Pick the Coogs 2nd behind ECU
Houston : Last season’s regular season conference champions, Houston should once again be contenders in 2019. Senior designated hitter Joe Davis returns after leading the American in RBIs with 62 last season, while junior third baseman Jared Triolo ranked third in the league with a .334 batting average. Both Davis and Triolo earned preseason all-conference honors, giving the Cougars a solid one-two punch in the middle of their lineup. On the mound, Houston must replace a pair of lefthanders in Trey Cumbie and 2018 AAC pitcher of the year Aaron Fletcher , who last year won a combined 14 games and totaled nearly 200 innings at the front of Houston’s rotation. Talented junior righthander Fred Villarreal will get a chance to lead the rotation in 2019, but he has made just four starts and has a 4.31 career ERA across 26 appearances. Although there are still questions to be answered when it comes to the pitching staff, 2018 AAC coach of the year Todd Whitting has a proven track record, leading the Cougars to the NCAA Tournament in four of the previous five seasons.