On the heels of Monday’s preview of the infielders and catchers, today head coach Woody Hunt explores the possibilities and capabilities of the outfielders as Cumberland readies for its season-opening weekend this Friday and Saturday at Reinhardt University:
Cumberland enters the 2018 season with senior Rayden Sierra as the only returning everyday outfielder. The Dominican Republic native started 18 games in either center or rightfield in the final weeks of the 2017 campaign.
Sierra batted .360 with 15 doubles, 13 home runs, 50 RBIs and 51 runs scored in 54 contests last season. He ranked third in the Mid-South Conference in batting, second in slugging (.660) and home runs, third in RBIs and fifth in doubles.
“I think [Rayden] can be as good as anybody in the country. He has pro potential in my opinion,” Hunt said. “He’s fast, has a good arm and can really swing the bat.
“Rayden’s got really good straight-away power, right-centerfield power. When he hits the ball on the nose, he can hit it out of any ballpark in the country. He’s that strong. We’re building a lot of things around him in our lineup. If he has a big year, we could have a good year.”
Junior Peyton Wheatley played the last two seasons at Cosumnes River College in California, posting 17 RBIs and 16 runs scored in 35 games last season. He drove in 18 runs with 25 walks and 20 runs scored as a freshman for the Hawks.
“[Peyton will] play a lot of baseball for us, either as a defensive replacement or he’ll start a lot of games. I think he’s a key for us overall in everything we do on the field.”
Junior Kyle Blackwell will also battle for playing time in the outfield this season. The Waterdown, Ontario, native batted .304 with five home runs, 19 RBIs and 23 runs scored last year at Crowder College in Missouri.
Coach Hunt also talked about the possibilities of Mykel Gordon and Jared Schmidt, infielders by trade, seeing time in the outfield based on their offensive abilities. Those comments and more may be found here from Monday’s preview of the infielders and catchers.