If you're a WSU baseball fan, the Cougar Sports Weekly I just sent out is for you. An excerpt:
Unfortunately, the Cougs will enter the season with no fewer questions than they had at the beginning of this season. The pitching that was so inconsistent -- presumably because of youth -- will be a year older, which you figure should make some talented arms much more effective. But the offense loses a ton, led by the departures of Derek Jones and redshirt junior Taylor Ard. Both have already signed their pro contracts, starting short-season A ball last week -- Jones with the Tri-Cities Dust Devils and Ard with the Everett Aquasox. In fact, they played against each other on their first nights in pro ball, which is pretty cool, right?
It would be a bit myopic, though, to simply focus on those two; WSU also loses leadoff hitter Kyle Johnson (.309 batting average, .408 on-base percentage, .401 slugging percentage), third baseman Patrick Claussen (.301/.383/.398) and second baseman Tommy Richards (.289/.364/.373). In all, the top five hitters from what was a fairly productive offense have moved on.
The big question is where the pop will come from in the lineup. Hitters such as Jason Monda and Collin Slaybaugh have flashed the potential to hit for excellent average, but the two sophomores had just 15 extra base hits between them -- with just one home run -- in more than 300 at bats. Adam Nelubowich is the leading returning home run hitter with four; the rest of the returning team has just three combined.
I also opined about the impact of Patrick Simon's transfer and offered some brief thoughts on the half-dozen verbals WSU has secured over the past week or so. You can find out how to subscribe to CSW here.