BYRON COWART (PHOTO BY JASON CALDWELL)

Jason Caldwell's Auburn Mailbag

Jason Caldwell of Inside the Auburn Tigers and AUTigers.com answers questions in his mailbag column.

aubtime: Some softball questions. What kind of pitchers are Alexa Nemeth, and Harris. How hard do they throw, what kind of pitch is their bread and butter. Is Alexa Nemeth a walk on that will get some playing time next year. How do you think Ashlee Swindle will improve. Have you heard anything new on the health of Snow.

Nemeth is a left-hander who throws what Clint Myers terms as “slow, slower and slowest.. Signee Chardonnay Harris is also a lefty who has power pitches. They’re definitely looking for help from the left side for the 2018 season. As for Swindle, I really like that she added some speed this year. If she continues to be able to throw the fastball by hitters and throw her changeup then she’ll do just fine. As for Tannon Snow, she is doing well health-wise and is scheduled to be back in Auburn when classes start in Augusst.

 

SandhillsTiger: Who would you guess as to baseball draft loses on current team and signees?

I think off the current team that Keegan Thompson will be taken fairly early, top five rounds or so. I also believe that Jonah Todd will get picked in the top 10 to 15 rounds. Even though Josh Anthony’s offense hasn’t been what was expected, his defense and the potential of his bat will get him picked again. I would guess that both Andrew Mitchell and Gabe Klobosits have a chance to be gone as well.

From the signees I think juco pitcher and former Vandy lefty Evan Steele is the most likely guy the Tigers will lose out of Chipola (JC). Two-way player Tanner Burns is a possibility, but I like Auburn’s chances of getting him on campus. The same is true of Cody Greenhill out of Russellville. Catcher Steven Williams could be taken pretty high and that one will be worth watching. The same is true of juco slugger Brendan Venter. Probably the other guy to watch is six-foot-six pitcher Ryan Hoerter out of Wisconsin.

 

TKane3117: Other than Stidham and Sal Cannelli, who are the 2 players in the 2017 class least likely to RS? The 2 players most likely to RS? I'll hang up and listen

I would say that Calvin Ashley and Tadarian Moultry are my two guys least likely to redshirt out of the group. I just think they’re going to get Ashley ready and Moultry’s physical skills make him hard to keep off the field. As for most likely, number one is kicker Anders Carlson. The second would probably be offensive lineman Austin Troxell because of his injuries.

 

Actman: Do you think Auburn can win the SEC this fall? If so, what has to happen.

I think Auburn has a great shot to win the league this year and it starts with Jarrett Stidham. Having a dynamic guy at quarterback has worked out well for Gus Malzahn-coached teams and while Stidham isn’t a dynamic runner like a Nick Marshall or a Cam Newton, he’s absolutely that as a passer and isn’t a bad runner. That’s the key for me and the health of Kamryn Pettway and Kerryon Johnson. If those three guys are on the field this team will be hard to stop. That goes along with a defense that should once again be pretty salty.

 

TKane3117: Every couple of years, it seems that a player that has been around a couple of years without making much noise, has breakout season. Nick Fairly being a good example and more recently, Robert Leff. Who would be a good candidate for their breakout season in 2017?

I think DeShaun Davis and Andrew Williams both did a good job of that last season as well. I would vote for Byron Cowart this year. I don't think he will just break out with 10 sacks, but like Williams last year I could see him becoming a key reserve at defensive tackle and giving the Tigers some push as a pass rusher.

 

Jello1: Who wins the third string RB job? Do you have any concern on how well our defense will do against the G.Southern option attack?

I would put my money on Malik Miller to be the third running back right now after seeing him continue to get stronger and stronger throughout spring. Devan Barrett will give it a run as well. As far as the defense dealing with Georgia Southern, I’ll take my chances with Kevin Steele getting a team ready to face the option after his days as an assistant at Nebraska and facing those guys every day in practice.

 

aunatchamps: Is there a list you could provide of this year's Big Cat weekend attendees?

There is no official list yet. Wide receiver Shedrick Jackson will be there and is definitely a name to keep an eye on in the coming weeks. I like Auburn’s chances with him out of Hoover and I think he would be a good addition to the class. Another name to watch is safety Quindarious Monday out of Carver-Atlanta. Coynis Miller, Justyn Ross, Seth Williams and plenty more should be in as well.

 

aubtime: Mark mention that Coach Myers said as many as 6 new comers could start next year can you go into that a little. cf, rf, c, and p are very good. 1b is good. Snow will be in the line up if healthy. Who else you see in the starting line up?

I think you have to start with Taylon Snow at shortstop or second base and Makenna Dowell out of North Gwinnett (Ga.) also in the mix for both spots. Both are players the coaches think could play right away. Mackenzie Nutt out of Sparkman is an infielder but could also play outfield as could Livy Schiele out of California. All of them will have a chance to play right away.

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