Countdown College Baseball 2023 is bringing our way-too-early rankings of teams before the season is upon us. Today, I look at #16 which is the Virginia Cavaliers.
Head Coach Brian O’Connor is entering his 20th season at the helm of the Cavaliers where his record is 789-538-2.
Projected key returnersfor the Cavaliers include DH Ethan Anderson, RP Matthew Buchanan, SS Griff O’Ferrall, 3B Jake Gelof, OF Casey Saucke, C Kyle Teel, RP Jay Woolfolk
Virginia had a top-15 offense in 2022 and the lineup again looks to be the Cavaliers’ strength in 2023. Five regulars return from the lineup, including All-American Jake Gelof, Team USA member Kyle Teel and Freshman All-Americans Griff O’Ferrall and Casey Saucke. Where the Cavaliers have more questions is on the mound. They’ll have to reset their rotation, but with top relievers Matthew Buchanan and Jay Woolfolk back and a couple key newcomers arriving in Charlottesville, Virginia should have enough firepower in its pitching staff to contend in the ACC.
Atlantic Coast Conference play will commence on the road against North Carolina with a three-game match-up beginning Friday, March 10. The Cavaliers will also play road ACC series against NC State (March 17-19), Virginia Tech (March 31-April 2), Notre Dame (April 21-23) and conclude the regular season in Atlanta against Georgia Tech (May 18-20).
Virginia third baseman Jake Gelof was named a First Team Preseason All-American by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper. The Cavalier junior is coming off a historic 2022 season in which he broke the program’s single-season RBI record.
Some of the top newcomers include outfielder Ethan O’Donnell from Northeastern, RHP Jack O’Connor from the 18U national team and 2022 Florida Prep Player of the Year LHP Bradley Hodges also LHP Connelly Early who was Patriot Player of the Year and RHP Nick Parker out of Coastal Carolina.
The replacement of the pitching rotation will need a bit of time to sort out but there is a plethora of quality arms to choose from.
College Baseball Countdown Previous posts:
23- East Carolina
#20- Southern Mississippi
#19- Virginia Tech
#17– Texas Tech
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