Although the upcoming baseball season is slated to start on February 13th of 2015, the Oklahoma Sooners took to the diamond with a fair share of newcomers on October 6th. The list of incoming players includes seven transfers and seven freshmen. Ironically, when dividing those player by position there remains seven pitchers and seven fielders.
Keaton Hernandez | RHP| Weatherford Junior College - Although the righty may not have appeared on the diamond during his high school years, Hernandez proved to be a competitor on the football field. With his arm, Hernandez garnered DII Christian Schools National Quarterback of the year honors at Desert Chapel (CA). However, the former quarterback felt as though his future lay in pitching. As a freshman at Northeastern Oklahoma, Hernandez was tabbed as a NJCAA Second-Team All-American before moving to WJC. During the 2014 season at Weatherford, the pitcher appeared in 11 games while recording 3 wins after a 5.47 ERA and 54 strikeouts.
Thomas McIlraith | RHP | Midland College - Earning 11 starts in 13 appearances, McIlraith recorded 7 wins during the course of the previous season. Through 70.2 innings, the kid looked to be a strikeout machine sitting down 81 batters from the mound. Currently, McIlraith holds Midland career records for the number of innings pitched (144.1), number of strikeouts (149), and number of appearances (36).
Blake Rogers | RHP | Cisco College - Of all the incoming pitchers, Rogers may be the least groomed after a single year of experience. Beforehand, Rogers played the part of a hitter with a .350 batting average as a freshman. Now, from the mound, the kid has thrown for 52.2 innings in 12 appearances recording 41 strikeouts
Shawn Hunter | LHP | Seminole State College - An Oklahoma native, Hunter saw multiple stops before arriving at Seminole State. On the Junior College circuit, Hunter received 13 starts on 15 appearances last season while posting an 8-3 record. The kid can consistently hurl the ball across the plate as he struck out 100 batters in 85 innings of play boasting a 3.39 ERA.
Brock Barger | RHP | San Angelo Central High School - At 6-7, Barger quickly became a force to be reckoned with on the high school level. A three time All-District selection, the pitcher regularly hits 89-90 mph on the radar while giving up a single loss during his varsity career. The past summer, Barger walked away with an astounding 0.00 ERA in 21 innings of select ball.
Kenny Saenz | LHP | Moody High School - Standing at 5-8, Saenz lacks the typical size of a Division I pitcher. However, the lefty earned All-State honors three times in the state of Texas by consistently throwing an array of strikes. With excellent control over multiple pitches and the ability to throw deep into a game, Saenz may be the diamond in the rough.
Troy Chezem | LHP | Allen High School - According to MaxPreps, Chezem had a productive sophomore and junior season (senior season stats unavailable). Pitching 120.1 innings, the southpaw racked up 130 strikeouts with a 2.56 ERA.
Chris Shaw | C | Midland College - At the close of the past two seasons, Shaw heard his name called in the MLB First-Year Player Draft. In the most recent MBL Draft, Shaw was selected in the 14th round by the St. Louis Cardinals. During his two season at Midland, the catcher hit an impressive .390 and added 127 RBIs and 25 homeruns.
Jacob Leal | C | Howard College - Leal put together a solid high school career before landing at Howard College. Throughout his freshman year, Leal appeared in just five games with 12 at bats recording two RBIs and two runs.
Chandler Wagoner | C | Great Oaks High School - With a stellar resume as an incoming freshman, Wagoner was listed on the Los Angeles Times top five catchers to watch. By the close of his senior season, Wagoner had done enough to hear his name called in the 36th round of the MLB Draft by the Chicago White Sox.
Alex Wise | INF/OF | Northeastern Oklahoma - A former Division I basketball recruit and McDonald's All-American Nominee, the JUCO transfer may be the most athletic player on the roster. Named to the All-OCAC Team in consecutive seasons, Wise proved his value as a middle infielder (2013 First-Team Infielder) as well as an outfielder (2014 Second-Team Outfielder). Throughout his career at NEO, this kid compiled a .367 batting average to go along with 53 stolen bases.
Kyle Mendenhall | INF | Carlsbad High School - A member of the USA Baseball NTIS SoCal Team, Mendenhall lettered four times at Carlsbad in California. Over the four seasons, Mendenhall recorded 107 hits including a single season record of 38 hits.
Quin Walbergh | INF | Edmond Santa Fe - As a senior, Walbergh found a rhythm on the field. His play earned him the Ferguson Jenkins award, an honor handed out to the top baseball and softball players and coaches in the state of Oklahoma. Following the recognition, Walbergh found himself in the All-State game.
Cameron Frazier | INF/OF | Fairview High School - Playing four years of varsity baseball, Frazier earned All-Region honors twice to go along side his two All-State selections in Colorado. Through the course of his senior season, Frazier hit .500 with 31 runs giving him the label of Team MVP.
If you've got some free time and want to see the Sooners in action, make sure to find your way to Norman for an open practice.
CORRECTION: This week's open practice schedule: Monday-Wednesday 3:00 pm Friday 3:00 pm Saturday-Sunday 10:00 am pic.twitter.com/PrkRUvR8Gj— Oklahoma Baseball (@OU_Baseball) October 20, 2014