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Most JRs & SRs Expected to Return for AU Baseball

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An all-star cast set to return

AUBURN | Tanner Burns and Bailey Horn will be moving on to minor league baseball next season, but the rest of Auburn’s draft eligible juniors and sophomores are expected to return.

That includes a talented group of returning starters in left-handed pitcher Jack Owen, right-handed pitcher Cody Greenhill and outfielder Steven Williams. Owen turned down six figures to return last year and both Greenhill and Williams turned down multiple offers during Thursday night’s draft.

Woley is expected to anchor a talented and experienced lineup in 2021.
Woley is expected to anchor a talented and experienced lineup in 2021. (Shanna Lockwood/Auburn athletics)

“This was a unique draft to where if you’re somebody in the position of those young men, I don’t know the best way to do it, but if you’ve got a house for sale, you think your house is worth this much and the industry tries to go like, ‘OK, we’re in this unique time so really your house is only worth this.’ It’s half of what you think your house is worth and those guys held the line,” Auburn coach Butch Thompson said.

“They could have been called three to five times in that draft in those five rounds. They held the line. They have a strong, powerful intention of playing professional baseball, but they value themselves, they value returning to Auburn, they value that Auburn degree.”

Auburn went into 2020 expecting to replace most if not all of its outfield after the season but now has Williams, Judd Ward and Kason Howell, a draft-eligible sophomore, all returning.

Senior third baseman Rankin Woley, who was leading the Tigers in several hitting categories including batting average (.412), doubles (8) and RBI (22) when last season was cut short, is also expected to return. Senior catcher Matt Scheffler, who was also hitting .412, is a possibility to return although he would consider a free agent offer from the right MLB club. Those offers are capped at just $20,000 for this year.

“I think a ton of Rankin and he was swinging it,” Thompson said. “He’s an All-American type of performer on and off the field. We were pretty pumped this morning to hear of his intentions to come back.”

Burns, Horn and Owen made up Auburn’s weekend rotation last season. Owen should retain his spot and Thompson expects Greenhill to take over one of the two remaining spots. Sophomore Mason Barnett and junior Richard Fitts are two returning pitchers that could have a more enhanced role as a starter or closer next fall.

“They’re reloading again,” Burns said. “Cody, Judd, Jack, Steven, and y’all are going to be talking about Mason Barnett. That dude is unreal.”

Auburn plans to begin fall practice at the end of August.

 

 

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9 hours ago, warbiscuit said:

Ryan Watson has signed with the Orioles

He’s one Brian Matthews and Jason Caldwell did not expect back. There are a few others.

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10 minutes ago, ellitor said:

He’s one Brian Matthews and Jason Caldwell did not expect back. There are a few others.

Matt Scheffler signed with the his hometown team, the Seattle Mariners.

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11 hours ago, warbiscuit said:

Matt Scheffler signed with the his hometown team, the Seattle Mariners.

Darn. That would have been super nice to get him back, big loss. Super excited for him and what he does in the pros. Nate LaRue and others got some big shoes to fill

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Just a question for those who may know, Is this team top-loaded with a lot of juniors and seniors or do they seem to have a team with a good mixture of all the classes? It seems BB is difficult to plot year to year in how the program is going because of the factors involved that affect the team year too year. All insight welcome!!!

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8 hours ago, auburnfan247 said:

Darn. That would have been super nice to get him back, big loss. Super excited for him and what he does in the pros. Nate LaRue and others got some big shoes to fill

There was a catcher getting a lot of pub before the season started this year that got hurt right before. Ryan Dial. I’d look out for him. I think him and Larue split time back there initially. Larue may also be able to pitch/play in the field some. 

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2 hours ago, WarEagle2423 said:

There was a catcher getting a lot of pub before the season started this year that got hurt right before. Ryan Dial. I’d look out for him. I think him and Larue split time back there initially. Larue may also be able to pitch/play in the field some. 

Thing is, I heard Butch was going to ease Ryan Dyal back in from Tommy John and have him play some OF and DH so I don't expect Dyal to catch much given he got the surgery in late January, which would line him up to be ready at the start of the next season. I expect Larue to be the starter unless Butch gets a JUCO catcher, which is possible, since Larue played somewhat in the beginning of last year to spell Scheffler. Generally Butch likes his catchers to have a lot of experience. Auburn will have three freshman catchers next year, with Ben Schorr, Nate Larue and Ryan Dyal. Given Dyal's arm injury, I expect Butch will probably get someone, probably Brayton Brown, some catcher experience as the emergency catcher.

Edited by warbiscuit
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1 hour ago, warbiscuit said:

Thing is, I heard Butch was going to ease Ryan Dyal back in from Tommy John and have him play some OF and DH so I don't expect Dyal to catch much given he got the surgery in late January, which would line him up to be ready at the start of the next season. I expect Larue to be the starter unless Butch gets a JUCO catcher, which is possible, since Larue played somewhat in the beginning of last year to spell Scheffler. Generally Butch likes his catchers to have a lot of experience. Auburn will have three freshman catchers next year, with Ben Schorr, Nate Larue and Ryan Dyal. Given Dyal's arm injury, I expect Butch will probably get someone, probably Brayton Brown, some catcher experience as the emergency catcher.

Ah, I forgot it was TJ that had Dyal out. I like the idea of Brown as an emergency catcher. I hope we can get him on the field somewhat regularly this coming year. He impressed me in his few plate appearances this past year. I can also see us going after a JUCO guy, especially with our success with Scheffler and Brett Wright. Can never have too many options or too much experience behind the plate. 
 

I’m excited about the potential lineup next year. We’ll have all 3 regular starters back in the OF. I’m wondering what Wiley and Davis do. I’m betting at least 1, maybe 2, leave. Ceccoli will probably take over at 1st if Davis leaves. If both leave, I see Moore going to 3rd, with Farquhar holding down 2nd. If Wiley stays, those 2 will probably battle it out for 2nd. Bliss will be SS regardless. 
 

The rotation is where it gets interesting. Ideally, Owen takes over on Friday’s, Bull moves to starter and takes over Saturdays, and then Fitts takes over Sundays. Swilling (the freshman) could make some noise and change that up or become the regular midweek starter. Barnett would probably assumed Greenhill’s role as closer in this scenario. Not sure about the rest of the bullpen, besides Fuller hopefully taking that next step and being a long reliever. I hate we’re losing Drew Baker to transfer. 
 

Admittedly, I don’t know much about any incoming guys, except that Swilling is supposed to be a stud. And the Foster kid (SS) could make some noise for us early on. 

Edited by WarEagle2423
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23 hours ago, auburnfan247 said:

Darn. That would have been super nice to get him back, big loss. Super excited for him and what he does in the pros. Nate LaRue and others got some big shoes to fill

BMatt & Jason Caldwell doesn't think so FWIW. They say it's a win/win. Shef apparently wanted to move on. Even though the 20K is far less than he's worth, he gets to sign with his hometown team. AU gets two very talented underclassmen -- Nate LaRue and Ryan Dyal -- competing for the starting catcher position and possibly DH.

13 hours ago, warbiscuit said:

I don't expect Dyal to catch much given he got the surgery in late January,

BMatt expects him to be good to go FWIW.

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15 hours ago, Timeslider 6 said:

Is this team top-loaded with a lot of juniors and seniors or do they seem to have a team with a good mixture of all the classes?

@Timeslider 6 We won't know until we hear about the roster in the Fall. Some of the would be incoming signees may choose to play somewhere else with us having so many upperclassmen returning that would not have returned before the pandemic. With that said if most of last year's freshmen & this year's class come in then it will be a bit freshman heavy. If they all return though I did count 8 would be SRs & 7 would be JRs FWIW.

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8 hours ago, ellitor said:

@Timeslider 6 We won't know until we hear about the roster in the Fall. Some of the would be incoming signees may choose to play somewhere else with us having so many upperclassmen returning that would not have returned before the pandemic. With that said if most of last year's freshmen & this year's class come in then it will be a bit freshman heavy. If they all return though I did count 8 would be SRs & 7 would be JRs FWIW.

Yeah right now we're looking at 45 players for a 37 man roster(including Woley and Davis). 31 returnees, 1 transfer(Josh Hall) and 13 recruits. Some of the new recruits like Carson Swilling and Cole Foster have confirmed they're coming to Auburn. I was gonna say that besides the catcher, all of our starting line-up returning are all draft eligible next year. There does seem to be a lot of pitchers and infielders right now for Auburn. Some players may be willing to stay if they think there's an opportunity for them in 2022. It wouldn't surprise me if Ben Schorr transfers, since the two catcher ahead of him are also freshmen.

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52 minutes ago, warbiscuit said:

45 players for a 37 man roster

There’s no roster limit for the coming season is what I read.

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1 hour ago, warbiscuit said:

Conor Davis has entered the transfer portal. He would be a grad transfer and be eligible to play immediately. 

Jason Caldwell says CD is looking for a less expensive place to play his last year of college ball because AU out of state tuition & expenses are very high.

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36 minutes ago, ellitor said:

Jason Caldwell says CD is looking for a less expensive place to play his last year of college ball because AU out of state tuition & expenses are very high.

Yeah if I remember, his student loan debt was around 90K in the Montgomery Adviser. I can see a Georgia team, which is where he's from, take a chance on him. Either Georgia Tech or Georgia

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4 hours ago, warbiscuit said:

Yeah if I remember, his student loan debt was around 90K in the Montgomery Adviser. I can see a Georgia team, which is where he's from, take a chance on him. Either Georgia Tech or Georgia

Those are strong programs. Do they even need a first baseman or DH?

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6 hours ago, ellitor said:

Those are strong programs. Do they even need a first baseman or DH?

The first baseman for Georgia, Patrick Sullivan, is a redshirt senior. Georgia's DH seemed to be a rotation of Connor Tate(R-So), Cole Tate(Jr), Chaney Rogers(Jr), Kaden Fowler(R-Jr), Kale Ledford(Jr) and didn't really seem to have a set person there. I think it's more likely he transfers to Georgia than Georgia Tech, who have a freshman DH in Stephen Reid and a freshman 1B in Drew Compton, especially if Sullivan does not return. Georgia's offense lost two starters, Tucker Bradley and Cam Shepherd, and one of their players who rotated with the DH in Kaden Fowler, so Conor would be huge for them. That being said, Stephen Reid was an outfielder, and the left fielder and right fielder(Michael Guldberg and Baron Radcliff) got drafted, so it's possible Reid transitions to one of those spots. Which makes a fit for Conor possible at the DH, though they have a top catcher recruit named Kevin parada who they may want at bats for. Wherever Conor goes though, I hope he is able to play for a team that has a decent shot at Omaha. I think his track record proves he deserves that chance.

Edited by warbiscuit

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Well Georgia Tech got themselves a transfer from Vandy named Justyn-Henry Malloy who played 3B and 1B last year, which makes it less likely they get Conor.

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On 6/17/2020 at 5:11 PM, warbiscuit said:

Yeah if I remember, his student loan debt was around 90K in the Montgomery Adviser. I can see a Georgia team, which is where he's from, take a chance on him. Either Georgia Tech or Georgia

This is a crying shame. The state government can do something about this. I understand the Mississippi schools give out of state athletes in-state rates. How they work this I don't know, but if Mississippi can do it, Alabama could too.

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1 hour ago, Mikey said:

This is a crying shame. The state government can do something about this. I understand the Mississippi schools give out of state athletes in-state rates. How they work this I don't know, but if Mississippi can do it, Alabama could too.

I forgot Mississippi had out of state tuition waivers. I would hope they would work for grad school as well, but I don't think Ole Miss and MSU would go for him. Ole Miss has some good players already for 1B/DH rotation with Kevin Graham, Tim Elko and Cael Baker, while MSU has Josh Hatcher at 1B.

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7 hours ago, warbiscuit said:

I forgot Mississippi had out of state tuition waivers. I would hope they would work for grad school as well, but I don't think Ole Miss and MSU would go for him. Ole Miss has some good players already for 1B/DH rotation with Kevin Graham, Tim Elko and Cael Baker, while MSU has Josh Hatcher at 1B.

If our state government would get off their butts and pass similar legislation he could stay at Auburn. :( Sad state of affairs.

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40 minutes ago, Mikey said:

If our state government would get off their butts and pass similar legislation he could stay at Auburn. :( Sad state of affairs.

I forgot this too, but Arkansas offers out of state waivers for any resident of a state that borders Arkansas. That includes the hot bed of baseball talent known as Texas. No doubt this helped Arkansas get the Texas Native Heston Kjerstad and how they can get several top recruits from Texas.

https://arktimes.com/arkansas-blog/2015/09/11/university-of-arkansas-adds-to-border-state-tutition-break-program

LSU gives a lot of aid for out of state students, and even have their own deal with students from Texas. 

https://www.collegexpress.com/interests/public-colleges-and-universities/articles/find-public-college-or-university/public-schools-best-tuition-deals-out-state-students/

I think we need to give more credit to Butch for recruiting, especially with the disadvantages he has compared to other schools just in our conference. 

 

 

 

Edited by warbiscuit
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On 6/18/2020 at 3:54 AM, warbiscuit said:

The first baseman for Georgia, Patrick Sullivan, is a redshirt senior. Georgia's DH seemed to be a rotation of Connor Tate(R-So), Cole Tate(Jr), Chaney Rogers(Jr), Kaden Fowler(R-Jr), Kale Ledford(Jr) and didn't really seem to have a set person there. I think it's more likely he transfers to Georgia than Georgia Tech, who have a freshman DH in Stephen Reid and a freshman 1B in Drew Compton, especially if Sullivan does not return. Georgia's offense lost two starters, Tucker Bradley and Cam Shepherd, and one of their players who rotated with the DH in Kaden Fowler, so Conor would be huge for them. That being said, Stephen Reid was an outfielder, and the left fielder and right fielder(Michael Guldberg and Baron Radcliff) got drafted, so it's possible Reid transitions to one of those spots. Which makes a fit for Conor possible at the DH, though they have a top catcher recruit named Kevin parada who they may want at bats for. Wherever Conor goes though, I hope he is able to play for a team that has a decent shot at Omaha. I think his track record proves he deserves that chance.

FWIW BMatt & an insider on the Bunker, autigers07, think CD will go to a smaller school because most of the bigger schools has all their scholly money allocated with many players returning & freshman classes coming in.

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On 6/18/2020 at 11:23 PM, Mikey said:

This is a crying shame. The state government can do something about this. I understand the Mississippi schools give out of state athletes in-state rates. How they work this I don't know, but if Mississippi can do it, Alabama could too.

Mississippi does it for Alabama residents specifically. Not sure if they do it for any other state.

Doesn't have to be state governed though. I think AU could choose to give students from boardering states waivers to get in state tuition. Man if we did something like that for Georgia residents that would be awesome!

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