VCU's Paul Witt (VCU Athletics)

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2020 Conference Wrap: Atlantic 10

Analysis

It’s still hard to believe the 2020 college baseball season is over after just four weeks of play. Most conferences didn’t even reach league play before the coronavirus halted the season, so it would be pointless to give out any legitimate awards or draw any sweeping conclusions from our meager sample size. With that in mind, we won’t be releasing a 2020 All-America team, or naming a national Player of the Year or Freshman of the Year.

But informally, we can still take a look back at those first four weeks and highlight some players who stood out. Keep in mind that nonconference strength of schedules vary dramatically, and four weeks really isn’t a long enough period to even determine how strong a given schedule truly was. With those caveats out of the way, here are some superlative picks for the Atlantic 10 Conference, which played four weeks of nonconference action and had yet to reach conference play.

Here are the superlative categories:

  • Best Team
  • Most Surprising Team
  • Most Impressive Hitter
  • Most Impressive Pitcher
  • Best Senior
  • Best Freshman
  • Breakout Player
  • Breakout Pitcher

BEST TEAM

VCU

In our A-10 season preview, we were torn between the Rams of Fordham and the Rams of VCU for the top spot in our projected standings. Both teams got off to solid starts, though you can also make a case here for Davidson (which posted the league’s best record at 13-3 but did so against a very soft schedule) or Rhode Island (which played the strongest schedule, finished with the highest RPI, and had the best single weekend — more on that in a moment). Fordham finished 10-6 but struggled against the best competition it faced, failing to notch a single win against a team that finished with a winning record.

So we’re defaulting to reigning regular-season champion VCU, which went 9-8 and had a couple of nice highlights to hang its hat upon: a season-opening road series win against a solid Charlotte club and a quality Friday night win against a good West Virginia team. Without more of a sample size to draw from, it’s tough to jump the other A-10 teams above VCU, a proven and balanced club that ranked third in the A-10 in both scoring and ERA, and first in fielding percentage.

A trio of seniors — catcher Josh Simon (.294/.478/.412), second baseman Paul Witt (.345/.513/.509) and shortstop Brett Norwood (.265/.409/.353) — plus junior center fielder Hogan Brown gave VCU a rock-solid foundation up the middle. Corner bats Steven Carpenter (.393/.500/.554) and Brandon Henson (.321/.446/.736, 6 HR, 17 RBI) provided some punch and were off to great starts offensively, giving this lineup plenty of veteran presence.

The rotation also looked very formidable, led by veterans Justin Sorokowski (0-1, 1.23 in 22 IP) and Michael Dailey (0-0, 1.74 in 20.2 IP). Promising freshman Mason Delane (1-2, 3.14) had the look of another reliable starting pitcher, while Devin Dunn (1-0, 0.90), Edwin Serrano (0-1, 2.95, 2 SV) and Evan Chenier (1-1, 3.75) anchored the revamped bullpen.

 

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