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Baseball Preview – Hitters



Photo Attribution: Thomas Hays

In part three of our preseason baseball preview Anthony Slater takes a look at OSU’s best returning hitters and some newcomers that could make an impact.

Key Returners

Senior Third baseman – Mark Ginther (.292 Avg, 69 hits, 10 HRs, 33 RBIs)
The Cowboys’ lineup was gutted. Their leadoff hitter (Devin Shines) and power threat (Zac Johnson) left early for professional ball, while their best left-handed bat (Dane Phillips) bolted for Arkansas. In the wake of those departures is an unproven lineup with little turnover. But returning from last year’s club, and expected to bat third, is Mark Ginther, a hard-hitting third baseman who spurned the White Sox for a final year in Stillwater. OSU needs a huge season from him.

Senior Catcher/Outfielder – Jared Womack (.282, 66 hits, 8 HRs, 36 RBIs)
Womack was streaky last year. One weekend he would scorch the ball, piling up RBIs in bunches. Seven days later, he would be mired in an 0-12 slump, struggling to put the ball in play. No doubt he has middle-of-the-order potential (and will probably open up as the #4 hitter), but OSU’s enigmatic offense needs the good Womack on a consistent basis, or they may struggle to score.

Senior Utilityman – Gabe Weidenaar (.280 Avg, 60 hits, 2 HRs, 22 RBIs)
Let’s see. We know Weidenaar can play outfield – he started in center last season. We know Weidenaar can play infield – he was a junior college star at third base. And we know Weidenaar can pitch – he was OSU’s ERA leader from 2011 and will get a chance to close this season. So, while we aren’t sure where Weidenaar will play this year, rest assured Anderson will give the versatile utilityman a huge role. Oh, he also happens to be the Cowboys only switch hitter. Pretty valuable.

Key newcomers

Junior Center Fielder – Jarrett Higgins (.292 Avg, 25 RBIs, 48 SBs (!!!) at San Jacinto Junior College)
As a team, Oklahoma State had 29 stolen bases in 2011. Over that span, Jarrett Higgins had 48 by himself. Granted it came at a JUCO in Texas, but the number is still eye-popping. OSU hasn’t had a legit base-stealing threat in a long time, and really, neither has most of the country. Speed and timing on the bases is such a rarity, making it a savored weapon when you find it. Of course, you can’t steal first base, so Higgins still has to prove he can hit at this level.

Freshman Outfielder – Zach Fish (.561, 24 HRs, 82 RBIs as a high school senior in Michigan)
Powerful high school bats rarely make it through the MLB draft/signing process. Michigan prep stars rarely choose Oklahoma State as their college choice. When both happen, you get Zach Fish. The bulky 19-year-old with tree-trunk legs was drafted in the 24th round by the Texas Rangers, but chose a college career in Stillwater. Fish, who should be here for at least three years, provides an instant boost to an OSU lineup in desperate need of it. And he’s already made an impression. Even before Fish’s first collegiate game, his powerful batting practice rounds are becoming legendary among teammates.

Others worthy of note – C Victor Romero, SS Hunter Bailey, OF Trey Whaley

Part I – Pitching
Part II – The Schedule

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