Youth possible boost for untested baseball squad

Entering the season with a core of untested pitchers and a lineup consisting of new batters at the 2-5 spots, the TCU baseball team appears to be heading toward tough times.

This makeup of new players could actually be a good thing for the Horned Frogs. The 2008 team has the opportunity to carve its own identity.

Most sports teams enter a season with a core of known commodities. For baseball, it’s pitchers who have started in college, a batting order with proven strengths and a strong middle of the order.

Each year, known commodities meet new commodities forming a meshed unit.

This year’s baseball team has experienced vocal leaders, senior center fielder Clint Arnold and redshirt junior Matt Carpenter, who plays third base, but the exodus of core players to graduation and the draft leave the team with a very fresh look.

A majority of the players have an opportunity to make their first mark with the team. They are players who have not had the chance to showcase their skills because of established commodities.

These are players with something to prove, a new team identity and who no longer want to watch wins.

It is their time to shine purple and white. They’ve got the talent, and now they are in position to use it.

In the past two seasons, TCU finished as Mountain West Conference champions and was ranked in the top 20 at times.

Today’s team is looking to prove something and has big shoes to fill, but the players’ skills were learned and developed on championship teams.

The 2008 team calls itself a scrappy dirt-bag squad. It knows it’s fresh, but it’s taking the new look and carving its own definition.

What makes this new looking team even more exciting and interesting is no one really knows what to expect.

There are, of course, high expectations that come with belonging to a team that has won the Mountain West both years it has been a part of it, but with so many unknowns, it is impossible to fully predict whether such expectations will be met.

It could be argued that the team will not perform well because of a lack of proven pitching and hitting, but any team that doubts a winning program has already lost the battle.

The team can surprise others with its new structure. The players can mold their own identity as a starting unit.

Starting the season off against 2004 College World Series champions, Cal State Fullerton, will be a big test for the Horned Frogs.

The first opportunity to see the team’s in-game potential just so happens to come against a perennial power-house.

We will see how well this group of former role players and backups responds to a championship team, but as for the rest of the season, expect great things from those Horned Frog dirt-bags.