|WEST COAST CONFERENCE|
|HOW THEY’LL FINISH|
|San Diego (25)||15||9||40||17|
|*2012 conference champion.|
Teams in bold are 2012 NCAA tournament participants. Teams are listed in predicted order of finish. Records listed are from 2012 season.Projected NCAA Teams (3): San Diego, Gonzaga, Loyola Marymount.Conference Schedule: 24 games; begins March 14.Conference Tournament: Four teams, May 23-25 at Stockton, Calif.Player of the Year: Kris Bryant, 3b, San Diego.Pitcher of the Year: Marco Gonzales, lhp, Gonzaga.
|TOP PROSPECTS, 2013-14 DRAFTS|
|1.||Kris Bryant, 3b, San Diego|
|2.||Marco Gonzales, lhp, Gonzaga|
|3.||Alex Balog, rhp, San Francisco|
|4.||Scott Frazier, rhp, Pepperdine|
|5.||Dylan Covey, rhp, San Diego|
|6.||Aaron Brown, lhp/of, Pepperdine|
|7.||Trevor Megill, rhp, Loyola Marymount (2014)|
|8.||Michael Wagner, rhp, San Diego|
|9.||Travis Radke, lhp, Portland (2014)|
|10.||Bradley Zimmer, of, San Francisco (2014)|
|11.||Colin Welmon, rhp, Loyola Marymount (2014)|
|12.||Collin Ferguson, 1b, St. Mary’s (2014)|
|13.||Abe Bobb, rhp, San Francisco|
|14.||Tyler Olson, lhp, Gonzaga|
|15.||Kody Watts, rhp, Portland (2014)|
|1.||Taylor Jones, rhp, Gonzaga (HS—Kent, Wash.)|
|2.||Jose Vizcaino Jr., 3b, Santa Clara (HS—San Diego)|
|3.||Lucas Hunter, ss, Portland (HS—Portland, Ore.)|
|4.||Cabe Reiten, 2b, Gonzaga (HS—Olympia, Wash.)|
|5.||Andrew Sopko, rhp, Gonzaga (HS—Missoula, Mont.)|
|6.||Jackson McClelland, rhp, Pepperdine (HS—Redlands, Calif.)|
|7.||Steven Wilson, rhp, Santa Clara (HS—Littleton, Colo.)|
|8.||Troy Conyers, lhp, San Diego (HS—Lakeside, Calif.)|
|9.||Jimmy Sinatro, c, Gonzaga (Sammamish, Wash.)|
|10.||Michael Silva, rhp, Loyola Marymount (HS—Santa Clarita, Calif.)|
• The WCC had a strong year in 2012, sending multiple teams to regionals for the first time since 2008, and it has a decent shot to snag three NCAA tourney bids this year for the first time since 2006. The automatic bid will now be awarded to the winner of a newly instituted conference tournament, which will feature four teams and be held in Stockton, Calif. No. 25 San Diego heads into the season as a slight favorite, but Gonzaga isn’t far behind. Perhaps no player in college baseball is more valuable than Jr. LHP/1B Marco Gonzales (8-2, 1.55, 93 IP/92 SO; .325/.372/.430), whose polished three-pitch repertoire and line-drive stroke make him a premier ace and a middle-of-the-order hitter. Gonzales has plenty of help in the all-upperclassmen weekend rotation, as Sr. LHP Tyler Olson (5-4, 2.77, 110 IP/90 SO) carves up hitters with a lively 88-91 fastball and swing-and-miss slider. The Zags believe Jr. RHP Arturo Reyes (a transfer from Columbia Basin JC) can thrive in the Sunday role thanks to an 88-93 fastball and quality 82-84 slider. A trio of Fr. RHPs—Andrew Sopko, Michael Rucker and Taylor Jones—will also be expected to assume prominent roles, and they have the talent to make big impacts immediately. Gonzaga will have its hands full replacing its best offensive player from a year ago, Royce Bolinger, but it is blessed with a steady senior shortstop with quality defensive skills in Steven Halcomb, anchoring what should be a strong defense.
• Loyola Marymount has the talent to make a run at its first regional since 2000, but it needs to stay healthy because its depth is a concern. The weekend rotation has a chance to be special, headed by hard-throwing So. RHPs Colin Welmon (7-4, 3.87) and Trevor Megill (5-8, 3.57). Sr. RHP Aaron Grifin (3-5, 3.29) can’t match their electric stuff, but he competes with a nice three-pitch mix, making him an able Sunday starter. The bullpen is LMU’s primary area of concern, but Jr. RHP/1B Bret Dahlson (3-3, 2.94, 11 saves) emerged as a quality closer in his first year pitching in 2012. He needs to refine his command, but he can reach 93 and flashes a big league changeup. The other reason to be bullish on the Lions is their experience and quality up the middle. LMU has an accomplished catch-and-throw whiz behind the plate in Team USA veteran Sr. Colton Plaia (.326/.413/.461), who has some pop in his bat. Sr. CF Matt Lowenstein (.293/.430/.377) is a three-time all-conference performer who does all the little things to help the offense go. And Sr. 2B Cullen Mahoney (.277/.402/.376) and Sr. SS Joey Boney (.275/.341/.352) form a reliable double-play tandem.
• Pepperdine won its final seven weekend series last year to surge past USD for the conference title, and the Waves have the front-line talent to be dangerous again, but they will have their hands full replacing stellar keystone combination Joe Sever and Zach Vincej, plus ace Jon Moscot. Jr. RHP Scott Frazier (7-5, 3.93, 103 IP/69 SO) has the talent to dominate on Fridays, with a lively fastball that reaches 95. He cleaned up his delivery and improved his breaking ball in the offseason, giving him a chance to blossom into a marquee ace as a junior. Some scouts are even more bullish on So. LHP/OF Aaron Brown (2-1, 4.64; .265/.328/.350), a third-team preseason All-American two-way player. A draft-eligible sophomore, Brown can run his fastball up to 94 and flashes a pair of major league average secondary pitches, and he’ll also assume a greater workload as the everyday center fielder this year. The Waves need Brown and So. 3B Austin Davidson (.277/.357/.374) to take big steps forward to keep their offense afloat, and both have the pretty lefthanded swings to anchor the middle of the order. Meanwhile, Pepperdine will count upon a pair of freshmen—SS Cody Nulph and 2B Hutton Moyer—to replace Vincej and Sever in the middle infield. That’s a tall order.
• The WCC is stacked with outstanding weekend rotations, and San Francisco can hold its own with any of them. Jr. RHP Abe Bobb (8-4, 2.18) is a competitive workhorse on Fridays with good command of an 88-92 fastball that has good run. Jr. RHP Alex Balog (4-4, 3.43) has monstrous upside on Saturdays; at his best, he has shown 93-97 mph heat with angry downhill action, a wipeout slider and a nasty changeup. The Sunday job is still up for grabs, but So. LHP Sheldon Lee (0-1, 2.00) has good feel for a decent four-pitch mix, making him the front-runner. Sr. CF Justin Maffei (.315/.453/.450, 24 SB) returns to spark the offense from the leadoff spot, and the Dons hope RF Bradley Zimmer (.242/.274/.314) can start to harness his huge raw tools as a sophomore. The younger brother of 2012 first-round pick Kyle Zimmer, Bradley flashes serious lefthanded power and plus speed, and USF thinks he is capable of hitting for average, as well. The biggest question mark facing this team is behind the plate, where Fr. C Ryan Matranga will be counted upon to shoulder the load.