Next up in the team reviews is a Missouri team that just missed on an NCAA Tournament this past season. A bad run in SEC play kept them out of the postseason but the Tigers are hoping to turn that around this season.
2019 Record: 34-22-1 (13-16-1)
2019 Postseason: None
Perfect Game Recruiting Class: 55th
2020 Prediction: 5th in the East
The 2019 season was a little all over the place for Missouri. They couldn’t have started worse starting out 2-4 and losing their first series. They finished nicely before conference play though on a 9-1 run.
Missouri won five different SEC series including very impressive victories over Ole Miss and LSU. It was the sweeps that got to them in the end though. Missouri was swept by Arkansas, Georgia and Florida, putting them in a hole that was hard to get out of. One and done in the SEC Tournament squashed any hopes of a postseason.
Notable Non Conference Games
February 14-16: Jacksonville State 39-23, 89 RPI
February 28: Baylor 35-19, 32 RPI
February 29: Oklahoma 33-23, 43 RPI
March 1: Texas 27-27, 65 RPI
A season ago Missouri opened up against a less than impressive North Florida team. They dropped two out of three as part of a horrendous start to the season. Without the slow start it’s reasonable to think the Tigers may have made the NCAA Tournament.
This season they’ll face a more formidable opponent in Jacksonville State to start the season. Missouri needs to come out firing on all cylinders this season and avoid digging a hole like last year.
Missouri is in a pair of of early season classics taking place in Texas. The first is the Kleberg Bank College Classic in Corpus Christi, TX. The second and far more challenging is the Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic in Houston, TX.
Missouri will face a trio of yearly Big 12 greats. In the first game they’ll get Baylor who went 1-2 in last year’s regional. They’ll follow with Oklahoma who is expected to make a fight to win the Big 12 this season. And finally they’ll get an improved Texas team that struggled mightily last season.
SEC West Opponents
March 13-15: @ Alabama
March 20-22: No.8 Auburn
May 8-10: @ No.10 Mississippi State
May 14-16: No.20 Texas A&M
Not Playing: No.7 Arkansas, No.11 LSU, No.25 Ole Miss
Missouri will get what should be a good SEC opener on the road against Alabama. The opening series will be a great test to showcase both team’s talent entering conference play.
The following week may not be as forgiving when they take on a very good Auburn team. They’ll get them at home though and Columbia, MO is unforgiving that time of year for southern schools.
The Tigers wrap up conference play with back to back series against very good SEC West opponents. Dudy Noble Field is no friendly place to play for any visitor and the Bulldogs will be hoping for a sweep. Missouri finishes the season with a rematch at home against an Aggie team they split with a year ago.
RHP Ian Bedell: 3-1, 1.56 ERA
LHP Art Joven: 3-1, 4.33 ERA
RHP Konnor Ash: 2-2, 4.19 ERA
RHP Trey Dillard: 1-2, 6.92 ERA
Junior righty Ian Bedell is sure to be the most exciting arm on the Missouri roster. The Iowa native is coming off a monster year. He worked 40.1 innings in 18 appearances with one start. He’ll be expected to fill in for the Friday night ace roll and should make the transition smoothly.
Art Joven has his eyes on the Saturday spot in the rotation. The has the most starts among returning pitchers. He struggled at times with his control last season and needs to lower his walk rate to be effective.
Konnor Ash should be the favorite for the final spot after throwing 53.2 innings last year and two starts. He’s proven he can go the distance after throwing 4+ innings several times in 2019. Dillard may potentially snag a spot with one of the biggest fastballs in the NCAA touching 99mph at times. He’s struggled mightily with control though and may be regulated to the bullpen for now.
Catcher Chad McDaniel is a powerful bat returning to the lineup from last season. He slashed .286/.355/.394 in 2019 with four homeruns. He’s been working with new hitting coach Todd Butler in the offseason to help him drive the ball better with his swings.
Senior Peter Zimmerman hopes to take on a bigger role this year at first base. The St. Louis started 42 of the 57 games last year and showed glimpses of middle of the lineup power. Look for him to build on that this season.
Another sure offensive producer will be junior Mark Vierling in the middle infield, most probably at second base where he played last year. Vierling hit .285 with a .378 on base percentage. What he lacked in power he made up for in the field playing some of the best defense at second base in the SEC.
It’s been three years of Missouri just missing out on the NCAA Tournament. Last season they ranked 14 in the RPI entering the final weekend against Florida. They appeared to be a sure in. After a three game sweep and an immediate exit from the SEC Tournament, the Tigers found themselves on the outside once again.
Head coach Steve Bieser has the team to break through this year. His Tigers have been thwarted in his first three years. They’re hoping to make the tournament for the first time since joining the SEC.
They have a plethora of adequate bats to keep the offense competitive. The pitching has solid pieces available but needs to sure up the back end of the rotation. The Tigers are in a perfect position to hold the middle of the SEC East and make a bid for the NCAA Tournament.
“From Our Haus to Yours”