2018 Baseball Preview: Alabama A&M
2017 Record: 12-45, 9-15 SWAC (Third in East Division)
Key Returners: Carson McGregory, Carlton Peppers, Dalton Mitchell, Blaine Milam, JT’O Reel returns from 2016 season
Key Losses: Brandon Marsonek, Cornelius Woods
For head coach Mitch Hill and the Alabama A&M Bulldogs, 2018 will be about building off of last season, in which the Bulldogs finished third in the east division.
One of the big challenges Hill will face this season will be replacing the production of left handed pitcher Brandon Marsonek now with the Oakland A’s organization. Marsonek led Alabama A&M with a 2.91 ERA, earned five saves, led the SWAC with 111.1 innings pitched, led the SWAC with 137 strikeouts, and appeared in 38 games for the Bulldogs in 2017. His numbers were impressive and his production will be very hard for the Bulldogs to replace. Hill will need to look to use a whole pitching staff instead of relying heavily on one pitcher this season.
On offense, Hill will need to replace Cornelius Woods, who will not be back for AAMU this season. Woods was near the top in every offensive category last season. He led them in batting average (.309), slugging percentage (.371), was second in hits (51), second in RBIs (22), and led AAMU with 17 extra base hits. Hill will need to look to other players to produce in 2018, to make up for the loss that Woods departure creates.
One of those players who could produce this season is Carson McGregory. McGregory totaled a .280 batting average, a .351 on base percentage. Was tied for the team lead with 29 runs scored, and was also first with 57 hits. If McGregory can put up slightly increased numbers in 2018, he can have the same impact in the lineup for Hill and the Bulldogs that McGregory did in 2017.
Hill and the Bulldogs are looking to build off its third place finish in the east division from 2017. Hill will need other players to contribute and expand their roles this season, especially on the mound, for the Bulldogs to improve in 2018.