Throughout the tenure of Gary Gilmore, Coastal Carolina has put some outstanding teams on the field in Conway, South Carolina. You certainly don’t win 800 games in one place as a head coach without some standout clubs.
So it’s not insignificant when you say that the 2016 Chanticleers have what it takes to be a vintage Gilmore team, but that’s absolutely the type of team that we could have on our hands this season.
For one, a huge percentage of their offensive production from a year ago came from guys who are back for another go ’round in 2016.
Anthony Marks (.343 BA, .421 OBP, 17 SB) is a spark plug in the truest sense of the word at the top of the order. Michael Paez (.326/.436/.526, 8 HR, 42 RBI, 19 SB) does a little bit of everything, as does Connor Owings (.270/.399/.470, 9 HR, 48 RBI, 13 SB). G.K. Young (.301/.368/.476, 9 HR, 49 RBI) is a big-time power bat who could put up even bigger numbers in 2016. Tyler Chadwick (.303/.418/.463, 5 HR, 35 RBI) and Zach Remillard (.272/.346/.419, 6 HR, 42 RBI) are two other guys who were quality contributors a year ago. Catcher David Parrett didn’t hit for a great average last season (.239), but he showed plus power in hitting ten homers.
Simply put, the Chants will boast an experienced, accomplished lineup that isn’t going to give a pitcher any breathing room.
The pitching staff is similarly talented, even if we don’t quite know who will fit where yet.
Alex Cunningham (6-0, 2.56) looks the part of a guy who can ably manage the role of a Friday night starter. He leads with a plus fastball that was a big reason he was able to strike out 59 batters in 59.2 innings a year ago, to go along with just a .215 batting average against him.
Bobby Holmes and Andrew Beckwith are two guys who have primarily been relievers, but they’ve also shown the ability to stretch out and throw starter’s innings. The former went 4-1 with a 2.90 ERA and four saves last year. The latter was 6-4 with a 3.26 ERA and two saves. Whatever roles are carved out for that pair, they’re going to be key pieces of the puzzle.
One newcomer to watch is fifth-year transfer Adam Hall. He started 12 games last year for Xavier, so he’s going to come in as a mature arm ready to step in right away. As far as freshman go, Jason Bilous has the goods to make an impact immediately thanks to his plus stuff. He was drafted in the 29th round by the Dodgers in the most recent draft, but instead chose to come to school, and Gilmore and staff are certainly glad he did.
We, somewhat conservatively, have the Chanticleers ranked 20th in our preseason top 25, but it would not be a surprise to see them ranked much higher come the end of the season.