Fall Report: Alabama
There’s a new, finer feeling around the Alabama program these days. The Crimson tide had a good fall and coach Mitch Gaspard likes the direction his team is headed. But, even more important for the program’s future is the massive renovation project that’s slated to finish up the next couple of months.
For years, Alabama has been one of those programs, where rightfully so, football has been king. While other programs around the campus were forced to be happy with the facilities they had, football was the bread winner and received constant facility updates. Well, baseball finally got a piece of the pie, and the prize arrived in impressive fashion with a price tag north of $40 million.
Stadiums don’t win championships, players do. But, Alabama has made a strong commitment to the program with its renovations. And with that, come higher expectations for Gaspard, his coaching staff and the players.
While the Crimson Tide have some serious holes to fill offensively between now and the spring, there are some areas where this team has the potential to make giant leaps. The obvious question marks as the fall concludes is replacing the middle infield with the departures of Mikey White and Kyle Overstreet, while powerful Casey Hughston leaves a void in the lineup.
The positives? The Crimson Tide have experience in some key areas. Will Haynie is a seasoned commodity behind the plate and the pitching staff will be deep with the return of Jake Walters and Geoffrey Bramblett, along with Nick Eicholtz, who had the type of fall the Crimson Tide needed him to have with electric overall stuff. The Tide also has some legitimate options out of the bullpen.
“Coming out of the fall, I feel like we’re in a very good spot on the mound from a pure depth standpoint,” Gaspard said. “Some guys have made some very good strides from a year ago, and I think that group is really ready. With that said, we lost some key guys from a positional standpoint, and the middle infield in particular was a big emphasis with the departures of White and Overstreet.”
Replacing those two, among others, will determine this team’s fate in 2016. The Crimson Tide reached the postseason in 2013 and ’14 before scuffling much of last season, some of that induced by the rigorous travel schedule that involved the Tide busing to their pseudo home games at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium about 50 miles away from the Tuscaloosa, Ala., campus. However, the Tide are at home now, in a sparkling brand new stadium, and there are no built-in excuses moving forward.
There are some things to like about this Alabama team. What are they, personnel-wise? Come find out.
Already a subscriber? Log In to access this article