Even with losing so many players after last season, West Virginia baseball received some national love in the National College Baseball Writers Association preseason poll released Monday afternoon.
The Mountaineers came in as the final ranked team at No. 35. That is down from No. 19 in the final NCBWA form last season. Five other Big 12 teams also appeared in the rankings with Texas Tech leading the way at No. 3. Oklahoma State (18), Oklahoma (24), TCU (28) and Texas (30) were all also ranked. The Big 12’s six teams trailed only the ACC with eight and the SEC with nine. Baylor also received votes.
WVU finished last season 38-22, making the NCAA tournament for the second time in three seasons and host its first NCAA Regional since the 1950s.
There will be a lot of turnover from the 2019 team to the 2020 one. Five starting position players and three of the team’s four starting pitchers all either graduated or left in the MLB draft.
Returning in the field will be second baseman Tyler Doanes, shortstop Tevin Tucker and third baseman Kevin Brophy. 2019 designated hitter Paul McIntosh will move to catcher full-time. Left fielder Braden Zarbnisky will also be returning to the team after missing all of 2019 with an injury. Jackson Wolf will be the only pitcher returning that made more than two starts last season (13).
The Mountaineers kick off the season on Feb. 14 with a three-game series against Jacksonville in Florida.