|C||Cameron Rupp, Jr.||.292/.387/.505||11||46||0|
|1B||Kevin Keyes, Jr.||.305/.405/.521||9||46||9|
|2B||Jordan Etier, So.||.267/.313/.267||0||2||0|
|3B||Kevin Lusson, So.||.310/.491/.405||0||11||1|
|SS||Brandon Loy, So.||.288/.369/.330||0||30||9|
|LF||Tim Maitland, So.||.194/.342/.194||0||4||2|
|CF||Connor Rowe, Jr.||.277/.330/.456||8||40||3|
|RF||Tant Shepherd, Jr.||.260/.362/.413||2||21||4|
|DH||Russell Moldenhauer, Sr.||.262/.406/.464||4||14||0|
|RHP||Taylor Jungmann, So.||11-3||2.00||95||101||0|
|RHP||Cole Green, Jr.||5-3||3.34||110||85||0|
|RHP||Brandon Workman, Jr.||3-5||3.48||75||82||0|
|RP||Chance Ruffin, Jr.||10-2||3.32||125||115||2|
|Hitting: 55. The Longhorns lost three of the four leading hitters from a team that ranked 206th in the nation last year in batting (.288). New starters Etier, Lusson, Maitland and Shepherd are question marks, but all four are capable of grinding out at-bats and getting on base. The Longhorns need Rowe and Loy to take steps forward atop the lineup—both handle the bat well (Loy led the nation with 25 sacrifice bunts last year) but must make better contact more consistently.
Power: 60. Keyes and Rupp will have their share of strikeouts, but they form a fearsome duo in the middle of the order, as both have legitimate plus to plus-plus raw power, though their home run numbers will be depressed by spacious UFCU Disch-Falk Field. Moldenhauer caught fire in Omaha last year, slugging all four of his homers at Rosenblatt Stadium, and could be primed for a big senior year. Rowe and Shepherd will each contribute occasional long balls.
Speed: 50. Texas lost all three of its double-digit basestealers from last year's team. Rowe is an above-average runner, while Loy, Maitland and Shepherd are all good athletes and decent runners. Rupp, Keyes and Moldenhauer are poor runners.
Defense: 65. Texas returns key defenders up the middle (Loy, Rowe and Rupp) from a team that ranked eighth nationally in fielding percentage (.976). Lusson is a strong defender at third, but it remains to be seen how the hulking Keyes will fare in his transition from the outfield to first base.
Bullpen: 65. The absurd depth of this staff allows Texas to move Ruffin into the closer's role, where he has had some success when not starting—he accrued five saves over his first two years. Or Ruffin could start and Green could take over as closer. Jr. RHP Andrew McKirahan (4-0, 2.11) provides a solid setup option, while touted freshmen Hoby Milner, Josh Urban and Keifer Nuncio provide enviable depth while awaiting their future shots at rotation spots. Texas hopes junior college transfer Paul Montalbano can fill the lefty specialist role that was largely vacant a year ago.
Experience/Intangibles: 75. Texas returns the nucleus of a national runner-up team. The Longhorns always have a mental edge over every opponent anyway because of the mystique that surrounds their program and their head coach, a living college baseball legend.
Baseball America OFP: 70. The Longhorns are fully equipped to follow in the footsteps of the 2005 'Horns, who followed the previous year's loss in the CWS finals with a national championship.
|C||Franco Valdes, Sr.||.292/.311/.491||6||43||0|
|1B||John Hicks, So.||.307/.339/.476||8||39||6|
|2B||Phil Gosselin, Jr.||.310/.400/.475||6||64||24|
|3B||Steven Proscia, So.||.333/.379/.550||10||58||13|
|SS||Tyler Cannon, Sr.||.351/.444/.489||1||38||17|
|LF||John Barr, Jr.||.298/.370/.323||0||15||5|
|CF||Jarrett Parker, Jr.||.355/.450/.664||16||65||20|
|RF||Dan Grovatt, Jr.||.356/.436/.518||8||51||14|
|DH||Danny Hultzen, So.||.327/.410/.422||3||37||9|
|LHP||Danny Hultzen, So.||9-1||2.17||95||107||0|
|RHP||Robert Morey, Jr.||3-0||3.33||68||84||2|
|RHP||Tyler Wilson, Jr.||9-3||2.97||67||63||1|
|RP||Kevin Arico, Jr.||2-3||2.70||37||47||11|
|Hitting: 70. The Cavaliers welcome back every regular from a team that led the ACC in batting (.327, including .330 in conference play), and all nine returnees hit at least .290 last year. The versatile lineup has no holes and is loaded with tough outs and line-drive machines. The Cavs are so deep that CWS sparkplug Keith Werman is unlikely to win the starting job at second base, and a strong freshman class led by infielders Reed Gragnani and Stephen Bruno gives UVa. plenty of insurance in case of injury.
Power: 60. Like Texas' Disch Falk, Virginia's cavernous Davenport Field suppresses home run numbers, but the Cavaliers have more than just gap power. Parker and Proscia have above-average power potential, while Grovatt, Gosselin, Hicks and Valdes are all threats to swat double-digit homers.
Speed: 65. The Cavs have solid or better speed at every position except catcher, helping explain their 119 steals last year (11th in the nation). They are also smart and efficient on the basepaths, succeeding on 82 percent of their stolen base attempts in 2009. Parker and Barr are plus runners.
Starting Pitching: 65. The Cavs will miss graduated RHP Andrew Carraway, but their pitching should be strong regardless. With a polished three-pitch mix, excellent command and a tenacious approach, Hultzen is a top-tier Friday starter. Morey, who handed national Player of the Year Steven Strasburg his only loss in 2009 during the Irvine Regional, and Wilson each feature 88-92 mph fastballs and quality sliders. Wilson excelled in a swing role last year but should have no trouble sliding to the rotation, assuming he's not needed in relief. Junior college transfer Cody Winiarski has similar stuff and will compete with So. RHP Will Roberts, a command-and-control specialist, for starts in midweek action, and possibly on weekends.
Bullpen: 60. Arico lacks overwhelming fastball velocity but thrives at the back of the bullpen thanks to his wipeout breaking ball and aggressive mentality. Sr. LHP Neal Davis will likely be counted on to fill the primary setup role.
Experience/Intangibles: 70. UVa. finally broke through to the College World Series for the first time in 2009, and its veterans proved in the loaded Irvine Regional and in the Oxford Super Regional that they do not bow to adversity.
Baseball America OFP: 70. Top to bottom, the Cavaliers have more talent than any team in college baseball, even including Texas. This is the first time Virginia will enter the season as a national championship favorite, and how they shoulder the burden of expectations will determine if they live up to their massive potential.
|C||Micah Gibbs, Jr.||.294/.403/.454||6||42||2|
|1B||Blake Dean, Sr.||.328/.432/.595||17||71||4|
|2B||Tyler Hanover, So.||.321/.357/.455||5||47||6|
|3B||Wet Delatte, Fr.||DNP—Redshirted|
|SS||Austin Nola, So.||.240/.350/.364||3||18||3|
|LF||Trey Watkins, So.||Tr.—Louisiana State-Eunice|
|CF||Mikie Mahtook, So.||.316/.377/.495||7||38||9|
|RF||Leon Landry, Jr.||.300/.379/.471||12||41||9|
|DH||Matt Gaudet*, Sr.||.270/.352/.444||2||15||0|
|* Stats from 2008|
|RHP||Anthony Ranaudo, Jr.||12-3||3.04||125||159||0|
|RHP||Joey Bourgeois, So.||Tr.—Louisiana State-Eunice|
|RHP||Austin Ross, Jr.||6-8||5.18||83||76||0|
|RP||Matty Ott, So.||4-2||2.68||50||69||16|
|Hitting: 55. Mainstays D.J. LeMahieu, Ryan Schimpf, Jared Mitchell and Sean Ochinko are gone, but LSU caught a break when Dean opted to return to anchor the lineup as a senior rather than sign with the Twins as a 10th-round pick. Dean is the team's best pure hitter and run producer, and the offense took off when he emerged from his first-half slump last year. Hanover, Gibbs, Landry and Mahtook are dangerous but streaky hitters, and the Tigers need them to be more consistent now that they'll be carrying a larger offensive load. Delatte has a smooth lefthanded swing and a good all-fields approach.
Speed: 60. LSU's outfield features three above-average runners in Mahtook, Landry and Watkins. Hanover and Nola have solid speed.
Defense: 70. The Tigers are rock-solid up the middle, as Gibbs, Nola and Mahtook are standout defenders and Hanover has the tools to excel at second after holding his own at third last year. All three outfielders have excellent range and instincts.
Starting Pitching: 60. LSU has the advantage against every other team in the nation on Friday nights thanks to Ranaudo, a proven championship-caliber ace and the top college pitcher in the college draft class of 2010. Ranaudo pitches downhill with a lively fastball that reaches 94, and his curveball and changeup are both plus offerings at times. The Tigers hope Bourgeois can step immediately into the Saturday job left vacant by the departure of senior Louis Coleman; Bourgeois also reaches 94 and features a promising 12-to-6 curve. Ross and Jr. RHP Daniel Bradshaw lack overpowering fastballs, but both work off decent sinkers and can mix in their offspeed stuff effectively.
Bullpen: 65. This unit is not overly deep, but it is anchored by arguably the nation's best closer in the fearless Ott, whose good stuff plays up further because of his deception and command. Jr. RHP Mitch Mormann, a transfer from Des Moines Area (Iowa) CC, has power stuff and could dominate in a setup role if his command continues to develop. Losing the electric-armed Jones really hurts in the bullpen, but the Tigers still have potentially strong lefthanded relief options in touted freshman Forrest Garrett and sophomore Chris Matulis.
Experience/Intangibles: 70. The Tigers return plenty of key players from a national championship club, including atop the rotation and at the back of the bullpen. And 2009 Coach of the Year Paul Mainieri has proven to have a magic touch.
Baseball America OFP: 65. This group might not have the offensive firepower of last year's LSU team, but it still looks like an Omaha-caliber club with a real chance to repeat as champs.
|C||Billy Marcoe, Sr.||.294/.392/.324||0||10||1|
|1B||Nick Ramirez, So.||.287/.341/.548||19||31||0|
|2B||Matt Orloff, Fr.||DNP—Redshirted|
|3B||Corey Jones, Jr.||DNP—Redshirted|
|SS||Christian Colon, Jr.||.357/.442/.529||8||40||15|
|LF||Anthony Hutting, Fr.||HS—Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.|
|CF||Gary Brown, Jr.||.340/.402/.494||3||40||23|
|RF||Tyler Pill, So.||.269/.375/.346||0||6||0|
|DH||Carlos Lopez, Fr.||DNP—Redshirted|
|RHP||Daniel Renken, Jr.||11-3||2.69||124||103||0|
|RHP||Noe Ramirez, So.||9-2||3.33||111||100||0|
|RHP||Tyler Pill, So.||11-3||4.06||102||74||0|
|RP||Nick Ramirez, So.||3-1||2.61||41||30||7|
Power: 45. The Titans lost two-thirds of their 2009 home run production, but Nick Ramirez is strong enough to lead the Big West in long balls. Lopez and Jones have both recovered from the injuries that sidelined them for all of last season, and both have double-digit home run power. Colon could reach double figures as well.
Speed: 55. Brown might be the nation's fastest runner, but there are no other plus runners in the projected starting lineup. Colon's average speed plays up because of his impeccable instincts, and most of the other Titans are also savvy baserunners. Fr. OF Ivory Thomas brings above-average speed off the bench.
Defense: 65. Colon, who's coming off a broken leg at the end of his tremendous summer with Team USA, is an elite college shortstop who has a knack for always being in the right place on the field and making his teammates better. Brown's speed should make him a fine defender in center, where he takes over for Fellhauer. Orloff and Marcoe are scrappers with strong defensive skills, and senior Joey Siddons brings infield depth. Ramirez could actually be a defensive upgrade over the reliable Clark at first base.
Starting Pitching: 70. Fullerton retains the entire weekend rotation from a staff that ranked fourth nationally in ERA (3.53) and fifth in fewest hits allowed per nine innings (8.18). Renken, Noe Ramirez and Pill all feature excellent command and the ability to keep hitters off balance by mixing speeds and locations. Typical of a Dave Serrano staff, all three boast quality changeups, and all three are mentally tough. The Titans also have great competition for starting jobs, as newcomers Dylan Floro, Ray Hernandez and David Hurlbut all impressed in the fall.
Bullpen: 60. The strength of the bullpen is the depth, as this unit lacks a proven shut-down closer. Nick Ramirez held his own in the role last year, and he will open the season as the closer, though he's not overpowering. Hulking junior Kevin Rath gives the Titans a second option from the left side, while sidewinding Sr. RHP Ryan Ackland and steady Sr. RHP Kyle Mertins add versatility.
Experience/Intangibles: 70. Replacing six regular starters shouldn't be too difficult for Fullerton, which is blessed with plenty of natural leaders (most notably Colon) and armed with the Titan Mystique. The abundance of experience on the pitching staff also helps. This team features plenty of key players with Omaha experience, and this program expects to be in Omaha every year anyhow.
Baseball America OFP: 65. Last year's 0-2 CWS showing stunned the overconfident Titans and surely left them hungry for a shot at redemption at Rosenblatt. They enter 2010 as a leading contender for the national title.
|C||Diego Seastrunk, Sr.||.288/.397/.456||7||45||1|
|1B||Jimmy Comerota, Sr.||.285/.372/.360||1||26||11|
|2B||Michael Ratterree, Fr.||HS—Houston|
|3B||Anthony Rendon, So.||.388/.461/.702||20||72||9|
|SS||Rick Hague, Jr.||.319/.382/.492||9||57||11|
|LF||Michael Fuda, So.||.359/.377/.508||3||21||8|
|CF||Steven Sultzbaugh, Sr.||.324/.371/.514||8||31||7|
|RF||Chad Mozingo, Jr.||.319/.385/.532||8||50||10|
|DH||Craig Manuel, So.||.292/.348/.315||0||23||0|
|LHP||Taylor Wall, So.||7-6||3.72||94||77||1|
|RHP||Jared Rogers, Sr.||4-1||6.15||45||27||0|
|LHP||Tony Cingrani, Jr.||Tr.—South Suburban (Ill.) JC|
|RP||Matt Evers, Jr.||4-3||6.89||47||37||3|
|Hitting: 70. Rice and Virginia head into 2010 as the two most dangerous, most balanced offenses in college baseball. The Owls welcome back eight starters—the only newcomer is the multi-talented Ratterree, who replaces Brock Holt at second base—plus quality reserves such as So. OFs Jeremy Rathjen and Ryan Lewis. The lineup is stacked with dangerous, aggressive hitters from top to bottom, highlighted by Hague and Rendon, who are projected as first-round picks in 2010 and 2011. The Owls will wear out the gaps, and veterans Seastrunk and Comerota will drive pitchers crazy working counts.
Speed: 70. Rice's outfield features three above-average runners, headlined by Fuda, a blazing-fast former wide receiver for the Owls football team. Fuda, Mozingo and Rendon all were sidelined last summer by ankle surgeries, but the Owls expect them to be back to full speed this spring. Hague is an average runner whose speed plays up because of his advanced instincts, while Ratterree and Comerota are solid runners also.
Defense: 75. Rice led Conference USA with a .971 fielding percentage last year. All four infielders are capable of playing shortstop, making this a versatile, athletic group. Rendon and Hague are both excellent defenders on the left side of the infield, and while Comerota doesn't hit for power like a typical first baseman, he makes up for it with his stellar defense. All three outfielders have excellent range, and Sultzbaugh and Fuda also stand out for their strong arms. Seastrunk and Manuel make for a very strong catching platoon.
Starting Pitching: 45. The typically pitching-rich Owls enter 2010 with significant questions about their pitching staff, which must replace ace Ryan Berry and will be without Sr. RHP Mike Ojala (5-0, 2.17) for the first half of the season while he works his way back from Tommy John surgery. But Wayne Graham and pitching coach David Pierce have a history of getting the most out of their arms, and this group is talented if unproven. Wall, a changeup specialist with a good feel for pitching, takes over on Fridays, and Rogers hopes to build on his strong fall in the Saturday role. Cingrani attacks hitters from different angles with a high-80s fastball, a plus changeup and a fringy breaking ball. So. RHPs Matthew Reckling and Andrew Benak give the Owls more options.
Bullpen: 50. Evers has been inconsistent with his command in his Rice career, but he has the stuff to be a good college closer. The Owls hope Jr. RHP Boogie Anagnostou, a transfer from Alvin (Texas) JC, can harness his 90-94 mph fastball in a setup role. Freshman two-way talents J.T. Chargois, Tyler Spurlin and Chase McDowell add some depth.
Experience/Intangibles: 65. Inexperience on the mound is a concern, but the lineup is loaded with veterans who have super regional and Omaha experience. And the coaching staff is one of the best in the business.
Baseball America OFP: 65. The Owls look poised to return to the CWS for the fourth time in five years even if their pitching isn't as strong as it has been in past years. If their young arms mature quickly, then a second national title is within reach.
|C||Cole Leonida, Jr.||.306/.407/.556||5||14||0|
|1B||Tony Plagman, Sr.||.354/.400/.638||16||73||4|
|2B||Conner Winn, So.||.207/.378/.310||1||4||2|
|3B||Matt Skole, So.||.302/.384/.600||17||58||2|
|SS||Derek Dietrich, Jr.||.311/.426/.511||10||54||5|
|LF||Jay Dantzler, Sr.||.281/.397/.579||5||12||5|
|CF||Jeff Rowland, Jr.||.340/.411/.522||8||39||21|
|RF||Chase Burnette, Jr.||.351/.447/.691||8||29||1|
|DH||Thomas Nichols, Jr.||.290/.407/.410||2||15||0|
|RHP||Deck McGuire, Jr.||11-2||3.50||100||118||0|
|RHP||Brandon Cumpton, Jr.||4-3||4.76||64||63||0|
|RHP||Mark Pope, So.||5-1||6.00||27||27||8|
|RP||Kevin Jacob, Jr.||5-3||4.69||46||34||1|
Power: 65. The Jackets ranked third in the nation in homers last year (111), and even without departed seniors Luke Murton (20 HR) and Jason Haniger (eight), they should be plenty powerful. Skole, Leonida, Plagman, Dietrich and Burnette are all serious homer threats, and even Rowland is stronger than his 5-foot-10 frame suggests.
Speed: 50. Speed isn't a big part of Georgia Tech's game, but the Jackets do have one burner in Rowland, and solid runners in Winn, Dantzler and Dietrich. But Skole, Leonida and Plagman are below-average runners.
Defense: 60. Georgia Tech should be strong up the middle, as Rowland, Leonida, Dietrich and Winn are all good defenders. This unit is solid on the corners, too.
Starting Pitching: 65. McGuire, the reigning ACC pitcher of the year, is a bona fide ace with an excellent four-pitch mix, highlighted by a heavy fastball that reaches 94 mph and a biting downer curve. Cumpton flashed electric stuff at times last year, including a plus fastball and plus curve, and the coaching staff says he was the most improved pitcher on the team in the fall. Pope also has a power arm, and the Jackets believe he is better suited to a starting role after struggling down the stretch last year in the bullpen. If Cumpton and Pope develop as hoped, Tech's weekend rotation could be dominant. So. LHP Jed Bradley, the likely midweek starter, also has good stuff and some experience—he made eight starts a year ago.
Bullpen: 65. Jacob turned a corner in the Alaska League last summer, improving his command and ranking as the league's No. 1 prospect. With a fastball that reaches 98 mph and a wipeout slider, Jacob has a chance to be an elite closer, but his unorthodox mechanics and occasional command lapses have held him back in the past. His supporting cast is experienced and reliable, led by Sr. RHPs Andrew Robinson and Patrick Long, Jr. LHP Zach Brewster and So. LHP Jake Davies, all of whom made at least 17 appearances last year and posted sub-3.75 ERAs.
Experience/Intangibles: 55. Georgia Tech is loaded with veterans, but none of them have experience deep in the postseason, as Tech has not won a regional since going to the 2006 College World Series. The Jackets must prove they are tough enough to make a run at a national title.
Baseball America OFP: 65. Talented, balanced and deep, Georgia Tech is good enough on paper to end the ACC's 55-year national title drought. It remains to be seen how that ability will translate to the field.
|C||Ben McMahan, So.||.100/.182/.200||1||2||0|
|1B||Preston Tucker, So.||.364/.419/.628||15||85||5|
|2B||Josh Adams, Jr.||.342/.440/.496||8||52||5|
|3B||Bryson Smith, Jr.||Tr.—Young Harris (Ga.) JC|
|SS||Nolan Fontana, Fr.||HS—Winter Garden, Fla.|
|LF||Jonathan Pigott, Sr.||.357/.423/.563||6||32||6|
|CF||Matt den Dekker, Sr.||.296/.409/.412||5||37||17|
|RF||Daniel Pigott, So.||.301/.372/.414||3||21||4|
|DH||Austin Maddox, Fr.||HS—Jacksonville|
|RHP||Tommy Toledo, So.||4-4||4.40||59||30||0|
|LHP||Alex Panteliodis, So.||6-5||4.38||64||43||1|
|RHP||Anthony DeSclafani, So.||6-3||4.98||65||47||0|
|RP||Nick Maronde, So.||3-1||4.40||61||59||0|
|Hitting: 60. The Gators lost two of their four leading hitters from last year's club in Avery Barnes and Brandon McArthur, but the group that returns features both star power and terrific depth. Tucker, the SEC's co-freshman of the year in 2009, is a gifted, mature hitter who makes adjustments from at-bat to at-bat. Adams has been extremely consistent over his first two years at Florida—he works counts, drives the gaps and has a knack for driving in runs. The Pigott brothers are quality college hitters, and the Gators think Smith is as well. Den Dekker struggled to drive the ball as a junior but still got on base plenty.
Speed: 50. Den Dekker has plus speed and baserunning savvy (he's 42-for-45 stealing bases in his career), but the only other legitimate basestealing threat in the projected starting lineup is Fontana. Freshmen Cody Dent and Kamm Washington bring some speed off the bench.
Defense: 60. Den Dekker is the nation's best defensive outfielder, and the Pigotts are solid on the corners. The slick-fielding Fontana teams with Adams to form what could be an excellent keystone tandem. Between McMahan, Maddox and Zunino, the Gators are better stocked behind the plate than any team in America.
Starting Pitching: 60. The Gators lack a proven ace on Fridays, but they make up for it with their depth. Toledo, who missed last season after having arthroscopic shoulder surgery, came back strong in the fall and figures to get a crack at the Friday job. Panteliodis keeps hitters off balance with a good changeup and curveball, while DeSclafani attacks hitters with a lively fastball and a sweeping slider. Heralded freshmen LHP Brian Johnson and RHP Hudson Randall give Florida plenty of intriguing options for midweek starts and competition for weekend jobs.
Bullpen: 60. With the flame-throwing Billy Bullock gone, Florida lacks a proven closer, but Maronde's excellent three-pitch mix and feel for pitching should help him succeed in any role. Returnees like So. RHP Greg Larson, So. RHP Justin Poovey and Sr. RHP Jeff Barfield, plus talented newcomers like electric-armed RHP Michael Heller and LHP Paco Rodriguez, make this an extremely deep group.
Experience/Intangibles: 60. Florida's roster is teeming with instinctive, hard-nosed baseball players who do the little things necessary to win. The Gators will be relying on young players at a number of key spots (particularly shortstop and on the mound), but there are enough veterans mixed in to provide valuable leadership.
Baseball America OFP: 65. The sum is greater than the parts with this team, whose depth at nearly every position and on the mound might be unmatched by any team in the nation. Coming off a disappointing home super regional loss to upstart Southern Mississippi, the Gators are poised to break through to Omaha for the first time since 2005.
|C||Francis Larson, Sr.||.309/.350/.532||9||43||5|
|1B||Jeff Cusick, Sr.||.293/.375/.437||6||40||2|
|2B||Casey Stevenson, Sr.||.346/.441/.503||3||41||8|
|3B||Brian Hernandez, Jr.||DNP—Redshirted|
|SS||D.J. Crumlich, So.||.261/.351/.323||1||30||4|
|LF||Drew Hillman, Jr.||Tr.—Orange Coast (Calif.) CC|
|CF||Cory Olson, Sr.||.315/.394/.495||4||18||3|
|RF||Dillon Bell, Sr.||.274/.378/.405||2||21||1|
|DH||Ronnie Shaeffer, So.||.388/.441/.533||4||36||4|
|LHP||Daniel Bibona, Sr.||12-1||2.63||106||108||0|
|RHP||Christian Bergman, Sr.||9-3||3.50||98||66||0|
|RHP||Crosby Slaught, Jr.||8-0||4.62||76||52||0|
|RP||Eric Pettis, Sr.||5-2||3.86||42||37||17|
|Hitting: 60. The most overlooked aspect of the Anteaters' remarkable 2009 season—which included six straight weeks atop the rankings until a red-hot Virginia team knocked them off in regionals—was their offense, which was filled with mature, line-drive hitters with a knack for getting on base. Irvine returns seven players who appeared in at least 30 games a year ago, and it adds a strong gap hitter in Hernandez, who was forced to sit out 2009 because UCI misevaluated his transcripts after he transferred from a junior college. Hernandez is expected to step right into the No. 3 hole in the lineup, and the 'Eaters will surround him with quality college hitters like Stevenson, Shaeffer, Bell, Olson and Cusick. There are tough outs and skilled bat handlers up and down the lineup, and they get on base by any means necessary, including using the hit-by-pitch as a weapon (their 111 HBPs ranked third nationally last year).
Power: 35. No UCI hitter reached double figures in homers last year, though that's partly a product of the graveyard that is Anteater Ballpark. Larson and Hernandez do have decent pop, but the rest of the lineup is filled with contact-oriented singles and doubles hitters.
Speed: 50. The Anteaters don't rely much on stolen bases, but they do have solid runners in Olson, Hillman, Stevenson and Hernandez. The well-coached 'Eaters are generally heady baserunners.
Defense: 65. Irvine is renowned for its strong fundamentals, and indeed its .976 fielding percentage ranked ninth in the nation last year. But Ben Orloff, perhaps the nation's most reliable defensive shortstop and Irvine's field general, has graduated, leaving the steady but unproven Crumlich or talented but inconsistent So. Tommy Reyes to take over at short. That key position is the only question about the defense, which boasts standout defenders at the infield corners and in the outfield.
Bullpen: 65. Irvine has a rare luxury in Pettis—a rubber-armed, fearless, proven closer who has racked up 17 saves in each of the last two years. His supporting cast in the bullpen should be deeper this year than it was in 2009. Sr. RHP Kyle Necke is the primary setup man, and quick-armed righties Nick Hoover and Matt Summers should take big steps forward in their second seasons in Irvine.
Experience/Intangibles: 70. The veteran-laded Anteaters still have a few holdovers from their 2007 Omaha team, and plenty of others from the '08 squad that had its heart broken in the Baton Rouge Super Regional. So experience is an asset. And Irvine is always well coached and fundamentally rock-solid.
Baseball America OFP: 65. The current window of opportunity to win a national title will close after this season when core players like Bibona, Pettis and Bergman depart, but this team is fully capable of getting back to the CWS and earning the soon-to-be-70-year-old Gillespie a second championship.
|C||Rafael Lopez, Jr.||.287/.360/.393||4||29||1|
|1B||Mike Meschke, Sr.||.322/.423/.540||3||23||0|
|2B||Sherman Johnson, So.||.476/.577/.810||1||10||0|
|3B||Stuart Tapley, Jr.||.316/.444/.581||13||60||8|
|SS||Stephen Cardullo, Sr.||.376/.479/.612||10||51||20|
|LF||Mike McGee, Jr.||.379/.494/.768||19||78||13|
|CF||Tyler Holt, Jr.||.401/.520/.578||5||28||34|
|RF||Ohmed Danesh, Sr.||.262/.360/.458||6||34||9|
|DH||James Ramsey, So.||.294/.412/.426||2||14||0|
|LHP||Sean Gilmartin, So.||12-3||3.49||98||83||1|
|LHP||Brian Busch, So.||6-2||3.97||91||70||0|
|RHP||Mike McGee, Jr.||6-2||4.04||69||72||0|
|RP||John Gast, Jr.||5-3||5.12||39||24||0|
Power: 60. Tapley and McGee are proven college sluggers, and Cardullo is a good gap hitter with decent pop. Meschke and Ramsey provide some power from the left side. The sleeper is freshman infielder Jayce Boyd, who has excellent power and a sweet righthanded swing. Another freshman, Devon Travis, is similar to Tapley in size and power potential, though he's more athletic.
Speed: 55. Holt is an above-average runner and an elite basestealer. Cardullo, McGee and Danesh have average speed but good instincts on the basepaths. So. OF Taiwan Easterling, a wide receiver on the FSU football team, adds more speed and athleticism if he decides to play baseball this spring—and reportedly he's considering it.
Defense: 50. Florida State has ranked in the bottom third of the ACC in fielding percentage each of the last two years, though Cardullo stabilized the infield defense after taking over at shortstop in mid-March of 2009. Still, the infield defense is average at best. FSU has strong defenders at key positions in Holt and the strong-armed Lopez.
Starting Pitching: 55. The 'Noles welcome back their entire weekend rotation plus a solid midweek starter in Jr. RHP Geoff Parker. Gilmartin, Busch, McGee and Parker lack overpowering stuff, but they are all good competitors. The lefties, Gilmartin and Busch, are not afraid to pitch inside against righthanded hitters, and they can throw their breaking balls for strikes or use them to extend the zone.
Bullpen: 50. Gast, an unsigned fifth-round pick in 2007 and a Tommy John survivor, might be the most important player on this team. Before his surgery, he was a durable strike-thrower with solid to plus stuff, and the Seminoles need him to return to that form and anchor the bullpen. Jr. RHP Tyler Everett is the primary setup man, and newcomers Robby Scott and Tyson Young give FSU more southpaws in the bullpen.
Experience/Intangibles: 70. Mike Martin is a master of getting the most out of his talent, as the Seminoles always play hard and exploit opponents' weaknesses. FSU also returns seven regulars and all three weekend starters from a super regional team.
Baseball America OFP: 65. Florida State is a strong favorite to win the ACC's Atlantic Division and stands a good chance to reach the College World Series for the 20th time.
|C||Kyle Enders, Sr.||.261/.346/.464||3||9||0|
|1B||Nick Ebert, Sr.||.321/.468/.713||23||72||3|
|2B||Adrian Morales, Jr.||Tr.—Miami Dade CC|
|3B||Christian Walker, Fr.||HS—Limerick, Pa.|
|SS||Bobby Haney, Sr.||.291/.352/.414||4||30||1|
|LF||Adam Matthews, So.||.290/.380/.580||5||11||4|
|CF||Jackie Bradley Jr., So.||.349/.431/.537||11||46||8|
|RF||Whit Merrifield, Jr.||.340/.401/.545||11||49||15|
|DH||Parker Bangs, Jr.||.328/.385/.555||5||36||0|
|RHP||Sam Dyson, Jr.||9-4||5.21||102||94||0|
|RHP||Blake Cooper, Sr.||9-4||4.50||86||65||0|
|LHP||Nolan Belcher, So.||4-5||5.33||83||76||0|
|RP||Parker Bangs, Jr.||3-2||5.88||34||39||0|
|Hitting: 60. Leading hitter DeAngelo Mack and regulars Justin Dalles and Andrew Crisp are gone, but the Gamecocks always hit. The dynamic Merrifield sets the tone atop the lineup, while Bradley, Ebert and touted freshman Walker are good hitters in the middle of the lineup, not just thumpers. Ray Tanner preaches an aggressive approach, but this is also a disciplined group of hitters that will take its share of walks.
Power: 65. South Carolina ranked fifth nationally with 109 homers a year ago, and they should be among the national leaders in long balls again. Bradley, a true five-tool talent, has electric bat speed and is just scratching the surface of his power potential. Ebert, who is still working to clear up his academic eligility, is a fine college masher in the tradition of former Gamecocks slugger Phil Disher, and Walker looks like the next in that line. Bangs and Matthews have 15-homer potential, as do Fr. DH Brison Celek and Jr. OF/C Robert Beary, if they can force their way into the lineup. Even Merrifield has surprising pop.
Speed: 50. Merrifield and Bradley are plus runners in the outfield, and Matthews has solid speed as well. The rest of the lineup offers little speed.
Defense: 65. Haney is a defensive whiz at shortstop, and Bradley has a chance to be a special defender in center field. Enders brings strong catch-and-throw skills, and Jr. 2B Scott Wingo is a smooth defender at second, though he'll have a tough battle for that job against the more offensive Morales. All the corners are manned by strong defenders except for the hot corner, where Walker must improve.
Bullpen: 55. Bangs and Fr. RHP Ethan Carter each work in the 88-92 range and own quality sliders, though neither is a proven closer. Sidewinding Jr. RHP John Taylor, bulldog Fr. RHP Colby Holmes and projectable Fr. LHP Tyler Webb add quality depth.
Experience/Intangibles: 60. Few players remain from the last South Carolina team to win a regional in 2007, but six regulars and three weekend starters return from last year's team, providing experience and leadership. Tanner's teams typically battle and play sound defense.
Baseball America OFP: 60. The Gamecocks are talented enough and deep enough to get back to Omaha for the first time since 2004.
|C||Bryan Holaday, Sr.||.300/.351/.507||10||48||2|
|1B||Matt Curry, Sr.||.315/.421/.444||3||31||2|
|2B||Jerome Pena, Jr.||Tr.—Western Nevada JC|
|3B||Jantzen Witte, Fr.||DNP—Redshirted|
|SS||Taylor Featherston, So.||.322/.395/.461||5||28||8|
|LF||Jason Coats, So.||.316/.393/.518||6||32||2|
|CF||Kyle Von Tungeln, Fr.||HS—Sugarland, Texas|
|RF||Josh Elander, Fr.||HS—Round Rock, Texas|
|DH||Joe Weik, Jr.||Tr.—Weatherford (Texas) JC|
|RHP||Steven Maxwell, Jr.||3-2||6.10||38||27||0|
|LHP||Matt Purke, Fr.||HS—Spring, Texas|
|RHP||Kyle Winkler, So.||7-1||4.15||74||48||0|
|RP||Eric Marshall, Sr.||2-2||1.48||30||20||9|
|Hitting: 55. The top three hitters off last year's super regional team—stalwarts Matt Vern, Matt Carpenter and Chris Ellington—have graduated, thrusting talented sophomores Featherston and Coats into load-carrying roles in the lineup. Both are athletic, strong and capable of significantly increasing their production. TCU has big hopes for Von Tungeln (a speedy table-setter in the Jacoby Ellsbury mold) and Elander (a big, physical athlete who reminds the coaches of Vern).
Power: 55. Curry, who has earned comparisons to Matt Stairs in the past, lost 25 pounds in the offseason and looks poised to provide good lefthanded power in the middle of the lineup. Coats and Elander have plus raw power that they're still learning to tap into. Featherston, Holaday, Pena, Weik and even Von Tungeln have good gap power and occasional home run pop.
Speed: 50. Von Tungeln runs the 60-yard dash in 6.5 seconds, while Elander has been clocked at 6.6, making both above-average runners. Coats has average speed, and Featherston is a fringy runner. There is not much speed in the rest of the lineup.
Defense: 50. TCU's infield defense was uncharacteristically shaky for much of 2009, but the Horned Frogs hope the strong-armed Featherston will be more consistent as a sophomore after making 27 errors as a freshman. Witte's bat is a question mark, but the redshirt freshman should start at third because of his strong defensive skills. Pena and Curry must prove themselves on the right side. Holaday has outstanding catch-and-throw skills, while Von Tungeln, Coats and Elander make for an athletic outfield that will cover plenty of ground.
Bullpen: 65. TCU's bullpen features an impressive blend of steady veterans and younger power arms. Marshall and Sr. RHP Tyler Lockwood both command sinkers that reach 90 mph, and Marshall mixes in a very good curveball. Jr. RHPs Trent Appleby and Greg Holle give this staff a pair of veteran long men. So. RHP Kaleb Merck has taken a big step forward, flashing 96 mph heat and a plus slider in the fall, and So. RHP Erik Miller also has power stuff.
Experience/Intangibles: 55. The Horned Frogs played as many as six seniors at times last year, and they'll be asking a lot from their sophomores and freshmen in 2010. But there are plenty of key players with super regional experience on this roster.
Baseball America OFP: 60. Winning a regional for the first time was a big step for this program, which appears ready to take the next step—reaching Omaha.
|C||Jose Iglesias, Sr.||.306/.384/.392||11||45||0|
|1B||Adam Rice, Sr.||.368/.429/.545||7||59||5|
|2B||Steve Davis, So.||.308/.348/.392||1||18||5|
|3B||Scott Woodward, Jr.||.284/.445/.351||1||19||30|
|SS||Taylor Motter, So.||.286/.365/.406||2||31||5|
|LF||Chance Gilmore, Sr.||.328/.412/.609||6||27||12|
|CF||Rico Noel, Jr.||.315/.427/.500||8||45||48|
|RF||Daniel Bowman, So.||.333/.382/.590||13||54||5|
|DH||Tom LaStella*, So.||.320/.419/.400||0||6||0|
|* Stats from 2008 at St. John's|
|LHP||Cody Wheeler, Jr.||10-1||3.83||92||98||0|
|RHP||Anthony Meo, So.||9-2||2.93||77||68||0|
|RHP||Austin Fleet, Sr.||7-2||3.53||64||28||0|
|RP||Brad Goldberg, So.||1-1||2.45||15||17||0|
|Hitting: 60. Two of Coastal's top three hitters (David Anderson and Tyler Bortnick) are gone, but every other key player returns from a team that ranked among the nation's top 30 in batting and scoring a year ago. The patient Rice and the aggressive Bowman are the best pure hitters on the team. Noel and Woodard should make for a dynamic, disruptive duo atop the lineup. With injuries behind them, Woodward, Gilmore and Motter are poised for strong springs.
Power: 55. The Chanticleers will be less powerful without Anderson and Bortnick, who combined to produce 37 percent of the team's home runs last year. Still, Bowman is starting to tap into his above-average raw power, and Iglesias is a quality college power hitter. Rice could also reach double digits in homers.
Speed: 75. Coastal is a strong bet to lead the nation in stolen bases. The Chants have three players with plus-plus speed in Noel (who tied for the national lead in steals last year), Gilmore and Woodward. Bowman is an above-average runner.
Defense: 65. Motter is a defensive whiz at shortstop, and the scrappy Davis should make a fine double-play partner. The outfield might be the nation's fastest, and Noel is a premium defender in center. Woodward is solid at third.
Bullpen: 50. The biggest question facing Coastal is whether it can replace closer Nick McCully. Goldberg, the No. 6 prospect in the Prospect League last summer, sits easily in the 90-94 range with his heavy fastball and complements it with a promising slider. Jr. LHP Matt Rein (5-0, 3.35) is not overpowering but has a solid three-pitch mix. Fr. LHP Stefan del Pino and Fr. RHP Josh Conway had encouraging falls.
Experience/Intangibles: 55. Coastal has plenty of veterans, including a number who played key roles on the 2008 super regional team. But this program still has to prove it can get to the College World Series.
Baseball America OFP: 60. With 47 or more victories in four of the last five years, Coastal Carolina has established itself as a mid-major superpower. But the 2010 team could be Coastal's best yet—and could finally get the Chanticleers over the hump to Omaha.
|C||Jeff Arnold, Sr.||.246/.383/.337||3||32||13|
|1B||Andrew Clark, Sr.||.350/.479/.555||9||55||1|
|2B||Adam Duvall, Sr.||.328/.420/.545||11||51||12|
|3B||Phil Wunderlich, Jr.||.367/.444/.669||18||78||4|
|SS||Ryan Wright, So.||.335/.375/.471||5||66||12|
|LF||Josh Richmond, Jr.||.307/.382/.487||7||31||5|
|CF||Drew Haynes, Jr.||.208/.363/.215||0||13||17|
|RF||Stewart Ijames*, So.||.351/.401/.583||8||39||4|
|DH||Kyle Grieshaber, Fr.||HS—St. Louis|
|RHP||Thomas Royse, Jr.||3-2||3.48||41||48||2|
|RHP||Tony Zych, So.||6-2||3.25||44||31||2|
|LHP||Dean Kiekhefer, Jr.||6-5||5.00||77||63||0|
|RP||Gabriel Shaw, Jr.||3-1||3.73||51||47||3|
|Hitting: 65. Louisville's lineup is packed with physical, offensive players who grind out at-bats. Clark (55-27 BB-K ratio in 2009) stands out most for his mature approach and smooth lefthanded swing, but Duvall, Wunderlich, Ijames and Wright are also patient, well-rounded hitters. The lineup features a good balance of righthanded and lefthanded threats.
Speed: 55. Haynes is a plus runner who must put his speed to better use by making more consistent contact. Grieshaber, Wright, Richmond and Duvall are all average or slightly better runners, and Arnold runs well for a catcher.
Defense: 55. Haynes is a good all-around defender in center, while Richmond and Ijames have strong arms on the corners, though Ijames can't match Richmond's range. The infield defense is solid but unspectacular. Arnold is a good field general with sound defensive skills behind the plate.
Starting Pitching: 55. This unit is fairly deep but lacking in proven front-line pitchers. Royse and Zych both have good size and 90-93 mph fastballs. Royse was hampered by back soreness last year but could take off as a junior. Zych started his freshman year in the bullpen but came up big as a starter down the stretch; he can be dominant if he can refine his breaking ball. Kiekhefer and fellow Jr. LHP Bob Revesz will provide value whether in starting roles or relief. Strike-throwing So. RHP Derek Self (7-0, 3.88) hopes to make the transition from the bullpen to a starting job, likely in midweek.
Bullpen: 60. The Cardinals employed a closer by committee a year ago, and they're still searching for someone to seize the job. The favorite is Shaw, an aggressive, athletic righty with a fastball that reaches 92 and a good, hard slider. Jr. RHPs Neil Holland and Tyler Mathis, Sr. RHP Matt Lea, Fr. RHP Matt Koch and Fr. LHP Zak Wasserman make this a deep group.
Experience/Intangibles: 60. Louisville has a strong core of leaders who have been to three straight regionals—including a trip to the College World Series in 2007 and a super regional in 2009. In just three years, the coaching staff has established its motivational and tactical credentials.
Baseball America OFP: 60. Assuming some of their promising but unproven young arms emerge as stalwarts in the rotation and the bullpen, the Cardinals stand a good chance to bash their way to Omaha.
|C||Xorge Carrillo, Jr.||Tr.—Central Arizona CC|
|1B||Kole Calhoun, Sr.||.313/.437/.583||12||53||10|
|2B||Zack MacPhee, So.||.270/.403/.377||4||39||8|
|3B||Riccio Torrez, So.||.280/.371/.480||6||37||4|
|SS||Deven Marrero, Fr.||HS—Plantation, Fla.|
|LF||Johnny Ruettiger, So.||.360/.511/.480||1||13||12|
|CF||Drew Maggi, So.||.309/.442/.392||0||24||21|
|RF||Matt Newman, Jr.||.305/.442/.466||7||54||6|
|DH||Zach Wilson, So.||.275/.352/.363||0||9||0|
|LHP||Josh Spence, Sr.||10-1||2.37||103||125||1|
|RHP||Seth Blair, Jr.||7-2||3.39||77||78||1|
|RHP||Jimmy Patterson, Jr.||Tr.—Central Arizona CC|
|RP||Mitchell Lambson, So.||9-5||3.01||84||99||5|
|Hitting: 60. ASU's lineup takes a big hit with the loss of Pac-10 player of the year Jason Kipnis, but it should still be a fairly deep, balanced unit. Under former coach Pat Murphy, the Sun Devils annually ranked among the national leaders in walks (they were third last year with 380), and it would behoove them to continue their patient approach now that Murphy's gone. Calhoun, Maggi, Ruettiger and MacPhee are all tough outs who walked more than they struck out last year. Newman, Torrez and his brother Sr. IF Raoul Torrez are classic ASU grinders. Wilson might be the most talented hitter on the roster, but he has yet to prove himself at the collegiate level.
Power: 45. Kipnis and departed catcher Carlos Ramirez accounted for 47 percent of ASU's home runs last year, and there are no obvious power-hitting successors. Calhoun, Wilson and Marrero are the only hitters in this lineup with average power, though Newman, Ruettiger and Carrillo will all run into balls now and then.
Speed: 55. Maggi and Ruettiger are plus runners, while Newman, Marrero and MacPhee have decent speed. Calhoun runs well for a first baseman.
Defense: 60. He's just a freshman, but Marrero has premium defensive skills at shortstop, prompting ASU to move Maggi from short to center field, where his speed should make him a quality defender. Ruettiger and Newman are strong defenders on the outfield corners. MacPhee and Torrez are also good, instinctive defenders, and Calhoun should be able to handle the shift from left field to first. Carrillo, who caught Spence at Central Arizona JC two years ago, has good catch-and-throw skills and handles pitchers well.
Bullpen: 65. The rubber-armed Lambson has one of the nation's best changeups and a fearless demeanor. So. RHP/C Jordan Swagerty plus newcomers Merrill Kelly, Josh Moody and Brady Rodgers make for a solid supporting cast.
Experience/Intangibles: 50. The Devils are still largely dominated by freshmen and sophomores, but many key players return from last year's Omaha team. Of course, an entirely new coaching staff took over in the midst of controversy this winter, and it's too early to measure the full impact of that distraction and the lingering NCAA investigation. For all his warts, Murphy was a proven winner, but Esmay must prove he can handle leading one of the nation's top programs.
Baseball America OFP: 60. Certainly, Arizona State is talented enough to return to the CWS, but all will depend on how well it fills the big shoes of Kipnis, Leake and Murphy.
|C||John Nester, Jr.||.304/.333/.458||5||33||1|
|1B||Richie Shaffer, Fr.||HS—Charlotte|
|2B||Mike Freeman, Sr.||.328/.414/.470||4||44||11|
|3B||Jason Stolz, So.||.315/.399/.385||1||21||7|
|SS||Brad Miller, So.||.273/.405/.345||3||36||16|
|LF||Jeff Schaus, Jr.||.320/.424/.543||13||50||9|
|CF||Wilson Boyd, Sr.||.341/.418/.505||3||46||5|
|RF||Kyle Parker, Jr.||.255/.349/.442||12||52||6|
|DH||Chris Epps, Jr.||.297/.415/.469||4||27||9|
|LHP||Casey Harman, Jr.||7-3||3.95||87||89||1|
|RHP||Scott Weismann, So.||3-1||1.23||37||28||1|
|LHP||Will Lamb, So.||0-0||2.45||22||15||1|
|RP||Tomas Cruz, Sr.||2-3||3.33||46||39||4|
|Hitting: 65. Leading hitter Ben Paulsen is gone, but the rest of Clemson's athletic, versatile lineup remains intact from a year ago. The sweet-swinging Schaus is the best pure hitter in this lineup. He leads a group of five mature lefthanded hitters—Miller, Freeman, Boyd and Epps are the others—that combined to draw 186 walks and strike out just 161 times last year. From top to bottom, this lineup is stacked with tough outs and good line-drive hitters. Jr. OF Addison Johnson, two-way talent Lamb, and sophomores IF John Hinson and C Phil Pohl add quality depth off the bench.
Speed: 50. Miller and Freeman are the only plus runners in the projected starting lineup, though Stolz, Schaus, Epps and Boyd have fringe-average to average speed. Johnson provides plus speed off the bench.
Defense: 60. The infield features four quality athletes with excellent range and strong arms. Nester is a sound defensive catcher with an above-average arm. The outfield defense is average at best.
Starting Pitching: 55. Harman emerged as Clemson's most reliable starter down the stretch last year; his average fastball plays up because of its deception and life, and he commands a very good changeup. Weisman, Lamb (the top prospect in the Coastal Plain League last summer) and So. RHPs David Haseldon and Kevin Brady will compete for the other starter spots. All four have power arms but limited experience as starters—they combined to make just nine starts a year ago.
Bullpen: 60. Again, depth is the strength of this unit, which lacks a shutdown closer but has plenty of dependable veterans, led by changeup/slider specialist Cruz. Five-foot-9 Sr. RHP Justin Sarratt makes up for his size with his tenacity and his quick arm, as do sub-6-foot Fr. RHPs Dominic Leone and Scott Firth. The X-factor is Jr. RHP Josh Thrailkill, who has yet to live up to the potential he flashed in high school.
Experience/Intangibles: 60. Almost every regular returns from a super regional team, and the bullpen has good experience at the back, but the lack of proven starters after Harman is a concern.
Baseball America OFP: 55. The Tigers do not have any superstars, but their balanced, talented roster makes them capable of making a deep postseason run if their pitching develops as hoped.
|C||Yasmani Grandal, Jr.||.299/.410/.599||16||45||2|
|1B||Ryan Perry, Sr.||.200/.308/.400||0||3||0|
|2B||Scott Lawson, Sr.||.333/.444/.489||3||34||10|
|3B||Harold Martinez, So.||.270/.323/.433||9||47||4|
|SS||Stephen Perez, Fr.||HS—Miami|
|LF||Chris Pelaez, Jr.||Tr.—Miami Dade CC|
|CF||Zeke DeVoss, Fr.||HS—Titusville, Fla.|
|RF||Nathan Melendres, So.||.272/.341/.344||1||20||7|
|DH||David Villasuso, So.||.233/.233/.433||1||6||0|
|LHP||Eric Erickson*, Jr.||9-1||4.15||78||63||0|
|LHP||Chris Hernandez, Jr.||7-5||4.76||91||93||0|
|RHP||Jason Santana, Sr.||6-1||5.40||58||36||1|
|RP||David Gutierrez, Sr.||4-6||4.38||72||55||0|
|* Stats from 2008|
|Hitting: 50. Just four starters return from a team that ranked ninth in the ACC in batting (.294) in 2009. Lawson has good bat-handling skills and is the only proven hitter for average in the lineup. Martinez and Melendres are capable of hitting much better than they did a year ago, and the Hurricanes need them to do so. Perez has a good offensive approach and should hit right away, but fellow switch-hitting freshman DeVoss is farther away with the bat. Pelaez is a solid gap hitter from the left side.
Speed: 60. Miami's overall team athleticism is one of its biggest strengths; six regulars run the 60-yard dash in 6.7 seconds or better, led by speed merchants Melendres and DeVoss.
Defense: 65. Grandal has a reputation as one of the nation's best defensive catchers, with a plus arm and good blocking skills. The infield defense could be stellar if the smooth-fielding Perez proves as good as advertised, because Martinez and Lawson are strong defenders. All three outfielders have excellent range, and Melendres also has a plus arm.
Starting Pitching: 60. Miami's rotation could be very strong if Hernandez and Erickson can once again become the one-two punch they were in 2008, before Erickson had Tommy John surgery and '08 Freshman of the Year Hernandez ran into a sophomore slump. Erickson was healthy this fall and showing good feel for his entire four-pitch repertoire. Hernandez also has a quality four-pitch mix, highlighted by his filthy cutter. Santana's stuff is fringy—he relies on his changeup, and he must have good command to succeed. He'll be pushed for the Sunday job by Fr. LHP Jerad Grundy, a power pitcher with an 87-92 fastball, a hard slider and a promising change.
Bullpen: 50. Three things are certain in this world: death, taxes and Jim Morris' bullpen. That said, the masterful Morris will have his hands full replacing All-American closer Kyle Bellamy. Gutierrez relies on his sinker and changeup, but he lacks the heavy sink of his brother Carlos, a 2008 first-round pick. The 'Canes are relying upon power-armed Sr. RHP Taylor Wulf to return strong from Tommy John surgery and serve as setup man. Fr. RHPs Eric Whaley and E.J. Encinosa plus Fr. LHP Steven Ewing form a promising but inexperienced supporting cast.
Experience/Intangibles: 65. Grandal is the lone everyday player remaining from Miami's 2008 Omaha team, but the pitching staff retains several key veterans from that squad. Miami's mystique is one of its greatest weapons—this program expects to contend every single year, and its coaching staff always maximizes its talent.
Baseball America OFP: 55. Miami's talent level might not compare to its absurdly loaded '08 team, but the Hurricanes have a good mix of star power and solid role players. A conference title would be a surprise in the stacked ACC, but Miami will be in regionals, which means it will be dangerous in June.
|C||James McCann, So.||.242/.285/.313||1||11||0|
|1B||Andy Wilkins, Jr.||.319/.442/.638||19||58||8|
|2B||Bo Bigham, So.||.280/.386/.373||1||6||4|
|3B||Zack Cox, So.||.266/.345/.558||13||39||1|
|SS||Tim Carver, So.||.229/.286/.253||0||10||1|
|LF||Collin Kuhn, So.||.256/.369/.372||3||19||11|
|CF||Brett Eibner, Jr.||.231/.375/.510||12||34||3|
|RF||Jarrod McKinney, So.||.197/.290/.213||0||5||7|
|DH||Travis Sample, Jr.||.263/.385/.434||2||16||1|
|LHP||Drew Smyly, So.||3-1||4.66||58||60||0|
|RHP||Brett Eibner, Jr.||5-5||5.00||72||67||0|
|RHP||Mike Bolsinger, Sr.||6-4||2.99||69||79||2|
|RP||D.J. Baxendale, Fr.||HS—Jacksonville, Ark.|
|Hitting: 50. Arkansas' bats went cold for long stretches of 2009, when the Hogs hit just .273 as a team (264th in the nation). Three of the top four hitters from that team are gone, leaving offense as a question mark heading into 2010. The lineup is filled with hitters who punish mistakes but must improve against quality fastballs. But McKinney, Cox, Kuhn, McCann and Bigham are all talented line-drive hitters who should hit for higher averages as sophomores. Even if the Razorbacks don't post a great team batting average, they make up for it somewhat with their patience; last year they ranked 24th nationally with 279 walks. Switch-hitting Fr. OF Matt Vinson brings five-tool potential off the bench.
Speed: 50. The Hogs do not rely upon stolen bases, but they have a group of solid-average to plus runners in Kuhn, Eibner, McKinney and Bigham.
Defense: 50. Arkansas had two reliable seniors capable of playing shortstop a year ago, but Ben Tschepikow and Scott Lyons are gone, leaving a question mark at shortstop. Carver and strong-armed Fr. Matt Reynolds are competing for that crucial job. Cox and Wilkins must improve on the infield corners, but the Hogs have good athletes up the middle in Eibner, Bigham and McCann. Kuhn and McKinney have excellent range in the outfield corners.
Starting Pitching: 55. Smyly came on strong down the stretch, most notably carrying a no-hitter into the ninth inning of a regional game against an offensive Oklahoma team. With ace Dallas Kuechel gone, Smyly now assumes the Friday starter role. Eibner has the best arm on the staff, with a fastball that reaches the mid-90s and a nasty breaking ball at times, but his command comes and goes. The ultra-competitive Bolsinger attacks hitters with an average fastball and a hard slider with vicious 10-to-4 break. He was Arkansas' go-to guy out of the bullpen last year, and if he is needed in relief this year the Hogs will call upon Sr. RHP T.J. Forrest, Jr. LHP Jason Fuqua or perhaps even Baxendale to step into a rotation spot.
Bullpen: 50. Baxendale, Arkansas' top recruit this fall, throws strikes with an 88-92 mph fastball, a good slider and a changeup. The Hogs were thrilled this fall with the development of So. LHP Geoffry Davenport, whose velocity jumped from the mid-80s into the 90s. Quick-armed Fr. Randall Fant adds another lefthanded option, but this is an unproven group, and not overly deep.
Experience/Intangibles: 65. Arkansas got hot at the right time in 2009 and ran all the way to Omaha, helping its talented youngsters build confidence for the future. Dave Van Horn's teams generally have an aggressive, hard-nosed mentality.
Baseball America OFP: 55. It's unclear whether Arkansas overachieved during its '09 CWS run or if it was just living up to its talent. This year's edition will miss the senior leadership of Tschepikow, Lyons and Chase Leavitt, but it could be a stronger, more consistent team if its large, talented sophomore class blossoms.
|C||Jared Avchen, Sr.||.330/.416/.420||2||29||0|
|1B||John Wooten, Fr.||HS—Goldsboro, N.C.|
|2B||Cam Freeman, Jr.||.261/.346/.478||1||3||1|
|3B||Corey Thompson, So.||.467/.500/.800||1||3||0|
|SS||Dustin Harrington, Jr.||.318/.355/.536||14||49||4|
|LF||Austin Homan, Jr.||.354/.452/.418||0||19||2|
|CF||Trent Whitehead, Jr.||.376/.449/.552||7||47||10|
|RF||Devin Harris, Jr.||.344/.413/.580||14||48||13|
|DH||Kyle Roller, Sr.||.336/.451/.578||16||75||4|
|RHP||Seth Maness, Jr.||9-3||4.71||107||83||2|
|LHP||Kevin Brandt, So.||9-2||3.64||82||72||0|
|RHP||Brad Mincey, Jr.||10-5||3.16||83||71||0|
|RP||Seth Simmons, Jr.||3-1||3.69||39||50||9|
|Hitting: 60. Without seniors Stephen Batts, Brandon Henderson, Ryan Wood and Drew Schieber, East Carolina's offense won't be as fearsome as it was in 2009, when it led the nation in hits, ranked fourth in runs and sixth in doubles. But a solid mix of veterans and fresh faces remains. Whitehead is an aggressive, dynamic leadoff man who really makes the Pirates go. Harrington, Avchen, Roller and Harris have proven themselves as good college hitters, while Homan and Thompson have shown flashes of offensive ability in limited playing time.
Speed: 50. Whitehead and Harris are above-average runners, but the rest of the lineup offers little speed.
Defense: 50. The strength of the defense is the outfield, where Whitehead covers a lot of ground and Harris provides a cannon arm. Harrington is a scrappy college shortstop who plays above his tools, but he must cut down his 19 errors from a year ago. The rest of the infield is unproven.
Starting Pitching: 55. Maness, Brandt and Mincey were ECU's best pitchers by the end of 2009, and all three are back to form a dependable if unspectacular weekend rotation. Maness has won nine games in each of his first two seasons; he and Mincey excel at changing speeds and locations, making up for below-average to fringe-average fastball velocity. Brandt does not have a big fastball either, but it has excellent life and deception, and his changeup plays off it well. Fr. LHP Tyler Joyner and Fr. RHP Joseph Hughes figure to compete for the No. 4 starter job.
Bullpen: 55. Like Mincey and Maness, Simmons has had plenty of success thanks to his competitiveness, command and deception. He gives ECU a reliable closer, and So. LHP Patrick Somers should be ready to take over as the primary setup man. This staff lacks power arms but has plenty of competitive strike-throwers.
Experience/Intangibles: 60. With three weekend starters, a closer and five everyday players back from a super regional team, the Pirates shouldn't be intimidated by the perhaps the nation's most rigorous nonconference schedule, which includes home series against No. 2 Virginia and No. 10 South Carolina the first two weekends, followed by a road series at Pepperdine.
Baseball America OFP: 55. If the Pirates handle the first three weeks well, they will be in good shape to host a regional for the second straight year, even if they fail to repeat as CUSA champions. Hosting another regional would be a big step toward finally getting over the hump to Omaha.
|C||Nick McCoy, Sr.||.270/.335/.489||6||28||3|
|1B||Bryan Haar, So.||.298/.349/.496||5||38||0|
|2B||Chris Engell, Sr.||.358/.389/.484||3||37||3|
|3B||Steven Chatwood, Sr.||.327/.375/.459||1||20||0|
|SS||Zach Walters, Jr.||.377/.503/.416||1||24||4|
|LF||Austin Green, So.||.287/.339/.470||5||18||2|
|CF||Kevin Muno, Jr.||.305/.419/.441||2||5||9|
|RF||James Meador, Sr.||.376/.435/.559||6||45||7|
|DH||Victor Sanchez, Jr.||.263/.277/.485||5||23||0|
|RHP||A.J. Griffin, Sr.||8-3||3.33||81||85||3|
|RHP||Kyle Blair, Jr.||3-2||3.13||55||62||2|
|LHP||Sammy Solis, Jr.||1-1||4.50||12||16||0|
|RP||Matt Thomson, Sr.||5-5||5.98||81||88||2|
Power: 45. Sanchez has huge raw power but has yet to put up huge number in college. Haar has good power to all fields, while McCoy and Meador provide occasional pop. The Toreros will rely more on making contact and using the gaps than sitting back and waiting for homers.
Speed: 45. Muno is the lone plus runner in the projected starting lineup. Speed is not a big part of the Toreros' attack—last year they ranked 195th in the nation in steals per game. Fr. OF Matt Moynihan has plus-plus speed off the bench.
Defense: 55. San Diego should improve upon its .961 fielding percentage (161st in the nation). The athletic Walters has a strong arm, but he'll have his hands full replacing mainstay Sean Nicol at shortstop. The other three infield spots are also manned by quality athletes with good defensive skills. Muno has good range in center, while Green and Meador have strong outfield arms. McCoy is steady behind the plate.
Starting Pitching: 65. After two years as a dynamite closer, Griffin moved into the rotation when injuries decimated the USD staff a year ago. His superb command of a quality four-pitch mix is well-suited for a starting role, and his competitiveness makes him a good fit on Fridays. As evidenced by his career strikeout rate of 11.2 per nine innings, Blair has dominant stuff—highlighted by a 90-92 mph fastball and one of the nation's best sliders. Yet Solis might actually be the most talented pitcher on the staff. When healthy, he pounds the zone with a lively 90-92 fastball and a plus changeup, and he is mostly recovered from the herniated disk in his back that derailed him in 2009. If all three starters stay healthy, USD's weekend rotation will be among the nation's best. Strike-throwing Sr. RHP Matt Hauser is the likely No. 4 starter.
Bullpen: 60. Thomson gives the Toreros yet another power pitcher. He works down in the zone with a fastball that reaches 93, but he has yet to put it all together at San Diego. Fr. RHPs Sam Wolff and Mike Dedrick have front-line stuff and could give the Toreros a strong bullpen while they wait for their turns in the rotation.
Experience/Intangibles: 55. The Toreros have had some very talented teams over the last decade but have yet to win a regional. Until they do, their toughness will be questioned. But this team is well-stocked with veterans.
Baseball America OFP: 55. San Diego brought in the nation's No. 1 recruiting class in 2006. This spring is likely the last chance for that group (led by Blair, Sanchez, Solis and Thomson) to live up to its billing. The Toreros will be tested by a brutal schedule, which includes series against No. 5 Rice and at No. 12 Coastal Carolina.
|C||Jesse Wierzbicki, Jr.||Tr.—Walters State (Tenn.) JC|
|1B||Dillon Hazlett, Jr.||Tr.—Allen County (Kan.) CC|
|2B||Tommy Coyle, Fr.||HS—Fort Washington, Pa.|
|3B||Levi Michael, So.||.290/.377/.527||13||57||5|
|SS||Ryan Graepel, Sr.||.283/.374/.385||2||42||2|
|LF||Ben Bunting, Jr.||.336/.423/.431||2||37||5|
|CF||Mike Cavasinni, Sr.||.272/.384/.332||0||24||9|
|RF||Brian Goodwin, Fr.||HS—Rocky Mount, N.C.|
|DH||Chaz Frank, Fr.||HS—Lexington, N.C.|
|RHP||Matt Harvey, Jr.||7-2||5.40||75||81||1|
|RHP||Colin Bates, Jr.||4-4||3.15||60||59||6|
|RHP||Patrick Johnson, Jr.||2-2||3.49||57||77||1|
|RP||Chris Munnelly, Fr.||HS—Winston-Salem, N.C.|
|Hitting: 55. UNC faces the impossible task of replacing the school's all-time leader in hits and runs in Dustin Ackley, as well as fellow hitting machine Kyle Seager (a .353 career hitter) and catcher Mark Fleury. Needless to say, the offense will take a step backward, but it still has a star-caliber player in Michael, a switch-hitter with excellent bat speed. The Tar Heels hope Brian Goodwin can start to realize his five-tool potential as a freshman to give the lineup a second cornerstone piece. Newcomers Hazlett, Wierzbicki and Frank have good line-drive swings and gap power, while Bunting, Cavasinni and Coyle are solid contact hitters without much punch. Graepel is scrappy, too, leaving no easy outs in the lineup.
Speed: 65. All three outfielders plus Michael, Coyle, Hazlett and Frank have slightly above-average or better speed. The Tar Heels ranked 211th in the nation in steals last year, but given their athletic personnel and lack of thump, expect them to manufacture runs more often in 2010.
Defense: 65. Michael is a strong defender at any infield position; he played second a year ago but shifts to third this year while waiting to inherit the shortstop job next year. Graepel is very steady if not spectacular at short, and Coyle and Hazlett are very athletic on the right side of the infield. All three outfielders have good range, and Goodwin also brings a strong arm. He will compete with Cavasinni for the center-field job.
Starting Pitching: 65. Harvey might be the nation's biggest X-factor; when he's on, he can dominate with three plus pitches in a mid-90s fastball, hammer curve and sinking changeup. But he has yet to live up to his potential due to inconsistent command, and now he must replace Alex White in the Friday starter role. Bates, an efficient sinker/slider pitcher, slides from the bullpen to the weekend rotation, where he fits better. The ultra-competitive Johnson attacks hitters with a 90-92 fastball, a good slider and changeup. His fate in his first crack as a weekend starter will depend on his ability to cut down his walks and avoid prolonged innings. Jr. RHP Bryant Gaines and So. RHP Jimmy Messer give the Tar Heels a pair of quality midweek options.
Bullpen: 50. The loss of lefty Brian Moran leaves the bullpen without a proven stopper, but UNC has high hopes for Munnelly, an unflappable, competitive strike-thrower. Jr. RHP Nate Striz has overpowering stuff—a fastball up to 95 and a good slider at times—but must throw strikes more consistently. Talented freshmen Cody Stiles, Michael Morin and R.C. Orlan will have to mature quickly to give this unit some depth.
Experience/Intangibles: 65. After four straight Omaha trips, the Tar Heels have ratcheted expectations pretty high for themselves. Despite their significant losses, they return four everyday regulars and three key starting pitchers with CWS experience.
Baseball America OFP: 55. For the first time in a half-decade, the Tar Heels are not expected to go to Omaha—which might make them even more dangerous. This is not a program accustomed to sneaking up on opponents, but it has a chance to do just that in 2010.
|C||Travis Graves, Sr.||.254/.393/.352||2||12||0|
|1B||Mark Ellis, Jr.||Tr.—Chipola (Fla.) JC|
|2B||Taylor Walker, Sr.||.305/.399/.395||3||29||7|
|3B||Joey Archer, Sr.||.306/.390/.498||10||62||2|
|SS||B.A. Vollmuth, So.||.237/.321/.515||8||28||1|
|LF||Kameron Brunty, So.||.336/.437/.502||7||53||10|
|CF||Tyler Koelling, Jr.||.269/.315/.353||2||27||4|
|RF||Marc Bourgeois, Jr.||Tr.—Chipola (Fla.) JC|
|DH||Anthony Doss*, So.||.216/.275/.324||1||5||0|
|* Stats from 2008|
|RHP||Todd McInnis, Jr.||9-4||3.73||101||90||0|
|RHP||Scott Copeland, Sr.||2-5||6.41||39||22||1|
|LHP||Dillon Day, Fr.||HS—Geismar, La.|
|RP||Collin Cargill, Jr.||4-3||3.55||38||32||13|
|Hitting: 50. The Golden Eagles must replace five key seniors, including four of the team's five leading hitters. The effectiveness of the offense will depend upon how well talented sophomores Brunty and Vollmuth adapt to being the focal points of the lineup; both players are capable of hitting for average. The physical Archer uses the gaps well. The scrappy Walker, Koelling and Bourgeois are tough outs, though not plus hitters. Ellis and Jr. 1B Adam Doleac could form a right-left platoon at first.
Power: 55. The lanky Vollmuth generates above-average righthanded power with ease and slugged .470 with wood in the Cape Cod League last summer. Archer, Brunty and Bourgeois are threats to reach double-digits in homers. The X-factor is the powerful Doss, who missed 2009 after having shoulder surgery but could be ready for a breakout year.
Speed: 45. This team should be a little faster than the 2009 Eagles, who ranked 250th in the nation in steals per game, but speed still will not be a big part of their attack. Brunty, Koelling and Bourgeois are good runners, while Vollmuth and Walker move fine.
Defense: 50. Thanks to a cannon arm, Vollmuth can make some spectacular plays at shortstop, but he is not nearly as consistent as predecessor Brian Dozier. Two infielders must adapt to new positions, as Archer moves across the diamond from first and Walker slides from third to second. The outfield is sound, and Graves is a standout behind the plate.
Bullpen: 55. Cargill has good poise at the back of the bullpen. He is not overpowering, but hitters have a tough time picking up his 82-85 mph fastball because of his deceptive sidearm delivery. Sr. LHP Cody Schlagel also relies on his deception and various arm angles. The sleeper on the staff is raw but projectable Fr. RHP Geoffry Thomas, who flashes a 95 mph fastball and a very promising curve.
Experience/Intangibles: 60. Senior leadership played a big part in USM's surprising Omaha run last year, and this group of seniors must fill the void left by Dozier, Bo Davis and others. Getting to Omaha once makes it easier to get back there, and having veterans atop the rotation and at the back of the bullpen helps. Scott Berry was in the program for nine seasons before taking over as head coach last summer, so the transition from retired coach Corky Palmer should be smooth.
Baseball America OFP: 50. Southern Miss looks like a strong bet to make its eighth straight regional appearance. Getting hot at the right time, as it did a year ago, could land the USM back in Omaha.
|C||Christian Glisson, So.||.333/.333/.333||0||1||0|
|1B||Chase Davidson, So.||.231/.291/.398||3||19||3|
|2B||Levi Hyams, So.||.263/.350/.387||5||24||8|
|3B||Colby May, So.||.339/.433/.558||11||42||3|
|SS||Kyle Farmer, Fr.||HS—Atlanta|
|LF||Johnathan Taylor, So.||.309/.455/.350||0||10||23|
|CF||Zach Cone, So.||.323/.382/.548||4||18||3|
|RF||Peter Verdin, So.||.316/.396/.408||2||8||4|
|DH||Kevin Ruiz, Fr.||DNP—Redshirted|
|RHP||Justin Grimm, Jr.||4-4||4.15||78||72||0|
|RHP||Jeff Walters, Sr.||2-0||4.64||43||46||1|
|RHP||Michael Palazzone, So.||3-0||5.13||33||43||1|
|RP||Alex McRee, Sr.||4-4||6.27||56||56||0|
|Hitting: 50. Georgia lost four of its top five hitters, and six regulars overall, from last year's team. May, a strong gap hitter, is the only proven bat in the lineup, but several talented sophomores are primed for breakout seasons. Cone and Verdin showed off their exciting five-tool packages in strong 2009 summers in the Cape Cod and New England Collegiate leagues. Taylor has the skills to be a disruptive table-setter, while Hyams is a scrapper with good bat-handling skills.
Power: 50. The lineup will be much less fearsome without Rich Poythress (25 homers last year), Bryce Massanari and Joey Lewis (19 apiece). Davidson, an unsigned third-round pick out of high school, has massive raw power and will be counted on to protect May in the heart of the order. Georgia hopes Cone and Ruiz can start tapping into their power this year as well.
Speed: 65. The outfield features three blazing runners in Cone (who has been clocked at 6.45 seconds in the 60-yard dash), Verdin and Taylor. With that trio now entrenched as starters, expect Georgia to run much more than it did a year ago, when it ranked 123rd in the nation in steals per game. Hyams is a heady runner.
Defense: 55. Cone and Verdin both have outstanding range and plus arms in the outfield, while Taylor also covers plenty of ground. Hyams and May are solid in the infield, and the athletic Farmer has the tools to succeed at short, but he must prove himself. The same goes for Glisson behind the plate.
Bullpen: 65. McRee was an effective setup man in 2008 before a bout with mononucleosis derailed his move to the rotation last year. He could be a shutdown closer thanks to a heavy low-to-mid-90s fastball and a power breaking ball. So. RHP Cecil Tanner has even more overpowering stuff, highlighted by a fastball that reaches 98 mph.
Experience/Intangibles: 45. Every projected regular is a freshman or sophomore, and seven of them are moving into full-time roles for the first time. Expect some growing pains along the way.
Baseball America OFP: 50. Georgia's 2008 recruiting class was the most talented and most heralded in school history. If that group can successfully transition to carrying the load, the Bulldogs can be very good.
|C||Steve Rodriguez, So.||.179/.291/.263||2||10||1|
|1B||Justin Uribe, Sr.||.318/.414/.450||3||23||3|
|2B||Tyler Rahmatulla, So.||.222/.346/.244||0||8||2|
|3B||Dean Espy, So.||Tr.—South Mountain (Ariz.) CC|
|SS||Niko Gallego, Jr.||.273/.361/.326||0||27||6|
|LF||Cody Keefer, Fr.||HS—Davis, Calif.|
|CF||Beau Amaral, Fr.||HS—Huntington Beach, Calif.|
|RF||Brett Krill, Jr.||.280/.333/.360||0||2||2|
|DH||Blair Dunlap, Sr.||.301/.351/.496||7||39||15|
|RHP||Gerrit Cole, So.||4-8||3.49||85||104||0|
|RHP||Trevor Bauer, So.||9-3||2.99||105||92||2|
|LHP||Rob Rasmussen, Jr.||4-2||6.45||45||51||1|
|RP||Dan Klein*, So.||2-2||7.64||18||13||0|
|* Stats from 2008|
|Hitting: 50. Last year, offense was a liability for UCLA, which ranked in the nation's bottom third in batting (.285) and scoring (6.2 runs per game). In order to improve, the Bruins need big years from seniors Uribe and Dunlap—two of the best pure hitters on the roster—and strong contributions from newcomers Keefer, Espy and Amaral. The lefthanded-hitting Keefer squares up hard line drives to all fields, and Espy brings a physical presence from the right side. Amaral has the tools to be a catalyst atop the lineup in time, but it's unclear how much he'll hit as a freshman. Gallego and Rahmatulla are contact hitters who simply must make better contact.
Power: 40. Departed veterans Cody Decker, Casey Haerther and Gabe Cohen accounted for 65 percent of UCLA's home run total a year ago. The Bruins say Krill has made big strides since last spring and could emerge as a power source in the middle of the lineup. Espy also could hit double-digit homers, and Dunlap will go deep on occasion.
Speed: 55. Amaral and Dunlap are plus runners, while Keefer and Krill have solid-average or slightly better speed.
Defense: 60. Gallego and Rahmatulla make a very reliable double-play combination, and the athletic Uribe adjusted well in the fall to the shift from the outfield to first base. Rodriguez has strong catch-and-throw skills and works well with the pitching staff. Amaral's speed should translate well to center, and the corners are solid.
Bullpen: 55. The Bruins have a deep stable of quality arms in the bullpen, and they hope Klein can return strong from the shoulder injury that kept him out for all of 2009 and hold down the closer job in 2010. He had a good fall, as did another injury reclamation project, redshirt So. RHP Erik Goeddel, who showed a 90-92 sinker and a good, hard curveball. Juniors Matt Grace and Matt Drummond give the Bruins a pair of solid southpaws in the pen. The X-factor is Griggs, who has shown a mid-90s fastball but must refine his mechanics and command.
Experience/Intangibles: 40. The pitching staff is fairly experienced, but UCLA will rely heavily upon young players in the lineup. Those players must mature quickly to avoid another crippling early-season slump (like last year's 2-10 start) against a characteristically stout UCLA schedule. After struggling under the weight of expectations over the last few years, the Bruins must overcome persistent questions about their toughness.
Baseball America OFP: 50. Even if its offense struggles, UCLA might be able to ride its superb pitching and strong defense to the College World Series for the first time since 1997. The program needs such a run to exorcise the demons of the last few years.
|C||Taylor Hightower, So.||.476/.500/.524||0||2||0|
|1B||Matt Snyder, So.||.298/.387/.489||8||31||0|
|2B||Alex Yarbrough, Fr.||HS—Allen, Texas|
|3B||Zach Miller, Sr.||.341/.438/.502||5||38||8|
|SS||Kevin Mort, Sr.||.286/.357/.318||0||33||4|
|LF||Tim Ferguson, Jr.||.358/.397/.520||2||21||18|
|CF||Tanner Mathis, Fr.||HS—Lake Charles, La.|
|RF||Matt Smith, Jr.||.336/.421/.522||8||59||4|
|DH||Miles Hamblin, Jr.||Tr.—Howard (Texas) JC|
|LHP||Drew Pomeranz, Jr.||8-4||3.40||95||124||0|
|RHP||Aaron Barrett, Sr.||0-1||8.70||30||33||0|
|LHP||Trent Rothlin, Jr.||Tr.—Walters State (Tenn.) CC|
|RP||David Goforth, So.||1-1||2.80||35||36||3|
|Hitting: 60. The Rebels lack star power in the lineup, but they make up for it with solid depth, though they must replace four starters, including catalyst Jordan Henry and RBI machine Logan Power. Mathis has Henry-type skills and could take over as leadoff man, though he won't match Henry's .493 on-base percentage. Ferguson, Miller and Yarbrough make good contact consistently. The Rebels also like the quiet approaches of Snyder, Hamblin and the switch-hitting Hightower.
Power: 60. Snyder and Hamblin both provide above-average lefthanded power potential in the heart of the order. Smith also has big-time raw power from the right side. Ferguson, Hightower, Miller, Yarbrough and Mathis all add decent pop to the gaps.
Speed: 55. Mathis, Ferguson and Yarbrough have above-average speed. Hamblin and Hightower move very well for catchers.
Defense: 65. Mort, who fielded at a .973 clip a year ago, is an outstanding defender at shortstop, and Yarbrough should be a smooth double-play partner. Hightower is an elite defensive catcher and Hamblin has a strong, accurate arm behind the plate as well. The Rebels will miss Henry in center, but Mathis and Ferguson will cover plenty of ground.
Bullpen: 60. The overpowering Scott Bittle (graduation) and Jake Morgan (Tommy John surgery) are gone, but Goforth has a bigger arm than either. He flashes 96 mph heat and a sharp 79-82 slider, and he showed better feel for the strike zone in the fall. Fr. RHP Brett Huber, whose three-pitch mix is highlighted by a wipeout slider, is the likely setup man.
Experience/Intangibles: 55. The Rebels have won four regionals in the last five years and gotten within one win of Omaha three times in that span, but they still have not broken through to the CWS since 1972. Having a premier ace who wants the ball in big games is a rare luxury, but if Mike Bianco rides Pomeranz as hard as he did in the 2009 postseason, he might find the gas tank empty when it matters most.
Baseball America OFP: 50. The Rebels are deep and athletic, but ultimately their fortunes could depend upon how well Barrett, Rothlin and Goforth handle their key roles.
|C||Andrew Susac, Fr.||HS—Carmichael, Calif.|
|1B||Jared Norris, Jr.||.331/.461/.431||3||36||0|
|2B||John Tommasini, Jr.||.220/.338/.280||0||28||3|
|3B||Stefen Romero, Jr.||.291/.361/.466||5||51||1|
|SS||Carter Bell, So.||.294/.393/.412||1||10||2|
|LF||Rob Folsom, Sr.||.283/.333/.364||1||15||0|
|CF||Adalberto Santos, Sr.||.320/.453/.446||4||43||15|
|RF||Michael Miller, So.||.297/.389/.383||1||17||8|
|DH||Danny Hayes, Fr.||HS—Carmichael, Calif.|
|RHP||Sam Gaviglio, So.||10-1||2.73||63||55||1|
|RHP||Tyler Waldron, Jr.||6-4||4.15||93||70||0|
|RHP||Greg Peavey, Jr.||4-3||5.74||63||42||0|
|RP||Kevin Rhoderick, Jr.||3-3||4.18||24||33||9|
|Hitting: 50. A year ago, Oregon State's punchless offense ranked 249th nationally in batting (.278) and 272nd in slugging (.378). The Beavers are built around pitching and defense, but they'll need to swing the bats better than that to make a run at their third national title in five years. Norris, Romero, Bell, Santos and Hayes all have decent line-drive swings and should hit for better average this spring. The lineup has a good blend of left- and righthanded hitters.
Power: 30. No Beaver hit more than five home runs a year ago, and only Romero has any real chance to reach double digits this year—and not a great chance. But the Beavers have some decent gap hitters and should hit more doubles. Susac has the best raw power on the team but must improve his timing at the plate.
Speed: 45. Santos has above-average speed, and Miller runs well also. The Beavers don't have any basecloggers but don't have any real burners, either.
Defense: 60. Fundamental defense was the bedrock of OSU's three straight CWS runs, and the Beavers ranked seventh nationally with a .977 fielding percentage last year. But Oregon State lost key up-the-middle defenders Ryan Ortiz, Joey Wong and John Wallace. There are solid athletes with good hands all around the field, but Bell must prove himself at short. Susac has the tools to be a premium defensive catcher.
Bullpen: 65. The fiery Rhoderick, who attacks hitters with an 89-94 heater and a good slider, anchors OSU's deep stable of power bullpen arms. His max-effort delivery negatively affects his command and drives up his pitch counts, so he must find a way to be more efficient. The Beavers have high hopes for Jr. LHP Kraig Sitton, who has added 15 pounds of muscle and now runs his fastball up to 93. So. RHP James Nygren has similar arm strength, and So. RHP Ryan Gorton and Jr. RHP Taylor Starr add quality depth.
Experience/Intangibles: 55. The Beavers missed regionals in 2008 and did not get past regionals in 2009, so the core group of proven winners from the Omaha teams is long gone. Those CWS teams excelled at maximizing their talent, but Oregon State has underachieved with good talent over the last two years. This spring is the last chance at redemption for the ballyhooed recruiting class of 2008.
Baseball America OFP: 50. The Beavers will go as far as their arms carry them. If everything comes together, as associate head coach Marty Lees said this fall, "potentially this team could be as good as we've ever had." But that's a big "if".