Fall Report: Southern California
Southern California’s return to college baseball prominence was one of the major stories of the 2015 season. The Trojans won 39 games, finished tied for third in the Pac-12 and finally returned to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2005.
A big reason for USC’s big year was the emergence of fourth-year junior Bobby Stahel and seniors Garrett Stubbs and Dante Flores as stars. That trio finished the year as USC’s top three hitters (the only players on the team to hit above .300), and now they are gone.
Yet there is plenty of reason to believe USC will be a regional-caliber team again in 2016, and that it has a chance to be even better than it was last year. The Trojans have recruited well under fourth-year head coach Dan Hubbs (who was the recruiting coordinator before taking over as head coach in the fall of 2012), and now they are well-stocked with quality players in all four classes. Perhaps most notably, the Trojans have a very strong core of impact seniors for the second straight year.
Center fielder Timmy Robinson, ace righthander Kyle Davis, weekend starter Brent Wheatley, slugger A.J. Ramirez and relievers Brooks Kriske and Marc Huberman all have enough ability to be quality senior signs after this year, though only Davis and Wheatley were drafted as juniors. Skilled bat-handler David Oppenheim gives USC yet another quality senior. Few teams can match that group of seven very experienced seniors who all provide real ability along with leadership.
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