The Texas Longhorns fell one game short of winning the 2009 College World Series, losing to Louisiana State, 11-4, yet they weren’t even the most heralded college team in the state a year ago.
That honor went to Howard College, which almost ran the table in the junior-college ranks, going an incredible 61-1 on its way to winning the Junior College World Series. The Hawks won their first 57 games.
The focus of our 2010 state-by-state college preview today is on players from Texas, and both those teams look well-positioned to reach the same level of success in 2010, although no one is realistically expecting Howard to lose only a single game again, an unprecedented achievement.
The legendary Augie Garrido took the Longhorns to their sixth CWS of the 2000’s last year and added 50 more wins to his all-time record for victories by a coach, which now stands at 1,718. More than ever, he will count on a pitching staff that is so deep and talented that no college team in the country can realistically come close to matching. Returning pitchers went a combined 43-15 in 2009 for Texas.
Right-handers Brandon Workman, Chance Ruffin and Cole Green are projected early-round picks in this year’s draft, while right-hander Taylor Jungmann and Austin Dicharry and lefthander Sam Stafford are potential early-rounders in 2011.
In recent years under head coach Britt Smith, Howard has gone from being an offensive powerhouse to a pitching-dominated team. That shouldn’t change much in 2010 as right-handers Burch Smith and Damien Magnifico rank as the top two JC pitching prospects in the state. Smith has been clocked in the mid-90s while Magnifico is an unsigned fifth-rounder from last year’s draft.
The state of Texas won’t be ignored on the high-school front, either, in this year’s draft. Right-hander Jameson Taillon of The Woodlands High in suburban Houston is regarded as the top prep prospect in the country. There is even early speculation that he could be a candidate for the top overall pick in the 2010 draft, an honor that no high-school right-hander has ever achieved.
On the topic of first overall pick, the 2011 draft should be a very interesting one for Texas. Three college players should be on the very short list of candidates: Jungmann, slugging Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon and Texas Christian lefthander Matthew Purke, an unsigned first-rounder of the Texas Rangers in 2009 who will be a draft-eligible sophomore in 2011.
With that as a backdrop, here’s an overview of how we see the talent stacking up in the college ranks in Texas in 2010.
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