2018 Baseball Preview: Grambling State
2017 Record: 22-30, 15-9 SWAC (Won West Division)
Key Returners: Marshawn Taylor
Key Losses: Wesley Drain, Daniel Barnett, Isaac O’Bear
The Grambling State Tigers will look to repeat as west division champions this season, under the guidance of 2017 Coach of the Year James Cooper.
Cooper will look to 2018 Preseason Player of the Year, and 2017 Player of the Year, Hitter of the Year and Newcomer of the Year Marshawn Taylor to once again lead the Tigers’ offense this season. Taylor ranked near the top of the league in several offensive categories last season including; first in batting average (.402), first in hits (82), and second in on base percentage (.477).
Taylor led a Grambling State team that ranked third in the SWAC in batting average (.270), second in on base percentage (.392), and third in runs scored (325). Cooper will need to get more production along with Taylor for the Tigers to go deeper in the SWAC Baseball Tournament in 2018.
Cooper will also need to replace key veteran players who graduated this past season. Daniel Barnett, who ranked second on the Tigers in batting average (.319), first in slugging percentage (.319), second In runs scored (49), and second in hits (59) will not be back for GSU in 2018. Cooper will need to find another bat in the lineup to compliment Taylor, and get similar production.
On the mound, Grambling State’s top-two pitchers from a season ago have graduated. Isaac O’Bear and Tanner Raiburn were the top two pitchers on the team in ERA, wins, and innings pitched for the Tigers in 2017.
Cooper will need to look to find a new ace for his pitching rotation, and a compliment pitcher to replace the one-two punch that he has with Raiburn and O’Bear last season.
Cooper and Grambling State will look for a repeat regular season and second consecutive west division crown and improve on its tournament finish in 2018.