My Preview of 09 Vols



Well-Known Member
Jan 15, 2008
In year 2 of the Raleigh era the Vols should be MUCH better than last year. They return 2 of the better starting pitchers in the SEC in Nick Hernandez and Bryan Morgado and have the BEST player in the conference in centerfielder Kentrail Davis. At the plate the Vols should be a powerful bunch with returning starters Kentrail Davis, Cody Brown, Jeff Lockwood, and Josh Liles along with JUCO transfers Cody Hawn and Tyler Horne. PJ Polk is another returning starter who adds speed to the lineup. Jarred Frazier had a really good fall and is supposed to swap at bats at DH with Lockwood. I've heard that freshman Zach Osborne will start at shortstop due to his great fielding. Catcher this year will be Blake Forsythe, whose a pretty solid defender and has some power at the plate. It seems that this year there's a lot of players that could see playing time, so Raleigh will more than likely use the first few weeks of the season to find the best starting lineup. I've heard that Cody Brown is trying to play second base this year so Tyler Horne can come in at third, thus maximizing the offensive potential of the team. If that indeed happens, I think our offense could put up huge numbers this season. Last year the Vols hit almost 70 homeruns, so with the additions of Hawn and Horne, hitting nearly 90 homeruns isn't out of reach. That's what Raleigh seems to like...Gorillaball. I believe that our team won't struggle as much with the midweek games this year due to our offensive putting up lots of runs in those games and improved pitching depth. So from what I've read on the internet and from my knowledge of the team, here's what our lineup should look like.

C-Blake Forsythe
1B-Cody Hawn
2B-Cody Brown (I'm thinking the switch happens)
3B-Tyler Horne
SS-Zach Osborne
CF-Kentrail Davis
LF-PJ Polk
RF-Josh Liles
DH-Jeff Lockwood/Jarred Frazier

Now on to pitching, where I think the Vols should have one of the best starting rotations in the SEC. Hernandez and Morgado were both in Baseball America's Top 50 Prospects list for this year and should be a very good 1-2 punch. Pitching Sundays for the Vols will most likely be Tyrelle Harris, who did a very nice job last year for the team. He's the kind of pitcher who will go 6 innings and give up 3 runs. Not dominant...but a reliable guy on Sundays. Out of the bullpen the only really proven pitcher is closer Danny Wiltz, who had a sub 3 ERA last year. Freshmen Matt Ramsey, Steven Gruver, and Adam Adkins are supposed to be middle relief guys and are supposed to be good. Look for Gruver to be the starter in the midweek games along with Steve Crnkovich and Aaron Tullo. Raleigh says our pitching depth is much better this year, so that'll really help in the midweek games. I think the pitching will be much improved this year, and here's what it should look like.

#1 SP-Nick Hernandez
#2 SP-Bryan Morgado
#3 SP-Tyrelle Harris

CL-Danny Wiltz
SU-Matt Ramsey
Mid relief/mid week-Steven Gruver, Adam Adkins, Aaron Tullo, Steve Crnkovich

I EXPECT the Vols to make the SEC and NCAA Tournaments this year as I think there's a lot of talent on the team this year. The starting rotation and power that the lineup has should make the Vols a team to be reckoned with this year in the SEC. The only real weakness I see on the team this year is our inexperienced pitching depth. If they come through as Raleigh thinks they will, we should be VERY GOOD. I look for the Vols to compete for the SEC East crown this year and make both the SEC and NCAA Tournaments.

We open the season this Friday against Oregon State at 4 pm, and I hope that many of you Vol fans make the trip to recently renovated Lindsay Nelson Stadium on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday this weekend. It should be a great series!
Good post. Thanks for contributing. I'm hoping to make it to the game on Friday.
Students go to games and work on homework (it's quite nice, actually), that should tell you how many people are usually there.
I am excited for this season and hope it turns out well. Been looking forward to Friday's game for a long time. Hope a lot show up.
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Nothin better than rollin over to the ball field on a sunny day to catch a weekday game and a glance at all the coeds on campus. I'm a student at IU and always catch a few games a year, but our team is usually pretty bad and it doesn't get sunny around here for awhile. If I went to UT I'd be there. Go BaseVols!
Good post TNVols58. I think the staff is entirely up in the air. Morgado is the only consistant, proven starter we have. Crnkovich struggled last year and Tyrelle is a two pitch guy who's never impressed me, and Hernandez wasn't great last year. Of course all of this can be attributed to our lack of arms last season.

I pretty much agree with what you said about the offense. Hawn's knee is definitely something I hope is not an issue. If not for that, he's in the minor leagues now. Forsythe's gotta hit better. You also gotta think Thurber's going to get a lot of at bats or even start somewhere, if ML scouting on him is correct. Maybe Frazier can get back to his '08 form. We should score more runs this year and hopefully Kentrail earns himself a lot of money come June.
The thing with Hernandez last year is that he'd always do well for 6 innings, and then due to no pitching depth we'd always leave him in too long and he'd get rocked in the 7th or 8th inning. Nick was a Cape Cod league All Star over the summer, and I expect him to be very good this year.
frazier strikes out too much so unless he has changed I think his sport is up for grabs. Lockwood is a good hitter so Im guessing when he is pitching the dh would hit for someone other than the pitcher?
Only for snow I think if its cold.

Lived in Omaha for the past three years and hit the CWS a ton. Also went to several Creighton/Nebraska games at Rosenblatt in March, where all it does is snow. Had some interesting nights hearing the 'PING' and then getting hot chocolate. Weird to watch baseball in a snow storm.

I'm heading to the Sunday game this weekend. Looking forward to it.
#19 will show the game in live video streaming if you look on the right side of the home page and click the "LIVE Video Baseball vs. Oregon St." link. I think they're doing it for each game this weekend.

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