2010 ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS BASEBALL
Arkansas is coming off a 2009 season that by any measure whatsoever has to be considered superb. The team had an exceptional overall record, and the team had a strong postseason run en route to the College World Series. And with the return of a large number of talented players from the 2009 squad to this year's team, there is no reason to believe that this year's team cannot make a similar run in 2010. However, one thing that is certain. This year, the team will not come up and surprise anyone.
Overall, the team managed a record in 2009 of 41 wins against 24 losses. However the team had a sub .500 record within the SEC, at only 14-15. That lack of a winning record in conference play is what made the Razorbacks postseason run as unexpected as it was. Yet the team did make that run, and it led to the team finishing the 2009 season ranked the #4 team in the nation by Collegiate Baseball.
Key Returning Players:
Arkansas returns a number of its key players from the 2009 season and from its 2009 postseason run. The most important of these players, at least from an offensive standpoint, is probably first baseman Andy Wilkins. Wilkins batted .319 in 2009, along with 19 home runs and 58 runs batted in. He is joined across the diamond by third baseman Zach Cox (.266, 13 home runs, and 39 RBI), and center fielder Brett Eibner (.231 batting average, 12 home runs, 34 runs batted in). On the surface, the Razorbacks would seem to be lacking in a lot of offensive weapons returning, however, these were the same players who got hot at the right time last year and carried this team to its deep postseason run, so there is little reason to believe that the team can't start the 2010 season as it finished off in 2009.
Thanks to bobbyuggles at flickr.com for the picture.
From the hill, Arkansas is returning a number of solid arms, although really, only one elite one. Right hander Mike Bolsinger managed a 6-4 record overall and a 2.99 ERA, and averaged more than a strikeout per inning pitched. He will be a key cog in the Arkansas pitching staff in 2010.
Key Departing Players:
It's going to be a challenge for the Razorbacks to replace the player that has been considered by many to be the kick starter in the Arkansas offense in 2009, that being shortstop Ben Tschepikow. His .317 batting average and 9 home runs will be difficult to replace of themselves. His 17 stolen bases may be that much harder to replace. Chase Leavitt (.305 batting average, 33 runs batted in) and Scott Lyons (.295 batting average and 46 RBI) are also going to prove challenging to replace from last year's squad.
One thing is for sure. While the Razorbacks are not losing a particularly large number of pitchers from last year's squad, they are losing their two best left handed hurlers in Dallas Keuchel (9-3, 3.92 ERA) and Stephen Richards (6-2, 2.19 ERA).
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