Cowboy Baseball Preparing for 2020 Season
STILLWATER -- We're a little more than two weeks away from the start of the 2020 season and a rather new-look Cowboy team and coaching staff is gearing up for a Valentine's Day start against Grand Canyon on the road in Arizona.
There have been, and will be some big-time changes to the program this season. First and foremost will be the opening of the brand new state-of-the-art O'Brate Stadium. It will be the crown jewel of college baseball, and some would argue will be better than a good portion of Minor League stadiums as well.
“Everything; there’s nothing about [O’Brate] Stadium that’s not exciting,” said head coach Josh Holliday. “I think the thing’s that exciting is the challenge of getting ready to play. Getting the chance to play a few more games at Allie P., diving into some really tough road games early in the season. Then the excitement of transitioning over [to O’Brate] will be healthy for us, exciting and all the different things. I’ve never been a part of something new like this, so that’ll be fascinating to see how it plays out. But it’s all good; everything about it is a positive thing, it’s all part of the excitement and growth and part of this season and things we’ll just do a great job of dealing with as a team.”
The stadium is set to open Friday, March 20 for the start of Big 12 play against TCU and coach Holliday said that the move from Allie P. to O'Brate will be a quick one and will more likely than not take place throughout that week.
Head coach Josh Holliday has added three new members of the coaching staff, all three with ties back to the program. 'New' assistant Marty Lees, volunteer assistant and hitting guru Matt Holliday and former Major League player, manager and Oklahoma State great Robin Ventura.
“They both have a great life experience inside of the game at so many different levels and have both played it at a high level that they have tremendous credibility with the kids when it comes to the cool conversations that I’ve already heard occur between them where they’re just sitting there on the bench talking baseball or telling a funny story or just kind of mentoring them through – we have some guys that take this really seriously, and those guys have this perfect ability from time to time to lighten the mood or put their arm around a guy,” said coach Holliday about the additions of Matt Holliday and Robin Ventura to the coaching staff. “So, they just have a lot of really strong personal experiences that they draw upon. They look at these guys and see 18, 19, 20-year-old versions of themselves and can just pass on a really good vibe to the kids. They’re good men and just have a good vibe about them.”
They'll also be without some big-time players from last year's NCAA Super Regional team; guys that have been a part of, and leaders of the program for the past three to five years. Guys like Colin Simpson, Trevor Boone, Joe Lienhard and Jensen Elliott.
“We did lose some really fine players in the middle of the field last year,” said coach Holliday. “Trevor [Boone] had a phenomenal year in center field, obviously Colin [Simpson] and Bryce [Carter] were really, really good behind the plate and [Andrew] Navigato played well at shortstop. Definitely some familiar faces that played well that either graduated or moved on. I like the kids that we have in the mix for those positions; Noah Sifrit had a great fall, he’s definitely in the mix to play some center field. Caeden Trenkle is a freshman, had a tremendous fall and is definitely in the mix to play some center field. As I said with Hueston [Morrill], he can slide over to shortstop, he has that ability. Dylan Gardner had a good fall, Kaden Polcovich had an outstanding fall, those two kids could definitely play second base. Kaden could also slide to third. Jake Thompson had a really good fall, he’s definitely in the mix at third base. We’ve been pretty lucky, Colin caught the vast majority of the innings the last three years, Bryce Carter came in last year and did a great job of pairing up with him, so we’ll be new behind the plate for sure, but we’ve got some kids that can definitely do it. Brock Mathis, Josh Spiegel and Max Hewitt’s spending a lot of time behind home plate right now. I’ve been really impressed with what [Hewitt’s] done back there. Some new faces for sure, but the kids are making great strides.”
Two names that we'll see take a bigger role for the Pokes will be seniors Carson McCusker and Cade Cabbiness.
“Those two guys are incredibly consistent,” coach Holliday said of Carson McCusker and Cade Cabbiness. “First of all, they’re wonderful kids, they’re great students, they’re strong, very disciplined, they live a good life, they show up every day totally energized and ready to go. They are all the good things you want to see in a young man and student-athlete at this level. From there, when they put their uniform on, they work at their craft, they’re both improved from a year ago, they’re both a great example for the other guys. Both of them, yesterday, took great batting practice. They really show confidence and clarity in what they’re working on right now. So, all strong markers of guys that are continuing to take what they’ve learned in previous seasons and build on it. I like everything I see out of those two kids.”
The Cowboys also return talented pitchers in Ben Leeper, Parker Scott and Brett Standlee.
Here's a look at the current roster. It gives us a chance to see where everyone's from and what numbers and positions everyone is.
You can also check out the schedule in the entirety here.