: College Preview Index
2016 Record (Ranking)
: 33-23 (NR). RPI
Coach (Record at school)
: Lindsay Meggs (202-187-1, 7 years).
: 10 regionals (active streak: 1), 0 CWS trips, 0 national titles.
Talk to opposing Pacific-12 Conference coaches about Washington, and they’ll often bring up outfielder Jack Meggs, raving about the leadership he offers, his steadiness defensively in center field and his knack for getting the big hit at the right time.
Of course, no one understands Meggs’ true value quite like Huskies head coach Lindsay Meggs—who also happens to be Jack’s father.
Having the center fielder back for his senior season is clearly a boon to the Washington cause.
“I think we’re lucky to have Jack back,” Lindsay said. “I’m looking at some of the teams that have been really successful in our league in the postseason and many of those teams get a senior back that they weren’t counting on getting back, and I think he might be that guy for us.”
But Jack isn’t the only one. Meggs can look around the diamond and take comfort in the fact that every starter from last season’s regional team has returned, with the exception of third baseman Chris Baker. In particular, Meggs loves the experience the Huskies return up the middle, anchored by his son in center field.
“I really love where we are up in the middle,” Meggs said. “I don’t think you can be in the top third of this league unless you’re strong defensively and leadership-wise up the middle. I think Joey Morgan, before it’s all over, is going to be one of the top prospects on the west coast behind the plate. And I think we’re as good as anybody in our league up the middle with (shortstop) A.J. Graffanino and (second baseman) Levi Jordan, two of the better defenders, I think, in our league.”
Meggs has seen growth, too, in each of those players. Graffanino has made the biggest jump, adding about 25 pounds of good weight to his frame, and by giving up switch-hitting—he’s focusing on hitting lefthanded—the shortstop has a chance to make more of an offensive impact.
On the pitching side, sophomore righthander Joe DeMers has made an equally impressive jump. After battling through inconsistency his freshman year, DeMers has sharpened his secondary stuff, and his fastball worked more consistently in the 91-94 mph range in the fall. Combined with junior Noah Bremer—Washington’s Friday starter each of the last two seasons—Washington should have a formidable one-two punch at the top of the rotation.
The only area where Meggs and his coaching staff is a little more uncomfortable—or at least uncertain—is the back end of the bullpen. Closer Troy Rallings was a First-Team All-American last season with a 0.91 ERA in 59.2 innings and a Pac-12-best 15 saves. His importance to last year’s squad can’t be overstated.
Freshman righthander Josh Burgmann will likely have the first crack at filling that role, and while he can’t be expected to replicate Rallings’ numbers, Meggs said he’s confident Burgmann has the makeup to handle high-leverage situations.
“For your typical freshman, that would be a big-time challenge in the Pac-12, but Josh Burgmann is not your typical freshman,” Meggs said. “He’s a real mature kid, a Team Canada guy, he’s pitched on some really big stages and has had some big moments on the mound, so I don’t think we’re worried so much about him trying to live up to what Troy did. Josh is his own guy.”
If Burgmann or some other pitcher on the roster is able to step up and solidify that role, Washington seems poised to advance to its third regional appearance in four years. But the Huskies’ are thinking even bigger. They’re hoping to go to their first-ever super regional and, with any luck, make their first trip to Omaha.
“I think the mentality is, we’ve been there now two of the last three years, and in the last three years, we have the second-best winning percentage in the Pac-12, and our expectation, if we got into a regional, would be to win it,” Meggs said. “And that’s what our guys have said. We’ve proven we can get there, and the next thing we have to prove is we can win it, and I think our guys believe we have the balance and the depth to do that.”
||Joey Morgan, Jr.
||John Naff, Sr.
||Levi Jordan, Jr,
||Willie MacIver, So.
||A.J. Graffanino, So.
||Kyle London, Sr.
||Jack Meggs, Sr.
||K.J. Brady, Jr.
||Christian Jones, Fr.
||HS—Federal Way, Wash.
||Noah Bremer, Jr.
||Joe DeMers, So.
||Jordan Jones, Fr.
||Josh Burgmann, Fr.