Left field – Dillon Bryant
Despite hitting a mediocre .268 last year, Bryant finished the season strongly, hitting .387 in the Aztecs’ final 10 games.
Slated to begin the game on the bench, Bryant was thrust into a starting role against Cal State Northridge on March 8 last year and made the most of the opportunity by hitting his first collegiate home run.
Bryant is expected to be the starting left fielder for SDSU and the coaching staff that expects him to respond with consistency and improvement in 2012.
Center field – Cody Smith
Smith is yet another Aztec who put forth an absolutely stellar freshman season that saw him hit a solid .311 last year.
A spot on the Freshman All-American team, for starters.
Also a second-team all-Mountain West Conference selection last season. The sophomore will undoubtedly return to center field in 2012 — a position where the speedy Smith, who stole 15 bases in 16 attempts last year, is expected to thrive.
Shortstop – Evan Potter
Potter is a sophomore infielder who is renowned for his defensive abilities.
Potter did not fare exceptionally well at the plate as a freshman last season, hitting just .205. However, he did manage to walk 18 times, and was hit by eight pitches. Potter had a respectable .340 on-base percentage and managed to score 24 times after amassing just 26 hits.
Regardless, Potter is in line to return to the starting lineup at shortstop in 2012 following a 2011 season in which the versatile athlete also saw playing time at second and third base.
Third base/INF – Cody Slader
Switch-hitting Slader will likely be the starting third baseman for the Aztecs.
After having made the transition from shortstop to third base throughout the course of the last few games last year, expect the sophomore and his reliable glove to remain at the hot corner this season.
While the SDSU staff knows what it’s getting from Slader as a fielder, he hit a lowly .222 last season with an anemic .298 on-base percentage. The Aztecs will need more contributions from the wiry sophomore in 2012.
DH/utility – Chris Wilson
Wilson is one of two seniors who appears to have a starting role in 2012. After having split time as a starter at catcher and in the outfield last year, expect Wilson to again garner playing time at both positions.
Wilson, who tied for the team lead with five homers and was third on the team with 33 RBI., will also be utilized as a DH this season.
Wilson performed exceptionally during league play, hitting .315 with four homers, three of which came against Air Force on April 21, which tied the Aztecs’ single-game home run record.
First base – Jomel Torres
Torres brings leadership and experience to the team.
The senior also brings a powerful bat, with which he knocked in a team second-best 36 runs last year.
Despite his power, though, Torres walked an astonishing 43 times this past season. He also notched a team-best .428 on-base percentage.
After having recorded a .984 fielding percentage during his 48 appearances at first base, expect the versatile Torres to put forth yet another strong showing in 2012.
Second base – Tim Zier
Zier is a talented player who looks to be a cornerstone of the SDSU roster throughout the next few years. He started at second base in 34 games and in left field for 19, look for him to transition almost exclusively into the starting position at second base.
Zier is a contact hitter through-and-through. Expect the Escondido High School product to continue hitting leadoff for the Aztecs.
Catcher – Brad Haynal
A local product of Rancho Bernardo High School, Haynal started at catcher on 27 occasions last season prior to suffering a twisted knee while playing behind the plate against Air Force on April 21. He would only appear in six contests after the incident.
The righty brings a strong arm and a powerful bat to the table for a San Diego State squad that expects significant contributions from many of its young players in 2012.
Pitcher – Cole Swanson
As a freshman last season, Swanson went 4-2 while posting an impressive 3.27 ERA in league play.
In doing so, the 6’5 lefty earned Freshman All-America honors. Swanson will look to again set the tone for a young pitching staff that looks to be greatly improved with a very talented incoming class added to the roster.