In the second Morehead State University post in the “offseason position battle” series we will look at the vacant outfield position.
The departed — All-Ohio Valley Conference outfielder J. D. Ashbrook, a 2010 senior, led Morehead St. in batting (.432), home runs (18), runs scored (69), stolen bases (14), slugging percentage (.795) and on-base percentage (.540) in 2010. The right-handed hitter signed a free agent contract with the Chicago White Sox after not being selected in the 2010 MLB draft. Ashbrook started all but one game in center field for the Eagles last season. His .540 on-base percentage led all Kentucky division one collegians in 2010. Outfielder Cameron Flynn, a 2010 sophomore who transferred following the 2010 season, was the only other Eagle to record a start in center field last season.
Returning candidates — Morehead St. senior Daniel Pugh and junior Luke Bainer return in 2011 after making the majority of the starts in left and right field respectively in 2010…Redshirt freshman outfielder Ryan Conner slugged three home runs during the fall Blood Bowl series after sitting out the 2010 season. Morehead St. coach Jason Neal said of Conner following the fall scrimmage series: “It seems that Ryan Conner has given us a big hit every time we have needed one this whole series. His home run in the seventh [inning of game four] to answer their run in the top of the inning was huge.”…Junior utility man Andrew Deeds made two starts in left field in 2010…Sophomore outfielder Winston Brodrick appeared in 15 games for Morehead St. in 2010, going 1-8 on the season. According to Brodrick’s MSU bio he batted a ridiculous .650 with 52 stolen bases as a senior in high school…Freshman outfielder Nick Duff also redshirted during the 2010 season.
Newcomers to watch — Freshman outfielder and left-handed pitcher Duran Elmore is the only new outfielder listed on the Morehead St. roster. Elmore comes to the Eagles after excelling as the primary center fielder for Danville High School. Elmore was honored with a Kentucky High School Baseball Coaches Association’s first-team all-state selection following his senior year. As a junior Elmore batted .408 with 46 stolen bases.
Wildcard — Conner was the standout among outfield candidates during the fall Blood Bowl series, so the real wild card in this race may come if head coach Jay Sorg decides to move one of the incumbent corner outfielders (Pugh and Bainer) to center and play Conner or another returner in left or right field. At 6-6 Conner may profile better defensively in a corner outfield role than the vacant center field position.
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