After a week long hiatus from preview articles (I was watching Cavs basketball, give me a break), I am back to preview the Hoos options at 1B this year.
Quick recap on the preseason polls: There are a lot of them (polls) & were ranked in the top 5 in all of them. In the words of T.O. Kiffin "Getcha popcorn ready, its gonna be fun." Don't take too much stock in the preseason polls because everyone plays 50+ games and I don't think we were even ranked going into last year. We were however picked to win the ACC this year by the coaches and many other media outlets. Coach O'Connor has the team right where he wants it.
As for first base it's a lot like every other position: LOADED with too much talent. A lot of the players that were mentioned in the catchers preview will be here because a lot of them will mix in time both here and there.
Last year Danny Hultzen saw a lot of time at first base when he wasn't on the mound dominating the nation as a Freshman All-American and ACC Rookie of the Year. This year, with so much talent on the team, Danny won't have to spend so much time at first and will likely only play one or two games at first a week while DH'ing more to get his left handed bat in the lineup. This will let him rest and better prepare for his weekend starts. Danny will be a lot like Sean Doolittle except Sean had to play first because we lacked the same depth of the 2010 club.
Most of the first base PT will probably go to John Hicks and Kenny Swab. Hicks got some experience towards the end of the year at the corner and brings an experienced bat. Swab transferred in from a JUCO and looks to make an immediate impact if not behind the plate. Both playing times depend on who is catching at the time(as mentioned in the previous preview).
I think the other guy who could mix in at first could be Tyler Biddix. Biddix brings experience and leadership to a (semi-)young team that could use some guidance down the stretch. Rob Amaro and Ryan Levine could also mix in some pt, but both being first years and not having as much experience as others I can't see them roaming one of the hot corners this year. Levine is a switch hitter and could be placed in a pinch hit roll late in the game and be inserted into first if needed.