There are 15 new faces for the Crimson Tide this year, made up of three junior college transfers, nine freshmen, two redshirt freshmen and one transfer that has to sit out the season. The three JUCO players all figure to see considerable playing times, led by the big bat of first baseman-DH Hunter Alexander. Alexander will provide a much needed power bat. Kyle Kaufman will be the opening day starting catcher and Garrett Suchey, a right handed pitcher, will be called on both out of the bullpen as well as a starter.
A trio of left handed pitchers highlight the freshman class, and all three will provide depth to the bullpen. Nathan Altstadt is a lanky 6’6” lefty with a good breaking ball. Sonny Potter is 6’2” and 230 pounds, and also known for his off-speed offerings. The third southpaw is 6’4” Garret Rukes. The lone right handed pitching freshman is Tuscaloosa native Deacon Medders, who at 6’3” can also play anywhere in the infield.
Freshman position players who have been battling for playing time are infielder John Trousdale, third baseman Camden Bauer and outfielder Logan Carey. Trousdale, at this point, appears to be the back-up to Chandler Avant at shortstop, Cobie Vance at second base, and Connor Short at third base. Carey was in the mix to get playing time in leftfield or centerfield but suffered a knee injury to his ACL, that is being evaluated as to its seriousness at this time. Walker McCleney, the brother of Tide softball legend Haylie, may have worked his way into a position to help in the outfield. Freshman catcher Will Lumpkin suffered a broken finger and will miss up to six weeks, most likely leading to a redshirt year.
Redshirt freshman Davis Vainer, with his 93-95 mph fastball has the privilege of following all-time save leader Thomas Burrows as the closer. Vainer has the arm for the job, and hopefully will fill in flawlessly.
The two redshirt freshman position players, OF Connor Wright and C Alex Webb will battle for playing time at their respective positions. The transfer, hard hitting OF Connor Stutts, came in from Notre Dame, but by NCAA rule must sit out this season. A switch hitting power bat, Stutts would be a welcome addition to this year’s squad if he were eligible.