2012 Baseball Preview: Outfielders
Feb. 13, 2012
Maryland opens the 2012 season this Friday at No. 14 UCLA. In the final installment of this year's season preview, we take a look at the outfielders. For the first installment, which previewed the pitchers and catchers, click here. For part two, which previewed the infielders, click here.
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - At the beginning of the 2011 season, Maryland was faced with the daunting task of integrating 22 new players into the program.
There were new faces seemingly everywhere, with eight newcomers drawing starts in the opening weekend alone. By the end of the season, first-year players had drawn 369 of 504 total starts - more than 73 percent.
The presence of youth was perhaps most evident in the outfield, where three newcomers drew the majority of the starts: Korey Wacker in center field, Charlie White in right field and Michael Montville in left. Then-sophomore Jordan Hagel was the lone returnee who received a substantial amount of playing time.
Now with a year under their belts, that group of three, along with Hagel, has the outfield unit poised to capitalize on their potential.
White is coming off a stellar freshman season in which he led the team in hitting with a .304 average, and will take over as the starter in center field. With a combination of speed and plate presence, White will bat leadoff.
The sophomore assumed that position much of last season as well and also led the team with a .396 on-base percentage. Once on, the Naperville, Ill., native stole 17 bases on 18 attempts.
"Charlie is going to have quality at-bats, he's going to make all the plays and the great plays, said head coach Erik Bakich. "He's going to steal bases and be a catalyst for the offense."
Though he missed more than a month early last season after breaking his hand, Montville showed the potential to be an offensive force in the Maryland lineup. Despite getting just 95 at-bats all season, Montville had four home runs - including two in a series at No. 18 North Carolina in May - and finished with 15 RBIs.
Montville, who had a decorated prep career, twice receiving first team all-state honors and the New Hampshire Gatorade Player of the Year award at Portsmouth High School, will hit cleanup for the Terps in 2012. Along with fellow sophomore Tim Kiene, who will hit third, Bakich believes he has two strong bats to solidify the middle of the lineup.
"Montville and Kiene will be our two big power threats," Bakich said.
In right field, Wacker and Hagel are in competition for the starting spot. Both bring speed and a veteran presence to the lineup. A senior, Wacker stole 14 bases last season, while Hagel, a sophomore, was 5 for 5.
Hagel played in 32 games as a sophomore and was effective in somewhat limited time at the plate, recording 13 hits in 35 at-bats (.371). Wacker, who was Maryland's closer last year and will again have an important role on the mound, started 53 games in center and gives Maryland a strong arm in the outfield. He had 14 assists a year ago, tops among Terrapin outfielders, while hitting .250 with 21 RBIs.
A pair of freshmen could also work their way into the rotation. Matt Bosse, a 6-foot-6 power hitter from Calvert Hall in Baltimore, owns the school record for career home runs. Redshirt freshman Greg Olenski, meanwhile, moved from catcher to the outfield and has shown promise in spring practice. Both have the potential to earn at-bats off the bench.