Twenty-one newcomers. That’s how many players will don the purple and gold today for their first game as a part of the Washington baseball team.
When the Huskies take the field against San Diego State in San Diego, Calif., at 6 p.m. for the opener of a three-game series, there will be many new faces on the diamond. As head coach Lindsay Meggs continues his cultural and philosophical shift, he’ll let the new Huskies fight for starting spots.
Meggs labeled the battle for shortstop between Ty Afenir and freshman Erik Forgione as a major competition. He also talked about Ryan Wiggins, Chase Anselment, and B.K. Santy fighting to start behind the plate. Then there’s freshmaen Branden Berry and Trevor Mitsui trying to win the first base spot. And there’s the second-base battle. And right field. And center field.
Yes, pretty much every position is up for grabs. Really, the only person who has a starting job nailed down is Jacob Lamb at third base and Joe Meggs in left field. Even that doesn’t make those spots safe, though.
“You take Branden Berry, and if he doesn’t figure into the first-base role, he can also play left field, so he’s giving Joe a good run for his money in left field,” the third-year head coach said.
Don’t get Lindsay Meggs wrong, he wants to win, but this weekend will also be about settling the dilemma of who starts and who comes off the bench. Same goes for the starting rotation, which is far from sorted out at this point.
“By the time we start Pac-12 play, at the latest, I’d like to say, ‘This is our lineup against right-handers, this is our lineup against left-handers, this is our rotation for the weekend, this is our week night starter, these are our roles coming out of the bullpen, and this is who is coming off the bench.’”
It might seem lofty, but this weekend will go a long way in helping Meggs make these tough decisions. And they are ones that have to be made, as he believes it’s critical to have set lineups to be a successful team.
Reach Sports Editor Josh Liebeskind at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @jlieb24.
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