Preseason Countdown: No 49 Fruita



By John Cackowski
State Director

Leading up to the start of the high school season, we will count down the top 50 preseason teams every day as part of our comprehensive season coverage. The top 50 teams are picked from all classifications, and are not divided up by class level:

Team: Fruita
Preseason Rank:
49
2014 Record:
10-9
Conference:
Western Slope
 CHSAA Class: 5A
Head Coach:
Ray McLellan
Playoff Run: Lost in first game of districts to Arapahoe
2014 Final Rank: 19th

Returning Starters: 7
Returning Pitchers:
3

TOP PLAYERS
Sam Graf, OF, 2015
Conner Harmon, P, 2015
Gabe Treider, C, 2015
James Stagg, CF, 2015
Cuba Bess, 1B/3B, 2016
Devon Canup, P, 2016
Sam Shroeder, P, 2016


X-FACTOR
Sam Graf, OF, 2015: Graf hit .483 in 2014 with a 1.105 OPS. Graf also led the team with 19 runs. On a team that at times struggled to score runs in 2014, Graf will have to continue to be an anchor in the Wildcats lineup.

NEWCOMER TO WATCH
Cuba Bess, 1B/3B, 2016: As a sophomore Bess hit .404 leading the team with 9 doubles and 19 RBI's to go with a 1.134 OPS.  

KEY PLAYER LOST
Luke Goodrich (Graduated)

STAT RAT
Out of 132.1 total innings pitched last year, 90 of them were pitched by juniors and sophomores.

BOTTOM LINE
Fruita always has a history of being a scrappy hard working team. The credit goes to their long time coach Ray McLellan who always has his team able to compete with the best teams in 5A. Their strengths going into 2015 is returning an experienced pitching staff led by Senior Conner Harmon, and Juniors Devon Canup and Sam Schroeder. With Senior Sam Graf and Junior Cuba Bess also returning, expect the well-coached Wildcats to move up in the from the 19th 2014 5A district seeding.