|MISSOURI VALLEY CONFERENCE|
|HOW THEY’LL FINISH|
Teams are listed
by predicted order of finish with 2012 records listed.
2012 NCAA tournament teams in bold
|Projected NCAA Teams (2): Missouri State, Wichita State.|
|Conference Schedule: 21 games, begins March 22.|
|Conference Tournament: Eight teams, May 21-25 at Normal, Ill. (Illinois State).|
|Player of the Year: Johnny Coy, 1b, Wichita State.|
|Pitcher of the Year: Sean Manaea, lhp, Indiana State.|
|TOP PROSPECTS, 2013-14 DRAFTS|
Manaea, lhp, Indiana State
|2.||Sam Coonrod, rhp, Southern Illinois (2014)|
Gillaspie, 1b, Wichita State (2014)
|4.||Max Murphy, of, Bradley (2014)|
Hollenbeck, c, Illinois State
|6.||Tobin Mateychick, rhp, Wichita State|
Minnis, lhp, Wichita State
|8.||Nick Petree, rhp, Missouri State|
Voit, c, Missouri State
|10.||Landon Curry, of, Indiana State (2014)|
Fitzgerald, of/c, Indiana State (Tr.—Lincoln Land, Ill., CC)
|2.||Dylan Johnson, 1b, Illinois State (Tr.—Heartland, Ill., CC)|
Matheny, of, Missouri State (HS—St. Louis)
|4.||Jonathan Harris, rhp, Missouri State (HS—Florissant, Mo.)|
Jones, c, Southern Illinois (Tr.—Central Arizona CC)
• Missouri Valley Conference favorite Missouri State returns seven of the eight regular pitchers from its 2012 staff that led Division I with a 2.57 ERA. Pierce Johnson signed with the Cubs as a supplemental first-round pick, but Jr. RHP Nick Petree (10-4, 1.01, 115 IP/114 S0) returned after topping the nation in ERA and winning MVC pitcher of the year honors. Petree, who went 73 straight innings without allowing an earned run last year, is a crafty righty who commands an upper-80s fastball, a pair of breaking balls and a fine changeup. C Luke Voit (.298/.366/.444) leads a veteran lineup bolstered by Fr. OF Tate Matheny, whose father Mike manages the Cardinals and won four Gold Gloves as a catcher.
• After going to the NCAA tournament 22 times in 23 seasons, Wichita State has missed out in each of the last three years. The Shockers should return to regional play in 2013, thanks to the deepest and most balanced squad in the MVC. Sr. 1B Johnny Coy (.344/.413/.564, 9 HR, 63 RBI) is the league’s returning leader in all three triple-crown categories, and So. 1B Casey Gillaspie (.274/.378/.442) is the MVC’s best position-player prospect. Wichita State has plenty of arms to work with as well, led by Jr. RHP Tobin Mateychick (4-1, 5.01, 23 IP/11 SO) and Jr. LHP Albert Minnis (4-4, 3.82, 66 IP/52 SO). Before he had Tommy John surgery in 2011, Mateychick
showed a lively fastball that reach 93 mph. Minnis will take over as closer, replacing Jr. RHP Cale Elam (6-4, 2.25, 44 IP/43 SO, 9 SV), who moves to the front of the rotation.
• Indiana State won its first-ever MVC regular-season title in 2012, but the Sycamores will have to replace league player of the year Jeremy Lucas (.345/.443/.540, 9 HR) and newcomer of the year Dakota Bacus (7-4, 2.70,
117 IP/89 SO) after they turned pro. The good news is that Indiana State still has LHP Sean Manaea (5-3, 3.34, 105 IP/115 SO), who became a
potential No. 1 overall pick after dominating the Cape Cod League with his 94-96 mph fastball last summer. The Sycamores hope to replace Lucas with Jr. OF/C Mike Fitzgerald, a transfer from Lincoln Land (Ill.) CC who slugged 15 homers in the Prospect League last summer.
• After Manaea, the MVC’s best prospects—Southern Illinois So. RHP Sam Coonrod (3-5, 4.64, 64 IP/54 SO), Gillaspie and Bradley So. OF Max Murphy (.285/.375/.495, 9 HR, 9 SB)—aren’t draft-eligible until 2014. Coonrod threw in the mid-90s and topped out at 98 mph in the fall. Murphy flashed five-tool potential while winning MVP honors in the Great Lakes League during the summer.
• The MVC will miss Dallas Baptist in 2013 but welcome the Patriots back as a full affiliate member for baseball in
2014 after they spend a season in the Western Athletic Conference. Dallas Baptist played three-game series against seven of the eight MVC teams in 2012, helping the league boost its Ratings Percentage Index and
earn two at-large bids to the NCAA tournament.