Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Saturday, March 2, 2024
The Observer

What's next for Notre Dame baseball?

After a memorable season, a lot of uncertainty awaits the Notre Dame baseball team. There's a decent amount of change, and potentially even more than anticipated, coming to the roster. Here's what to know regarding decisions to be made, and the definite roster turnover happening in South Bend.

Who’s leaving? 

Out of the starting lineup, graduate students Ryan Cole (left field), Jared Miller (second base), Spencer Myers (center field) and David LaManna (catcher) are out of eligibility. Seniors Brooks Coetzee and Jack Zyska retain their fifth year of eligibility. However, they still may not return after earning their degree from Notre Dame. Junior third baseman Jack Brannigan is draft-eligible and not a lock to return for his senior season. 

On the pitching side of things, graduate student John Michael Bertrand is out of eligibility. As is their No. 2 started, graduate student Austin Temple. Senior relievers Alex Rao, Aidan Tyrell and Will Mercer have fifth-year decisions to make. And junior Liam Simon will likely hear his name called in the draft, giving him a decision to make as well. 

Who’s staying? 

The Irish starting lineup will look quite different next year. But they could still return a decent amount of contributors. Senior shortstop Zack Prajzner and senior first baseman Carter Putz are returning for fifth years. 

Elsewhere, expect freshman Jack Penney (.288, four home runs in 39 games) to become a regular starter. He could play second base if Brannigan stays, or become a staple at the hot corner. Sophomore TJ Williams hit .254 in 28 games, and he's the expected starter in center field. Additionally, redshirt sophomore Nick Juaire could fill an outfield role after hitting .355 in 62 at-bats this season. Sophomore Danny Neri and freshman Joey Spence will compete for the starting catching job. Freshman DM Jefferson started nine games early before falling out of the lineup, but he could return as a starter in 2023. The biggest gaps could be at second base (if Brannigan leaves) and right field (pending Coetzee's status). 

On the bump, there’s Findlay as the surefire returner. There’s a strong chance he becomes the ace of this staff as a sophomore. Fellow freshmen Radek Birkholz and Roman Kimball should step up into bigger roles. Both could become starting options. Sophomores Matt Bedford and Jackson Dennies should find themselves in more high-leverage situations. However, if Rao, Tyrell and Mercer all leave, the Irish have a lot of important innings to fill. There are a lot of question marks, but also a lot of talent that could return to the corps next year.