Mark Ecker, Texas A&M

College Station Regional Breakdown

Analysis

College Station Regional Participants

Texas A&M 44-14 20-10 (2nd SEC West) Automatic Roster Statistics
Minnesota 34-20 16-7 (1st Big Ten) At-Large Roster Statistics
Wake Forest 34-25 13-17 (6th ACC Atlantic) At-Large Roster Statistics
Binghamton 30-23 19-5 (1st America East) Automatic Roster Statistics

Regional Superlatives

Most Exciting Player: Nick Banks, of, Texas A&M — If he continues to play the way he did in Hoover last week, watch out for Banks. In addition to his sudden power surge and overall eliteness at the plate, Banks is an elite defender with one of the beset arms in college baseball.

Best Hitter: Will Craig, Wake Forest — Craig should fall in love with Blue Bell Park this weekend. As a righthanded hitter, the ball typically flies out to left field this time of year. Craig is having a National Player of the Year type of campaign, hitting .392 with 16 homers and 65 RBIs, along with a .766 slugging percentage and ridiculously good .537 OBP. A little note: Craig’s slugging percentage is the highest of anyone in the postseason.

Best Defensive Player: Stuart Fairchild, cf, Wake Forest — The Demon Deacons will need consistency this weekend, and they’ve got one of the nation’s best overall players and defensive outfielders in Fairchild. A 6.4 60-yard-dash runner, Fairchild covers a lot of ground and has terrific instincts.

Best Pitcher: Brigham Hill, rhp, Texas A&M — It’s been quite the rise for the A&M sophomore righty. Hill began the season in a midweek role, but has blossomed into one of the SEC’s elite starting pitchers with a 1.88 ERA in 86.1 innings, along with 87 strikeouts and 20 walks. In addition to a fastball that will sit 90-92, and up to 93-94 at times, Hill also possesses a slider that is of the wipeout variety.

X-Factor: Will Craig, Wake Forest — The Demon Deacons can’t have a successful weekend without the two-way stalwart clicking on all cylinders. Craig’s offensive prowess gets more love than what he does on the mound, but he’s also elite as a weapon out of the bullpen, too, showcasing premium velocity and stuff at times.

Best Starting Rotation: Texas A&M. Even with the Aggies still tweaking around the weekend rotation at times, you still have to go with what they’ve got in Hill and Kyle Simonds. Simond’s breaking ball has evolved into a real weapon over the past month or two, while he continues to showcase solid velocity in the upper 80s, going into the 90s.,

Best Bullpen: Texas A&M. Even if the Aggies move Andrew Vinson to the starting rotation this weekend, which seems extremely likely, they still have one of the nation’s premier relievers in Mark Ecker. Ecker has power stuff with a dominant fastball, quality slider, and a changeup that continues to evolve into a solid offering.

Best Offensive Team: Texas A&M. Guess who? The Aggies. The Aggies finished the regular season with a .315 team batting average, and that was with Banks struggling much of the season. Now, he’s hot and this team is just loaded with bullets going into the NCAA postseason.

Best Defensive Team: Texas A&M. If there’s one thing the Aggies have improved over the last year, it’s their defense. A&M has gotten across the board good defense. Michael Barash continues to be a rock behind the plate, Boomer White has done a solid job at third, and Ryne Birk has improved his defensive ways. The outfield remains athletic and elite with the ability to cover a lot of ground, while shortstop Austin Homan is serviceable most of the time, but clearly has his moments at times. Fortunately for A&M, he tends to make up for those hiccups with his offense.

No. 1 Seed Win Probability (1-10): 9. The Aggies got one of the lowest rated two seeds, along with Wake Forest, a team that is good, but far from great. You always have to concerned with a pair of battle-tested clubs in the Golden Gophers and Demon Deacons, but it would be a huge surprise if the Aggies have any trouble at all this weekend.


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