The Alabama Crimson Tide appear to be in good shape entering the 2010 season. They are coming off a season in which they performed at a high level overall, and also performed well within the SEC. And while this team is clearly losing a lot of talent from the 2009 club, it also has a lot of returning talent to fall back on.
In 2009, the Alabama Crimson Tide managed an overall record of 37-21. The team also managed a solid record within the SEC of 18-11. The team, while never truly considered one of the elite over the course of the season, was consistently above average throughout, and was always a tough opponent. They were quite possibly the one team that no other SEC team ever wanted to face, with its depth and consistency.
Key Departing Players:
The Alabama Crimson Tide are most definitely losing a lot of talent from last year's club. And when discussing the most significant players to leave the team from the 2009 club, discussion has to start with one of the most significant players to leave the conference from last year's club, that being rightfielder Kent Matthes. Matthes, drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 4th round of the 2009 MLB entry draft, had a monster season in 2009. He batted .358 and slugged 28 home runs while driving in 81 runs. He even managed 13 steals for good measure. And in addition to the loss of Matthes, Alabama will also have to deal with the loss of ooutfielder Brandon May (.347 batting average, 12 home runs, 69 runs driven in) and catcher Vin DiFazio (.329, 7, 24).
The only pitcher of note that the Alabama Crimson Tide lose from last year's squad is right hander Austin Hyatt, who went 8-3 last year while sporting a 3.76 ERA.
Key Returning Players:
Despite the loss of some key contributors from last year's squad, Alabama does have a boatload of talent returning to the team for the 2010 season, and as such, should be in good shape to compensate for those losses. Offensively, the team boasts a number of solid options. Third baseman Jake Smith will be relied upon to fill the role of offensive force. He should build off of last year's numbers (.359 batting average, 18 home runs, 54 RBI). Second baseman Ross Wilson continues to develop into one of the most potent middle infielders in the SEC (.353 average, 9 home runs, 47 RBI last year), while Taylor Dugas will liekly be expected to further his role on the basepaths (last year he stole 13 of 14 bases).
On the mound, Alabama returns a number of options which should assure adequate depth within the team. The most valuable member of this squad may end up being Taylor White. In limited action last year, White went 1-0 and had a 2.28 ERA. He is joined by Nathan Kilcrease, who last year went 4-4 with a 4.11 ERA, Adam Morgan, who went 4-2 with a 4.17 ERA, and Jimmy Nelson, who went 2-3 in limited action on the season. An intriguing player to watch is Jake Smith, who, in sparing action managed a 2.13 ERA and may be counted on for more this year.
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