The major question mark in the outfield for the Hokies in 2017 is in center field, where the Hokies need to replace the pillar of the offense from last season, Saige Jenco.
Redshirt-senior Rahiem Cooper and senior Mac Caples are the most likely candidates to fill-in on opening day. No matter who ultimately starts, both should be major contributors to the team in 2017. Cooper and Caples are both more than capable defensively of filling the void, but offensively, the duo hopes that there is improvement shown this season. Cooper batted a meager .203 last season with only four extra-base hits, while Caples hit .232 with two homers and nine runs batted in.
In the corner outfield positions, Tom Stoffel, who was mentioned as a relief pitching option earlier, will likely spend most of his time in either left or right field, where he split time last season. Stoffel brings a bit more to the table with the bat than the Hokies’ center field options, as Stoffel turned in a .270 batting average with two home runs and 35 runs batted in last season. In an offense starved for runs, Stoffel will likely have just as much pressure on him this season to provide some pop in the middle of the lineup.
In whichever corner outfield position that is not occupied by Stoffel, a handful of candidates to watch include Stevie Mangrum, Nick Anderson, and Grant Maiorana. Mangrum did not play a ton as a freshman, but proved to be capable with the glove as a freshman, and a work-in-progress at the plate. Nick Anderson played some outfield for the Hokies last season, will likely see some time in the outfield this season, but in all likelihood will see a majority of his time at desginated hitter this season.
Anderson is coming off of a 2016 in which he hit .339 with four home runs and 30 RBIs, pairing up with Tom Stoffel and Saige Jenco to provide a majority of the offensive production last season for the Hokies.
As for the final corner outfield candidate, Grant Maiorana, he is hoping to return to form prior to his injury halfway through last season after running into the fence chasing down a fly ball. The sophomore from Chesapeake, Virginia hit .227 in 28 games last season, with two home runs and 16 RBIs.