With the return of seven-ninths of the lineup plus the Friday and Sunday starters, Virginia's 2014 baseball team was already going to be loaded.
But go ahead and add one of the best high school pitchers in the country to the squad. Sure, why not?
Connor Jones, a big-time prospect out of Great Bridge High School in Chesapeake, will honor his commitment to UVa and will attend the school rather than enter the Major League Baseball Draft, where he could have gone in the first round and collected a heavy paycheck.
“Ever since I was a little kid, I never had a specific dream for baseball, be it to play in college or play in the Major Leagues,” Jones told John Whittle of 247Sports in this article where the commitment was first reported. “The only goal I set for myself was to try to become the best baseball player I could possibly be and not waste any talent. I feel this path will help me fulfill that dream the best.”
Jones, a right-hander who routinely throws 93-94 mph and has topped out at 96, is the No. 26 player in the nation according to Perfect Game. To this point in his high school season, he's 8-0 and has yet to allow an earned run in 43 innings. The 6-foot-3 fire-baller has recorded 62 strikeouts.
I talked to Jones on Thursday night and he will be attending Virginia's Saturday and Sunday games against Duke.
I'll have a story in the coming days, but, for now, let's take a peek at the 2014 Wahoos.
They'll be scary good.
Key position players returning: SS Branden Cogswell (.346, 63 hits, 12 SBs); 3B Nick Howard (.331, 29 RBI); LF Derek Fisher (.313, 6 HRs, 39 RBI); CF Brandon Downes (.316, 7 HRs, 46 RBI); RF/DH Mike Papi (.389, 5 HRs, 38 RBI); RF/DH Joe McCarthy (.311, 3 HRs, 37 RBI); C Nate Irving (.248, 22 RBI, 10 SHs); 3B/DH Kenny Towns (.265, 5 HRs, 30 RBI).
Key pitchers returning: LHP Brandon Waddell (4-1, 3.98 ERA, 63 K's); RHP Nick Howard (5-4, 3.18 ERA, 47 K's); LHP Kyle Crockett* (3-0, 0.93 ERA, 47 K's, 10 saves); RHP Austin Young* (5-0, 0.96 ERA, 29 K's); LHP David Rosenbeger (1-0, 0.96 ERA, 14 K's); RHP Whit Mayberry* (3-0, 1.31 ERA, 31 K's); RHP Josh Sborz (3-0, 1.86 ERA, 38 K's); RHP Trey Oest (5-0, 4.84 ERA, 24 K's); LHP Nathan Kirby (3-1, 6.11 ERA, 35 K's); RHP Artie Lewicki.
*could leave with Draft
And then add Jones and the potential of other talented incomers such as Alec Bettinger and Jack Roberts.