Though they’re missing six graduated starters who made at least All-District in a record-setting 29-win season, the Edinburg Bobcats have some veterans in camp this year who should be able to make Coach Robert Valdez’ first season far from a letdown.

The foremost returning star is senior Bubba Anthony, who made the honor team in 2008 as both a pitcher and outfielder. The righty swinger started the latest campaign off in style with a two-run homer against Edcouch-Elsa in the team’s opening scrimmage, and threw a flawless inning on the mound.

Anthony, a left-handed tosser who has been a staple in the Bobcat rotation since his freshman year, will be joined by strong-armed senior Austin Casas, who is also an outfielder. Gone are the days when the ‘Cats boasted the strongest and deepest pitching list in the Valley, but with Anthony and Casas, Valdez has a good place to start rebuilding.

The third returning starter is first baseman Michael Kaz, a glove whiz who won Defensive MVP for his job at first last season. The senior is also a crafty stick man who can hit the opposite way.

After that, there are a bunch of newcomers up from an outstanding junior varsity team, and a few guys who were subs in 2008 looking to fill the program’s open slots.

Catcher Albert “Spanky” Rodriguez bided his time behind all-star Eli De la Garza, and now inherits the backstop position in his senior campaign. Middle infielder Andre Cordova, a sophomore transfer from Weslaco, hit leadoff against E-E and appears to have a lot of upside.

The ‘Cats received an added bonus when burly outfielder David Fasci came over from North, and he should be able to help the lineup after driving in 15 runs for the Cougars in ’08.

Other new starters thus far include lefty-swinging outfielder Christian Alvarado, first baseman Carlos Pena, and second sacker R.J. Rangel off the football team. Pena cracked a solid hit in the scrimmage while Rangel and third baseman J.J. Alvarado followed suit.

Look out for Econ transfer Lee Rios, who threw an inning in the scrimmage; with graduation losses on the mound, the righthander could work his way into the rotation while also seeing time in the infield.

Valdez had worked diligently to install his disciplined system with the ‘Cats, after coming over from McAllen Memorial last semester. He’s s former Bobcat himself who played ball at The University of Texas-Pan American, and also coached with the independent pro league Edinburg Coyotes the past three seasons.