There is no way to get around it, this team is young. Fourteen first years and one redshirt freshman means almost half of this team has never played a college game and that is something HUGE. I don't think I need to go into the difference between high school and college athletics, because it is again, HUGE. The good thing is that the biggest difference is for the position players facing college pitching, and I don't see a whole lot of first years breaking into a semi-established starting 8. The bad thing about being at UVa is Coach K's system is HOLY SMOKES level of complex and it takes a bit to finally grasp it. Unless you're Danny Hultzen or Jacob Thompson, it might take quite a bit.
With that, the offense should be clicking to start the season. The pitchers on the other hand are going to hit their stride right around mid-April. These first-year pitchers have the basic elements to K's system but every time they take the mound they will understand a little more. So, give them some lee-way early in the season to stumble a bit. The ACC might have gotten weaker in basketball and football over the past decade, but baseball is as strong as ever (unless you count Championships, if so, whatever bro)
Now, what does that mean for the season as a whole? Wellllllllllllllllllll, I think it will be a little bit harder to take than last year. I expect them to come in 3rd in the Coastal, somewhere around the 5th or 6th seed for the tournament, and be sent somewhere for the NCAA tournament as a 2 seed. Is that bad? For UVa over the past five years, it's bad. For 98% of the college baseball programs in the country, that's a god damn banner year. (VPISU is declaring themselves the World Champs with that year)
So when you are watching/listening/reading tweets about the baseball team this year, remember back to the 2008 season. That team had what felt like 8392 freshman on the team and stttttrrrrrrrrruggled at times. That team also made the ACC Championship game before falling to a Miami team with Yonder Alonso, Jemmmmmmmmiiiiiile Weeks, and probably 49 other players that are now in the pros but were probably on roids at the time (hey, I just write what I read about on the internet, they can't put lies on the internet ya know).
All in all I think the 2013 baseball season is going to be a similar to Dickens' Tale of Two Cities, it'll be the best of times, but it will also be the worst of times.....at times.
How do you see this season turning out?