Dual sport athlete Connor McCaffery will be part of a small group of sophomores on the 2020 roster.
Izaya Fullard is probably the player with the most upside for this Iowa baseball team. He played in 52 games as a sophomore this past season and hit 0.307 and an OPS 0f 0.798 to go along with five home runs and 31 RBI’s.
The North Liberty, Iowa native also had nearly a 1:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio (25:22, respectively). He played terrific defense on the infield this past season with a fielding percentage of 0.986 while turning 26 double plays and only committing five errors.
Connor McCaffery has made a name for himself on the basketball court, but he is a budding superstar in baseball as well. He plays both the outfield and first base and saw time in 32 games last season batting 0.238 with one home run and five RBI’s.
The outfield was pretty much set this past season with Whelan, Jenkins, and Norman occupying left, center, and right field respectively. Fullard figures to be the starting first basemen going forward but McCaffery should get plenty of opportunities to establish himself as a starting outfielder next year with at the very least Chris Whalen moving on.
He has seen time in right field but might have to play left field if the team feels that Ben Norman is the better choice in right field. A very early look at what the defensive positioning might look like for the Hawkeyes in 2020 is below:
Obviously a few new faces from this season with Lorenzo Elion and Matthew Sosa cracking the everyday lineup. Elion will be a senior in 2020 and hit just 0.159 as a part-time player this season. He had a difficult time getting regular starts. The Chicago native had a much better showing in 2018, starting 37 games (32 of them at third base) and batted 0.275 with 27 RBI’s.
The hope is that Elion can return to 2018 form next season but there could be an opportunity for underclassmen to grab a hold of the position if Elion fails to perform.
Sosa spent his first two collegiate years at East Los Angelese Community College and batted 0.338 and 0.353 as a freshman and sophomore, respectively. He transferred into the Iowa baseball program this past season and batted 0.224 in 35 games with one home runs and 15 RBI’s. Similar to Elion, the hope is that regular playing time for Sosa will bring those numbers up.