Texas baseball completed its Fall World Series yesterday and holy crap just look at that picture from Schoolly_D. Sure the angle plays up freshman catcher Michael Cantu's size and downplays CJ Hinojosa's, but he is every bit the 6'3" 237 lbs the Texas roster makes him out to be and that is exciting.
That's my main takeaway from three relatively meaningless Fall scrimmages that mostly served to highlight the newbies. Texas should hit the ball better in 2015 than it did in 2014 just as every team should benefit from the new baseballs. Whether that happens, of course, remains to be seen.
What's undeniable is that the days of tiny Mark Payton hitting third are over. Obviously Payton was a wonderfully talented offensive player, but Texas wouldn't have batted him third if they had a better power hitting option.
Enter Cantu and a number of other Texas freshman.
Cantu caught all three games and was impressive defensively. The ball also seemed to jump off Cantu's bat although the results weren't there for these three games. Obviously Tres Barrera will catch some this year and will either DH or play 1B when he's not catching. The defending NCAA Home Run (Derby) champion hit a ball a mile on Monday for the team's second homer of the Fall Ball season and could be due for a big year in 2015.
Cantu isn't the only Texas freshman with serious size though. Actually, he's not even the biggest freshman, that award would go to pitcher/infielder Parker Joe Robinson who stands 6'4" and 240 lbs. Robinson pitched a pair of scoreless innings in the first game and didn't do a ton in the field for game's two and three.
Freshman catcher Michael McCann checks in at 5'9" and 215 lbs while potential utilityman Noah Lee is 5'11" and 220 lbs. McCann appears to be more of a long term project and really struggled with balls in the dirt on Monday. Lee, on the other hand, did some nice things offensively and had at least one really nice defensive play at 3B on Monday.
2015 should be a good year for Texas baseball, with a talented crop of pitchers being joined by a number of potential impact freshmen.The infield is brimming with talent and the outfield has good talent but less depth.
The Fall World Series gave a tantalizing look at a Texas team that could compete for a national title. Texas baseball returns to action at the end of January with the Alumni Game before heading to Houston in mid-February to take on Rice.