College Preview

2006 Colonial Athletic Association Preview




HOW THEY'LL FINISH



Conference Overall


W
L
W
L
1. UNC Wilmington
21
3
40
19
2. +Virginia Commonwealth
14
10
33
22
3. George Mason
15
9
35
19
4. Old Dominion
5
19
22
33
5. Northeastern
--
--
26
23
6. James Madison
8
16
20
35
7. Delaware
13
11
27
31
8. Towson
13
11
34
24
9. Georgia State
--
--
25
32
10. Hofstra
10
14
24
32
11. William & Mary
9
15
27
27
(2005 records listed; 2006 national ranking in parentheses)
+ 2005 conference tournament champion; NCAA regional participants in boldface

Projected NCAA Teams (1): UNC Wilmington.
Conference Schedule: 30 games. Schedule begins March 3.
Conference Tournament: Six teams, May 24-28 at Wilmington, N.C. (UNC Wilmington).

PLAYERS TO WATCH

ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM
* 2005 conference leader

C--Chris Hatcher, Jr., UNC Wilmington (.300-7-39). 1B--Bryan Cipolla, Jr., Old Dominion (.332-8-67). 2B--Scott Sizemore, Jr. Virginia Commonwealth (.364-12-56). 3B--Matt Poulk, Sr., UNC Wilmington (.364-11-*73). SS--Sergio Miranda, So., Virginia Commonwealth (.357-3-38). OF--Chris Emanuele, Sr., Northeastern (.340-11-40); Adam Heffron, Sr., Towson (.309-10-50); John Raynor, Sr., UNC Wilmington (.397-5-56, 23 SB). DH--Ricky Caputo, Sr., Hofstra (.332-12-52). P--Mike McGuire, So., Delaware (5-4, 4.83, 78 IP/70 SO); Harold Mozingo, So., Virginia Commonwealth (8-4, 5.17, 92 IP/*101); Adam Ottavino, Jr., Northeastern (8-4, 3.09, 96 IP/*106 SO).

Player of the Year: Scott Sizemore, 2b, Virginia Commonwealth.

Pitcher of the Year: Harold Mozingo, rhp, Virginia Commonwealth.

Top Newcomers: 1. Anthony Shawler, 3b/rhp, Old Dominion (Fr., 45th round/Nationals '05). 2. Daniel Hudson, rhp, Old Dominion (Fr., HS—Virginia Beach). 3. Jon Cantrell, rhp, UNC Wilmington (Jr., 5-4, 3.88 at Louisburg, N.C., JC).

PROJECTED TOP PROSPECTS, 2006-07 DRAFTS

1. Scott Sizemore, 2b, Virginia Commonwealth.
2. Harold Mozingo, rhp, Virginia Commonwealth.
3. #Mike McGuire, rhp, Delaware.
4. Adam Ottavino, rhp, Northeastern.
5. Ryan Reid, rhp, James Madison.

# Not eligible for 2006 draft

BEST TOOLS

Best Pure Hitter--John Raynor, UNC Wilmington. Best Raw Power—Michael Cowgill, James Madison. Best Strike-Zone Discipline--Hans Falkenham, Towson. Best Athlete--John Raynor, UNC Wilmington. Fastest Runner--Jason Appel, UNC Wilmington. Best Baserunner-- Sergio Miranda, Virginia Commonwealth. Best Defensive Catcher--Robby Jacobson, George Mason. Catcher/Best Arm--Chris Hatcher, UNC Wilmington. Best Defensive First Baseman--Tim St. Clair, Virginia Commonwealth. Best Defensive Second Baseman--Scott Sizemore, Virginia Commonwealth. Best Defensive Third Baseman--Matt Poulk, UNC Wilmington. Best Defensive Shortstop-- Sergio Miranda, Virginia Commonwealth. Infielder/Best Arm-- Sergio Miranda, Virginia Commonwealth. Best Defensive Outfielder--John Raynor, UNC Wilmington. Outfielder/Best Arm--Adam Heffron, Towson. Best Fastball--Mike McGuire, Delaware. Best Breaking Ball--Ryan Reid, James Madison. Best Control--John Leonard, Virginia Commonwealth.

SHORT HOPS

• Georgia State and Northeastern join the CAA, pushing membership to 11 teams and extending the conference schedule six games to 30 in all. Northeastern won the America East Conference regular-season title last season by a half-game. Georgia State tied for fifth place in the Atlantic Sun Conference. The two new teams meet March 10-12 in the first conference series of the year for both clubs, one that will show the geographic disparity of the new conference right away. Northeastern begins play with a spring-break trip to Bradenton, Fla., the first week of March and will have played just six games before its CAA opener at Georgia State. Meanwhile, the Panthers start play nearly a month before that, on Feb. 15, as the CAA opener represents their 14th game of the season.

• UNC Wilmington won 40 games for the third straight season in 2005 but didn't win the CAA tournament's automatic bid and then wasn’t given an NCAA tournament spot despite a 21-3 league record. The 2005 weekend rotation of seniors Ronald Hill (10-4, 3.38), Jeff Moore (6-1, 3.69) and Zach Kimball (6-5, 5.50) exhausted its eligibility, but eight of the nine hitters from a club that ranked 11th nationally with a .323 average return. That includes senior OF John Raynor (.397-5-56, 23 SB), who won the home run contest at the Coastal Plain League all-star game during the summer and spurned a late chance to sign with the Orioles, who drafted him in the 12th round.

• Virginia Commonwealth won the CAA tournament to earn the league’s automatic bid last year, and the two could battle for a bid again this season. Junior RHPs Harold Mozingo (8-4, 5.17) and John Leonard (5-4, 3.92) form the league's best one-two pitching punch, with Mozingo firing low-90s fastballs and Leonard painting the corners. Their numbers should look better as VCU goes back to sharing The Diamond with the Triple-A Richmond Braves this season after playing at a smallish city park in Petersburg, 30 miles south of Richmond, last year. The move shouldn't detract from the performance of junior 2B Scott Sizemore (.364-12-56), who rivals Raynor as the league's best hitter. Sizemore led the CAA with 24 doubles.

• Two sophomore righthanders are rounding into the form that could make them early picks in the draft. Delaware's Mike McGuire (5-4, 4.83), who will be eligible in 2007, is a chic pick for league pitcher of the year honors with his 6-foot-7 frame, low 90s velocity and lights-out breaking ball that some coaches feel is the league's best. James Madison's Ryan Reid (3-5, 5.75), draft eligible this year because he will be 21, throws a 90-93 mph fastball and a plus slider that helped him record 76 strikeouts in 81 innings as a freshman. Reid, who pitched his Portland, Maine, team to the 2004 American Legion World Series championship, posted a 40-12 strikeout-walk ratio in 38 New England Collegiate League innings over the summer and also batted .307.

• Expect Northeastern senior OF Chris Emanuele (.340-11-40) and junior RHP Adam Ottavino (8-4, 3.09) to clean up on teams that have no scouting reports on them. Emanuele led the America East with 120 total bases in 2005 and ranked among the top five in five other categories, including steals (17) and slugging (.574). Ottavino topped the league with 106 strikeouts in 96 innings.

• Towson led the nation in 2005 with 105 home runs (1.82 per game) and ranked third in slugging (.540), but will experience something of a power outage this year. And that's despite the return of junior SS Hans Falkenham (.293-10-27) and senior OF Adam Heffron (.309-10-50), who each reached double figures last year. The Tigers lost 2005 CAA player of the year Casper Wells, who hit .362-18-66 and went 6-0 on the mound. They'll also miss 1B Jason Maxey (.346-23-72), who ranked fourth in the nation in slugging and home runs, and OF Mark Chiccini (.365-15-52).

Frank Leoni comes from Rhode Island, where he turned that school into a contender in the Atlantic-10, to take over a William & Mary team decimated by defections. The Tribe isn't likely to replicate its .320 team average and 7.9 runs per game, both figures that ranked among the nation's top 20. Gone are OF Chris Rahl (.297-12-51), a Diamondbacks fifth-rounder, C Mike DeCarlo (.356-17-61) and SS Kyle Padgett (.311-9-52), who combined for 38 home runs, and 2B Will Rhymes and his CAA-best .413 average.

• The CAA has some noteworthy baseball bloodlines. Old Dominion senior SS Jesse Schoendienst (.276-2-18) is the great nephew of former Cardinal great Red Schoendienst, and St. Louis remembered by drafting him in the 40th round last June. Teammate Kyle Dubois' (5-2, 4.38) brother Jason is a former VCU star who plays for the Indians. Delaware's Jordan Herr is the son of another former Cardinal, second baseman Tom Herr. UNC Wilmington junior Zach Booker is the son of former major leaguer Greg Booker and the grandson of Jack McKeon. James Madison scores in the brothers division with junior OF Mitchell Moses (.250-0-1), whose brother Matt was a first-round pick of the Twins in 2003. Dukes senior OF Matt Bristow's (.296-8-29) brother Justin is a prominent freshman at Auburn. All the Moses and Bristow brothers played in high school at Richmond’s Mills Godwin High.