The Big 12 Conference released their annual preseason coaches poll on Thursday, January 25, and WVU Baseball sits in the middle of the rankings, tied with Oklahoma for sixth place.
West Virginia returns arguably the best player in the country—and almost certainly the conference—with second baseman JJ Wetherholt, a likely lottery pick in this year’s MLB Draft. In spite of Wetherholt, head coach Randy Mazey and his staff have quite a bit of work to do in filling the gaps left from 2023’s regular season co-Big 12 Championship team, so sixth place seems pretty fair for a preseason ranking.
The Mountaineers need to replace their entire outfield, with Caleb McNeely graduating and Braden Barry and Landon Wallace headed to the MLB. They also need to revamp their entire starting rotation, with Friday starter Ben Hampton transferring to TCU—this year’s top pick in the Big 12 preseason poll— and Saturday starter Blaine Traxel graduating. West Virginia never found a mainstay in the Sunday starting spot. Grant Seigel, who entered the transfer portal in December, spent much of the year there before altering starts with freshman Robby Porco down the stretch as he struggled to hold on to the starting role.
WVU Baseball will retain every infield spot but shortstop, where mainstay Tevin Tucker left for the big leagues. The right side remains unchanged with first baseman Grant Hussey and Wetherholt, and true sophomores Ellis Garcia and Sam White both spent time at third in 2023: it’ll be interesting to see if one of them makes the switch to short.
Logan Sauve will likely take on catching duties full time after serving as a designated hitter and now-graduated Dayne Leonard’s backup last season.
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