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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Five breakout candidates for the 2024 Texas State baseball season

Texas+State+Baseball+Team+celebrates+sophomore+infielder+Ryder+Hernandezs+%2814%29+homerun+hit%2C+Tuesday%2C+May+3%2C+2023%2C+at+Bobcat+Stadium.
Carly Earnest
The Texas State baseball team celebrates sophomore infielder Ryder Hernandez’s (14) homerun, Tuesday, May 3, 2023, at Bobcat Stadium.

As the 2024 baseball season approaches, a question arises:

‘Who can step up this year and take advantage of vacant spots?’

The Bobcats will have to replace production from former outfielder Jose Gonzalez, former ace right-hand pitcher Levi Wells, who was drafted in the fourth round by the Baltimore Orioles last year and other departed seniors who contributed to the 2023 squad.

Here are five players who could fill these voids and have breakout seasons for Texas State.

 

Junior infielder Daylan Pena

If this list had been made before last season, Pena would still have been on it. Pena had a tremendous freshman season. Playing in 56 games with 54 starts, he recorded a batting average of .270 while hitting seven home runs and accounting for 44 RBI. Despite his productive first season at Texas State, Pena’s sophomore season was a bit underwhelming as he hit just .245 with 40 RBI, both down from the previous season. This year, Pena could have a breakout junior campaign and make the big jump expected of him.

 

Senior left-handed pitcher Jack Stroud

Stroud is an interesting candidate for a breakout season as many wonder what his role will be. Stroud, a reliable reliever option last year with four saves and 67 strikeouts in 48 innings of work, could see his role shift and get some starting appearances. Stroud, who only had one start last season, will likely see more starting pitching opportunities early and could work his way up into the rotation with Wells gone.

 

Senior outfielder Cade Manning

Manning is a player that fans should be following for the next season. He already saw his role increase significantly from his sophomore season when he only played in nine games and posted a .071 average, to his junior season which saw him start in 51 games, increase his batting average to .251 and score 39 runs. If Manning continues this rise in his senior campaign, he will be a prime candidate for a breakout season.

 

Senior right-handed pitcher Drayton Brown

Brown will get his first taste of Bobcat baseball this spring after transferring from Northwestern State, where he started in 15 games. He went 6-6 at his former school and posted an earned run average (ERA) of 5.64. While those numbers don’t stand out, Brown has shown flashes of reliability, posting three consecutive starts with at least six strikeouts against Eastern Kentucky, Stephen F. Austin and UT Arlington during the 2023 season. With the Friday and Saturday spots most likely taken, the Sunday spot is up for grabs. Brown may be the one to watch to take that role early.

 

Freshman infielder Ethan Farris

This may be the most unlikely player on the list, but with Texas State’s history of successful freshman seasons like sophomore infielder Chase Mora’s last year, it has to be mentioned. While Farris may be a freshman, he’s the size of an upperclassman, standing 6 feet 5 inches and weighing 215 pounds. Farris was drafted in the 18th round by the Detroit Tigers in the 2023 MLB Draft but decided to join the Bobcats instead. Farris is ranked the fifth-best third baseman in Texas high school baseball according to PerfectGame. If Farris does get to play this season, he will have to take advantage of his opportunities.

For more information on Texas State baseball’s roster and schedule, visit txst.com.

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