College Podcast: Oklahoma's Skip Johnson On 2020, Replacing Rotation
In the newest episode of the Baseball America College Podcast, Oklahoma coach Skip Johnson joins the show to discuss the 2020 Sooners, which ended the season in the top 10, replacing his entire rotation ahead of the 2021 season and the breakout offensive stars who will look to lead the lineup into next season.
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Optimism about Oklahoma going into the 2020 season largely stemmed from a weekend rotation of righthanders Cade Cavalli and Dane Acker and lefthander Levi Prater, and through four weeks, that group had lived up to every bit of the expectations.
The trio combined to strike out 98 batters and walk 20 in 73 innings, and Acker had the highlight of the season when he no-hit Louisiana State at Minute Maid Park on March 1.
Going into the season, a lineup that had struggled down the stretch in 2019 was more of a question mark, but that group answered the bell as well with tons of help from outfielder Tanner Tredaway and third baseman Peyton Graham. The former took a big jump from his sophomore to junior season and ended 2020 hitting .378/.392/.689. The latter was a freshman who hit from the moment he stepped on campus with a .358/.457/.612 slash line to show for it.
The 2021 season will bring with it a rebuilt Sooners rotation now that Cavalli, Prater and Acker were all drafted and signed into pro baseball. There is a long time to go between now and opening day 2021, but an early name to watch for in that competition is righthander Wyatt Olds, who was in the process of being stretched out to start games in 2020 and ended the season with a 1.89 ERA in 19 innings.
Offensively, outside of catcher Brady Lindsly, who was drafted by the Nationals, Oklahoma will have the opportunity to run out largely the same lineup that had so much success in 2020.
Although completely replacing an entire weekend rotation is no easy task, if the Sooners are able to do so, they will have a chance to compete at the top of the Big 12 again in 2021.