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College | Story | 3/6/2019

Scout Take: Texas Christian

Brian Sakowski        
Photo: Brandon Williamson (TCU Athletics)

College Notes: March 1 | March 2 | March 3College Player Database
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Texas Christian Horned Frogs

What Happened: The Horned Frogs started off the Shriners College Classic with a bang, scoring 10 runs against Houston and coasting to a Friday win, though the ninth inning of that game made everyone a little nervous. From there, the offense went cold and TCU managed just two runs over the next two games, including a 1-0 loss to Texas A&M and a 12-2 drubbing by Rice on Sunday. Nick Lodolo was outstanding on Friday night and the combo of Brandon Williamson and Jake Eissler was very good on Saturday as well. 

Carrying Tool: Veteran arms. It doesn't seem that the offense TCU showed on Saturday and Sunday is necessarily indicative of how they'll play the rest of the way, and as a matter of fact the offense should be a strength. However, while Sunday didn't go so well, TCU's veteran arms are very talented. Nick Lodolo was as good as anyone in the country on Friday night, Brandon Williamson could be a high round draft pick and Jake Eissler is an elite strike-thrower. Jared Janczak is not quite at 100 percent with his stuff, but once he returns to full strength he'll be huge, and guys like Charles King and Cal Coughlin have thrown big innings for the Horned Frogs. There's a good amount of experience in that group, to be sure. 

Concerns: Streaky offense. As stated above, TCU's offense has a chance to be very good. There is experience top to bottom, and even the newcomers from various junior colleges all came from highly-competitive programs and have played a lot of innings against good competition. So while the offense is talented, it can't get too streaky, which is what happened in Houston. They put up 10 runs on Friday, were very nearly no-hit by Asa Lacy on Saturday and then had a severe dearth of competitive at-bats against Rice on Sunday. There is the talent necessary to score runs in bunches here, they just need to be more consistent.  

Best Player on the Field: Nick Lodolo. The Horned Frog ace and potential first rounder this June was exemplary on Friday night in front of scores of scouts, as he allowed just a single run on two hits and a walk while striking out 13 Houston hitters. The combination of present stuff, strike-throwing ability, ease of operation and projection on everything gives Lodolo pretty substantial upside, and if he can maintain that kinda stuff with that level of production with any level of consistency over the course of the season, he could be the top college pitcher taken this June. 

Fearless Forecast: Postseason club for sure, but how much beyond that? TCU, while a very solid club up and down, does have some question marks surrounding it. Can Jared Janczak bounce back and give the Horned Frogs another veteran starter for the postseason? Will the offense continue to be streaky or will it find some level of consistency? The pitching staff is relatively deep with veteran arms, but it really will need 1-2 of the young guys to step up. Will they find that? If all of those things come together this team could very easily be a Super Regional type of club, and perhaps even more. They have some time yet to figure these things out, but conference play is right around the corner. 

Player covered: Alex Isola, Josh Watson, Jake Guenther, Hunter Wolfe, Marcelo Perez, Nick Lodolo, Brandon Williamson, Jared Janczak, Jake Eissler, Porter Brown.

Alex Isola
One of several members of the TCU JUCO brigade throughout their everyday lineup, catcher Alex Isola started his career at Utah before playing 2018 at Yavapai College in Arizona. He was one of the top catchers in JUCO baseball last year, and has immediately become the starter behind the plate for the Horned Frogs, as well as a middle-of-the-order presence. He's presently second on the team in OPS with a 1.162 mark (.379/.438/.724) and leads the team in home runs with three. 

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