On this episode of the College Baseball Central Podcast, Joe Healy talks Arizona Wildcats baseball with Michael Lev of the Arizona Daily Star.
The first two years under head coach Jay Johnson have been a rousing success for Arizona. In his first season at the helm, 2016, his Wildcats came one win short of a national title before falling to Coastal Carolina. Then, in 2017, his team came back and not only got back into a regional once again but also put a fresh crop of players into pro baseball, most notably J.J. Matijevic, who went in the second round to the Houston Astros.
The successes go beyond wins and losses, however. He and his staff have also proved quite effective at getting the most out of their players. Many of the players he inherited on the roster went on to enjoy career years in 2016 or 2017. Heading into 2018, armed with a brand-new extension from the university, he’ll welcome back a roster that features several returning contributors, but he’ll also be tasked with filling a few holes left by players like Matijevic, who are now in the professional ranks.
Among the topics discussed on this episode are:
- Why Johnson has been such a good fit in Tucson
- He and his staff’s ability to develop talent
- His recent contract extension, the likes of which aren’t all that commonplace in college baseball
- The roster heading into 2018
- Position battles to watch during fall practice
- Expectations for the program, particularly in light of the wild successes early in Johnson’s tenure
Thanks for listening, everyone!