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From the Bird’s Nest: 2012 Cajuns: The Outfield

The Cajuns say goodbye to leading hitter Mike Petello (.351-9-42) and that’s a big loss.  Petello was a solid performer in the middle of the lineup and had an outstanding arm in the field.  Also gone is team captain Matt Goulas (.280-2-14).  Lance Marvel (.304-1-22), an outfielder who served as the DH, also departs.

Obviously the biggest question in the offseason will be the status of Alex Fuselier.  Fuselier has improved his offensive numbers each year for the Cajuns.  This past season, he hit.308 with four homers and 21 RBI with 14 stolen bases.  Fuselier was a 21st round draft pick of the Pirates and he’ll have a decision to make.  If he elects to return, look for him to hit in the #3 spot for the Cajuns next season.

Even if Fuselier returns, there will be new faces in the Cajuns outfield next season, and most will be unproven.

Daniel Nichols (.213-0-12) will certainly be in the mix.  Nichols had some big hits for the Cajuns but really struggled toward the end of the season.  He’s capable of hitting much better than that average indicates.  Brian Bowman will be a senior next season.  He’s lightning fast but unfortunately, has never shown that he can hit college pitching with any consistency.  His one hit on the season came in the Cajuns’ final game.  The jury is still out on Dominick Francia, who certainly can’t be judged on his six at bats this past season.  Francia can run and is very good defensively.  Playing in Alaska this summer and getting 150 at bats with wood will help him.  If he shows he can hit, he’ll be a valuable asset as a leadoff or #9 hitter.

After that, it’s up to the newcomers.  Incoming freshman Dylan Butler of Archbishop Shaw has some pop in his bat and can play a corner position.  Ditto Allman Snowden of Zachary.  The one junior college player is Nick Jones of Baton Rouge CC.  He’s playing for the Cane Cutters this summer.

Lots of question marks here.  If Fuselier returns, the Cajuns have an anchor in the outfield.  If not, more than one of these guys will have to step up and do things they’ve never done before.

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