PRESS BOX: VCU fans should be excited for the future of Ram’s Baseball

Former VCU redshirt sophomore and recent MLB draftee Tyler Locklear runs towards first base after batting in a game against the University of Virginia on April 19. Photo by Alessandro Latour

Thailon Wilson, Contributing Writer

VCU’s home run hitter, former redshirt sophomore, Tyler Locklear was drafted to MLB team the Seattle Mariners in the second round of the Draft. 

Last year, Locklear had a record-breaking season where he put up 20 home runs and 78 RBIs, or runs batted in, according to VCU Athletics.

Five players also transferred to different schools after tenured head coach Shawn Stiffler took the job at Notre Dame University. Redshirt sophomore pitcher Jack Masloff also joined Locklear in the MLB after signing with the Detroit Tigers. 

After Stiffler took the job as the new head coach of the Fighting Irish, the black and gold hired longtime Clemson assistant coach Bradley LeCroy.

Locklear was a major contributor to the Rams winning back-to-back Atlantic 10 championships that were won during his tenure. 

Black and gold fans should not be worried about the hole that is left behind by Locklear’s absence.

Rams have brought in three top No. 100 Virginia recruits, according to baseball recruiting website, Perfect Game. Perfect Game is a baseball recruiting website that ranks different recruits, according to their website. Those recruits are Ethan Serrano, Ethan Brooks and Benjamin “Macho” Santiago. 

Brooks is a capable hitter and defender who has a decent hitting speed and power, according to recruiting website Prep Baseball Report, or PBR.

Richmond Scouting Coordinator Jason Burton labeled Brooks as one of the best middle infielders in the Mid-Atlantic after his performance at the PBR showcase.

Where Brooks stands out the most is his defensive ability. He is one of the best middle infielders in the Mid-Atlantic regardless of class,” Burton stated. 

At the PBR showcase, Serrano showed extensive offensive and defensive capabilities with an 85 mph infield throwing speed and a strong hitting average. 

Serrano and Brooks will fill the role of the players we lost in the infield to the MLB and transfer portal, but the Rams have also added to their outfielder numbers with top No. 500 national recruit freshman outfielder Aden Hill. 

Hill is an athletic outfielder and a decent defender who can knock it out of the park when given the chance.

Along with these capable freshmen, the veteran Rams players knocked another year of experience under their belt and showed great promise to continue working towards a third consecutive A-10 championship. 

Players like junior infielder Will Carlone, junior outfielder Cooper Benzin, graduate catcher Jacob Selden and senior outfielder AJ Mathis were key contributors to last year’s championship, as well as the deep push to the NCAA regional championship.

Carlone was a designated hitter who seemed to hit a home run at the exact right moment and was crucial in making up for the home run loss by Locklear’s departure. 

Mathis is an athletic runner and contact hitter who somehow seems to get on base most of the time prepared to be a RBI counterpart for a big power hitter.

Benzin is a hitter in his own right, as well as a capable outfielder who caught many outs in fashion to finish innings. 

Selden is a strong presence for VCU who partners up with pitchers well, throws fast and hits hard. His experience will be great for incoming freshmen and for the team as a whole.

VCU fans will miss hearing Locklear hit home runs at The Diamond Stadium. However, they should look forward to what is to come with the amount of talent that is coming to this team.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply