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College | Story | 3/13/2019

Scout Take: Texas State

Brian Sakowski        
Photo: Jaxon Williams (Juan DeLeon)

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Texas State Bobcats

What Happened: The Bobcats had a very good weekend at the Shriners Classic, coming within one run of sweeping the weekend. They beat Rice 1-0 on Friday, took down Houston 9-4 on Saturday and then came up just shy in a 5-4 loss to Baylor on Sunday. They got, for the most part, very solid pitching, led by Nicholas Fraze on Friday, and the veterans in their lineup were excellent. 

Carrying Tool: The veterans in the lineup. Texas State's offense is solid as a whole, with a team OPS of .778, but it's the trio of Jaylen Hubbard, Jaxon Williams and Will Hollis in the middle of the lineup that really make up the core of the club. Williams is doing an excellent job of getting on base ahead of the thumpers, as each Hubbard and Hollis have OPS's of around 1.100. Hubbard is in his fifth year and Hollis his fourth, and while Williams is a JUCO transfer in his first year with Texas State, he played a lot of high-end baseball at Howard College and came in prepared. Those veterans make the offense go. 

Concerns: The starting rotation depth. Nicholas Fraze was unbelievable in Houston against Rice, striking out 12 over seven shutout innings, but he's been pedestrian in his other starts. Fellow rotation member Hunter McMahon has been solid but not spectacular, though Connor Reich has been excellent consistently this year. The bullpen has been pretty solid, but the Bobcats could get into trouble if their rotation doesn't find consistency throughout the weekend and the bullpen is forced to be worn down throughout the season. 

Best Player on the Field: Jaylen Hubbard. Nicholas Fraze was exemplary on Friday night, as detailed above, but Hubbard was excellent all weekend both offensively and defensively, where he played a lockdown third base. A fifth-year senior, Hubbard is quite the veteran, and he's certainly come into his own as an all-around force as well as team leader. He's leading the team in quite a few offensive categories and is doing it all, hitting for average, hitting for power, walking more than he's striking out and playing the aforementioned very quality defense at third base. 

Fearless Forecast: Should compete for the Sun Belt championship. Texas State looks like a quality all-around club at this juncture, with a good bullpen, flashes of an excellent rotation and a veteran-laden core of offensive players. The three hitters mentioned above – Hubbard, Hollis, and Williams – will need to continue carrying the offense, and if they can get that rotation figured out a bit more, they should absolutely compete for the conference title and a spot at a regional berth. 

Player covered: Jaxon Williams, Jaylen Hubbard, Connor Reich, Nicholas Fraze, Hunter McMahon, Zachary Leigh.

Jaxon Williams
A very solid prospect a year ago at Howard College, a perennial JUCO powerhouse in West Texas, Williams was expected to be immediately impactful upon his arrival on campus and he's lived up to the expectations. He's slashing .339/.446/.419 for the Bobcats so far, doing an excellent job of setting the table high in the order and allowing the middle of the order to hit with runners on base frequently. 

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