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Baseball Preview: Mizzou hosts Texas Southern

Mizzou is riding a 4-game win streak, will they keep it going?

via Twitter / @MizzouBaseball

There’s an optimism around Mizzou baseball that hasn’t been there in a couple of years. The Tigers thumped Lindenwood 17-2 in the midweek to stretch their winning streak to four, and they’ll be looking to keep the good vibes going as Texas Southern comes to CoMo for a three-game set this weekend.

Before we jump into what to expect from Texas Southern this weekend, I just want to throw in a disclaimer that there’s not a ton of coverage of their baseball program, but I’ll try and give the rundown of some key names to watch out for as best I can. Now without further ado, let’s talk about the visiting Tigers.

DH/1B Gabe Vasquez is most likely the name atop Mizzou’s scouting report of Texas Southern. Vasquez was an absolute menace at the plate last year for Texas Southern, slashing .353/.472/.660. He added 28 XBH including 7 HR and a 157 wRC+.

Not only does Vasquez knock the cover off the ball, but he’s an incredibly patient and disciplined hitter. Last year he struck out just 25 times and drew 33 walks. Seeing numbers like that, it’s clear this guy knows the strike zone and will be a tough out for Missouri all weekend.

Coming into 2023, D1Baseball ranked Vasquez the No. 13 draft prospect in the SWAC. So far this year, Vasquez is slashing .250/.500/.625 with 1 HR and 4 BB in 12 PA against D1 competition (I say that because half of Texas Southern’s games have come against non-D1 opponents).

Another Texas Southern bat who figures to be a tough-out for Missouri pitching is 3B CJ Castillo. After playing 2B last season, Castillo has shifted to the hot corner, but that hasn’t impacted his hitting one bit. Slashing .357/.550/.357 with 5 RBI to start the season, Castillo has kept his 2022 form which saw him produce a 132 wRC+ and slash .311/.470/.467.

Castillo doesn’t hit for a ton of power, hitting just 1 HR last season, but he makes up for with his ability to gap-to-gap. In 2022, he had 14 XBH with just one coming by way of the long ball. In the same mold of Vasquez, Castillo also knows how to work an at-bat. In 2022, he walked 36 times and struck out just 20 times. If you include his HBPs, Castillo got on-base via a “free-pass” almost twice as often as he struckout which is mind mindbogglingly good.

The final player in the Texas Southern lineup I want to highlight is OF Daalen Adderly. Currently, Adderly may be the hottest hitter in the Tigers’ lineup. He’s slashing .429/.538/.619 with 1 HR. He leads the team in plate appearances and has taken almost every opportunity he’s been given. Adderly started the season leading off for Texas Southern, but recently he’s moved into the cleanup spot which is surely an attempt to get him more opportunities to drive-in more runs.

Here’s you can see what some of the other Texas Southern bats have done this season:

On the mound, it’s pretty unclear who Texas Southern is going to run out there. They’ve had a variety of guys start games, so I’m just going to highlight a handful of arms who’ve seen the most innings this season.

We’ll start with Kobe Head. A 6’0 200 lb RHP, Head is off to a hot start this year and hasn’t allowed an earned run in 6.2 innings. He’s also demonstrated good control with 8 strikeouts to just one walk. He’s appeared twice for Texas Southern, once as a reliever and once as a starter. He could feature in either role this weekend, but I feel confident in saying, at one point or another Head will toe the rubber at Taylor Stadium.

The next name to look out for is Abraham Deleon. Against D1 opponents, Deleon has a 5.14 ERA in 7 innings, but he also threw 5 shutout innings and struck out 10 batters against Randall University. Most recently he threw a scoreless inning in Texas Southern’s midweek game against Houston. Last year he played at UTSA but only threw 9.2 innings.

via / Travis Pendergrass

Josh Fluet is another arm Texas Southern could lean on this weekend. His lone appearance against a D1 team came against Mississippi Valley State and he threw 4.1 innings of 1-run ball and struck out five. He also threw 6 shutout innings against Arlington Baptist in his only start of the season. In that outing, he struck out 7 and issued 0 walks.

The final arm that’s gotten some extended work Texas Southern this year is Domenic Martinez. In 8.1 innings this season, the lefty has just a 3.24 ERA but has struggled with command. He has issued 8 walks in his limited work, and after the clinic Mizzou put on in the midweek against Lindenwood drawing walks, I think the Tigers could feat on Martinez. He’s also surrendered three unearned runs this season. Nevertheless, you can probably expect an appearance from Martinez this weekend.

Weekend Schedule

Saturday | 7-inning Double Header @ 12:30 p.m.

Sunday | 9 inning game @ 1 p.m.