While I was away in Wyoming, good things actually happened for Rebel Baseball. After many of our players were taken in the draft, Logan Power, Brett Basham and Scott Bittle all have returned for their senior seasons. Never would I let myself believe that Scott Bittle wouldn't sign because I cannot let my heart be toyed with like that. However, he's coming back.
So, what does the return of these three mean for Rebel Baseball?
Logan Power's return brings back our third highest batting average from last season, incredible plate discipline, and the ability for double digit home runs (he hit two grand slams last year). He is a very smart player in the outfield, and he has a cannon for an arm.
Brett Basham's return brings back the best defensive catcher in the SEC. I've actually made the argument that Scott Bittle and Brett Basham need one another in order to succeed. I mean, who else can catch "the thing?" I'm really excited about Brett, and this means we will be very strong defensively. I can deal with his .261 average. I actually argue that his average will increase this year due to having a back up catcher. He started EVERY game last season, and his legs were gone. If you remember the 2006 season, he relieved Brashear during the midweek games, and I expect Hightower or Henson to relieve him this year.
Scott Bittle's return brings back the best pitcher in the SEC and arguably the country. Mike Bianco has told us for two years how talented Scott is, and my goodness was he right (there, I said it. He's right.). Scott lead the country in strikeouts per nine innings last season, and he essentially carried our team into the postseason. Remember his gutsy extra inning performance against Kentucky when he struck out the best batter in the SEC to send us to Hoover? Remember his performance against Vandy in the regular season and SEC tourney? Remember his 4.1 innings against Mizzou in the regional when he had twelve strikeouts and accounted for all of the outs himself? Yeah, that's what we are getting back.
I have no clue how Mike Bianco plans to use Scott, but it would be neat to use him as a closer or starter. I can see Friday night, but I can also see him doing as he was last year. More importantly, I'm glad I get to use "The Bittler" nickname for one more year.
Coming up: how I see our depth chart next season.....