The turnover at Alabama baseball in recent offseasons had been from one coaching staff to the next. Now it’s the roster that has new faces.
Brad Bohannon and the Alabama baseball team opened fall practice on Friday at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. Bohannon and both full-time assistants return for their second season, but it’s not the same team from this spring.
“Half of our team are new guys,” he said.
It’s more than half the infield, which lost two seniors at first base, draft picks at third base and shortstop and another senior at second. Middle-of-the-lineup mainstay Chandler Taylor also signed a professional contract and moved on.
Much of the pitching staff is intact, though. That allows for longer scrimmages and more live action. The team had a six-inning scrimmage to close its first day of practice.
“It’s just such a different team,” Bohannon said. “We have a lot more guys on the mound who are healthy, so we’re going to be able to play a lot more. We’re older on the mound. We lost over 1,200 (career) at bats from last year’s team. So a lot of new faces, especially positionally. Young players, whether they’re new JC kids or high school kids, there’s a learning curve.”
Three relievers will start throwing later in fall as a precaution. Sophomore lefty Brock Guffey and right handers Deacon Medders and Kyle Cameron all went straight from the end of the collegiate season into summer baseball. Freshman righty Landon Green is out with Tommy John surgery and is expected to miss the 2019 season.
Otherwise, the team is healthy. Several new players stepped in right away for the first scrimmage of fall on Friday.
“I’m just really pleased to this point with the way the new kids move,” Bohannon said. “The way they’re swinging the bat, the stuff in the bullpen. Now it’s time to see if they can translate to a game setting.”
The faces that are back from the 2018 season are looking to take a step forward from spring, when Alabama finished 27-29 overall and 8-22 in conference play. The graduations and departures from last season mean that there’s still plenty of work to be done in the coming weeks.
“I know I’m more comfortable,” Bohannon said. “Everything is moving a lot slower for me. I would assume it’s that way for the kids. Half our team was here last year and they know exactly what to expect from the coaching staff and terminology and all that. We’re logistically much further ahead now than we were 12 months ago and that’s a good feeling for everybody.”
Practice is expected to end in the first week of November. Scrimmages are subject to change but open to the public at no cost. Fans can enter through Gate 3 behind home plate at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
Reach Ben Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org or 205-722-0196.
Practice schedule – Sept. 25-29
Tuesday: Practice – 2:15-3:45 p.m. | Scrimmage – 3:45 p.m. start
Thursday: Practice – 2:15-3:45 p.m. | Scrimmage – 3:45 p.m. start
Friday: Practice – 2:15-4 p.m. | Scrimmage – 4 p.m. start