The 2015 season did not go as planned for the Oklahoma Sooners. The team was loaded with talent, but they never quite put it all together to make the run that they needed to in order to sew up a spot in the postseason. They finished 34-27 overall, and with an RPI of 77, they weren’t even really in the at-large discussion when it was all said and done.
Along the way, there were a number of fits and starts. They lost two games to Notre Dame on the opening weekend of the season in what turned out to be great opportunities for RPI-boosting wins. They dropped two of three games in late-March to a Baylor team that wasn’t all that competitive for much of the Big 12 season.
Then, the final nails in the coffin came beginning in late-April when the Sooners dropped two of three to Sam Houston State at home, lost two out of three to rival Oklahoma State, and then were swept by TCU, with all of those series coming in three of the last four weekends of the regular season.
Once the season was over, OU led all programs in number of players drafted, with 11, and they all signed.
Generally, with that sort of attrition from one season to another, a huge rebuilding effort is expected, but that’s not really the case this time around. Sure, they’ve got some holes to fill, but the Sooners actually return quite a bit of talent, in addition to welcoming in a group of talented freshmen, and they should be interesting to follow in 2016.
It starts, of course, with staff ace Alec Hansen, who we’ve covered on the site before, but he’s far from alone on the roster.
Jake Elliott (4-6, 3.06), Baseball America’s 69th-ranked prospect in the nation, is a quality arm behind Hansen in the rotation, and Sheldon Neuse, the 82nd-ranked prospect according to Baseball America, is a dynamic two-way talent capable of being a star either at the plate or on the mound. With a .275 batting average, six home runs, and 43 RBI, he’s far and away the most accomplished hitter the Sooners return, and he will be leaned on to provide punch in the middle of the order.
As far as incoming freshmen go, five recruits are ranked in Perfect Game’s list of top 350 incoming freshmen, led by potential two-way contributor Chris Andritsos, catcher Domenic DeRenzo, and a pair of power arms in Ryan Madden and Jake Irvin.
Whether or not Oklahoma is able to bounce back and get back into a regional in 2016 remains to be seen, but they’ve got far too much talent on the roster to write them completely off before the season even begins.