Who’s gone: Two key parts of the Niners’ outfield graduated last year–speedster CF Michael Green (.265, nine doubles, 26 for 30 in stolen base attempts) and RF J.J. Elseser (.273, 38 hits, 17 RBI). Green, for one, did very well stepping into a full-time starting role in 2013 after primarily coming in as a late game replacement and pinch hitter before that. The additional time allowed him to really showcase his speed as he was the team’s leader in stolen bases. Another outfielder, Leland Clemmons, has left the team.
Who’s back: You’ll see first baseman Grant Dunnegan and catcher Nick Daddio, both of whom we profiled yesterday, get some time in the outfield as well.
Who’s new: This part will be a little longer than the first two since there are a host of new faces coming in at the position. One in particular is Des Roberts, a JUCO transfer last season who redshirted in 2013 and will have two years of eligibility remaining. Roberts had a fine season in 2012 with Garden City CC–.312, 40 RBI, 4 HR, 17 stolen bases–and gives the team an extra boost of power, situational hitting and speed on the basepaths. A trio of freshmen join the outfield: two-way Eric Eason (a teammate of righthander Matt Davis), Kenny Palmer, and Danny Raley (brother of redshirt junior catcher Patrick Raley. By the way, Danny and Patrick’s father, Tim, was a teammate of current Niner skipper Loren Hibbs at Wichita State in 1984 and later played under Hibbs while the latter was an assistant with the Shockers).