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College | Story | 3/8/2019

Scout Take: Houston

Brian Sakowski        
Photo: Jared Triolo (Joe Buvid/Houston Athletics)

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Houston Cougars

What Happened: Houston came into the Shriners Classic riding a pretty solid start to the season, including a very nice home series win over Arizona the weekend before. However, things never really broke right for the Cougars, and they ended up getting swept by TCU, Texas State and Texas A&M. There were some competitive games, including Friday's 10-6 loss to TCU where the Cougars made things extremely interesting in the ninth inning, but now the Cougars are looking at a 4-7 record with conference play looming. 

Carrying Tool: The middle of the order. Veterans Jared Triolo and Joe Davis form a formidable 3-4 in the Houston lineup, and while the rest of the offense is underperforming, those two are doing their best to produce runs. Triolo has an OPS of .836, and while he hasn't for a ton of power yet, he's getting on base at a high clip and walking more than he's striking out, doing a good job of allowing Davis to hit with a runner on base. Davis' batting average is down to start the year but he''s already belted four home runs and almost had a fifth on Friday night. Those two will have to continue carrying the load while the rest of the offense wakes up. 

Concerns: Pitching. The Cougars are missing 2018's 1-2 in Trey Cumbie and Aaron Fletcher as they search for any kind of stability in the pitching staff. Ryan Randel has done a solid job on Saturdays and Fred Villarreal has been lights out, but after that, Houston is scrambling a bit right now. Lael Lockhart, Jr. has the stuff to be a very good weekend starter, but needs to throw more strikes, and while Devon Roedahl has potential lock down stuff in the bullpen, his results have been inconsistent. 

Best Player on the Field: Jared Triolo. The Cougars third baseman and three-hole hitter, Triolo is doing a really nice job setting the table for Joe Davis so far in 2019, but with eyes towards the draft this June, he's going to need to start hitting for some more power. He's an athletic, good defensive third baseman to go along with very solid all around hitting tools, and he has the potential to hit himself up the draft boards this spring and potentially be a top 3-4 round selection. Joe Davis warrants mentioning here as the senior has done an excellent job hitting for power and really adding a threat to the lineup. 

Fearless Forecast: Going to depend on the conference tournament. Houston has the pieces in place to make a run at the conference, but things haven't gone right much at all in 2019. The offense, aside from Triolo and Davis, needs to step up as a whole, and the pitching staff needs to find a bit more of an identity. The Cougars should be able to hold steady within conference play, but their ultimate postseason future will likely come down to that conference tournament at the end of the year.

Player covered: Jared Triolo, Lael Lockhart, Jr., Joe Davis, Devon Roedahl.

Jared Triolo
Houston's third baseman and No. 3 hitter in the everyday lineup, Jared Triolo came into the 2019 season with a fair bit of draft hype, having had a loud 2018 season at Houston and then a very solid summer in the Cape Cod League. Triolo is off to a good, if a bit subdued start in 2019, slashing .310/.431/.405 for the Cougars, and while the production has certainly been good, scouts want to see Triolo show some more power. 

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