The Texas A&M Aggies are next up on the SEC previews. A&M had a solid 2019 season that came to an end in the Morgantown Regional in a final elimination game loss to Duke. The15th year head coach Rob Childress hopes to extend the school’s record for consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances.
2019 Record: 39-23-1 (16-13-1)
Postseason: 2-2 in Morgantown Regional
Perfect Game Recruiting Class: 34th
2020 Prediction: 5th in the West
The 2019 season was another good one for Texas A&M. The Aggies won six different SEC series including big series wins against SEC East winner Vanderbilt and SEC West winner Arkansas. They posted a solid 20-6 record in the nonconference.
Texas A&M won a 10 inning thriller in the SEC tournament against Florida in game one but lose their next two without scoring a run to leave Hoover early. They beat West Virginia in their own regional to play Duke but lost to the Blue Devils who would move on to the Super Regionals.
Notable Non-Conference Games
February 28: Illinois 36-21, 28 RPI
February 29: No.14 UCLA 52-11, 2 RPI
March 1: No.22 Oklahoma State 40-21, 7 RPI
March 31: Texas 27-27, 65 RPI
The out of conference schedule doesn’t feature any high profile series but does have a handful of single games that will be competitive. The Frisco College Baseball Classic highlights three such games.
The weekend kicks off with an Illinois team that made the NCAA Tournament a season ago. Next, they’ll have UCLA who is a consistent powerhouse. The Bruins lost in the Super Regionals to eventual National Title runner up Michigan. The weekend caps off against Oklahoma State who was one game and two runs shy of Omaha last June.
The game against Texas is always one to be circled. The Aggies defeated their in-state rival in 2019 in a 9-6 midweek game. Texas was ranked No.17 at the time before the season went south and they would miss the NCAA Tournament.
SEC East Opponents
March 27-29: @ No.4 Florida
April 3-5: No.5 Georgia
May 8-10: Tennessee
May 14-16: @ Missouri
Not Playing: No.2 Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Kentucky
The East slate starts out brutally with two of the preseason top 5 teams in back to back weekends. Those games are sandwiched by series against Ole Miss and Arkansas giving no love to the Aggies to start SEC play.
On the other hand, the season ends with series against Tennessee and Missouri. The schedule ends about as favorable as can be heading into the SEC Tournament. These two series should be a 4-2 showing for the Aggies to help pad their SEC record after a brutal start.
LHP Asa Lacy: 8-4, 2.13 ERA
RHP Christian Roa: 3-2, 3.56 ERA
LHP Chris Weber: 4-1, 3.18 ERA
The Texas A&M rotation led the SEC in ERA for the 2019 season. They were top five in opponent batting average as well as strikeouts. They were arguably the best rotation in the league.
2020 is hoping to yield similar results. Unanimous first-team All-SEC pick Asa Lacy headlines what shapes up to be a dominant rotation. The lefty confused the entire league, striking out an astounding 130 while allowing just a .162 batting average.
Christian Roa had 10 starts last season and had himself a solid season. He has shown improvement in working through the fall. He brings four good pitches to his arsenal and has touched 95mph with his fastball.
The Sunday spot likely goes to Chris Weber. Weber was another strong A&M starter in 2019. Chandler Jozwiak can take the Sunday spot but will likely be relegated to midweek starter. The junior southpaw had five starts last season and was 4-5 with a 4.76 ERA.
Texas A&M struggled mightily offensively last season and now has to replace their top hitter. The Aggies hit just .251, good for 13th in the league. They were dead last in doubles, home runs, slugging percentage and on-base percentage.
Junior Bryce Blaum was one of the pleasant surprises last year and returns by far the most offensive production. He leads the returning Aggies in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and home runs. He will be the heart of the offense.
He’ll be joined by a much improved Zach DeLoach. The junior struggled mightily last season but has big expectations after a huge offseason. The outfielder was voted to the preseason second-team All-SEC.
This season looks very similar to a year ago. They feature the dominant ace with two other starters that bring a solid rotation each weekend. The Aggies depended heavily on their pitching last season and look like they’ll be able to rely on them once again.
The biggest questions come from the offense. The offense will have to be better if they want to improve on last year’s regional appearance. After the disaster last season, it can only be assumed the lineup will at least be somewhat improved.
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