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2005 College Preview: By The Numbers
Compiled by Allan Simpson and Will Kimmey
Southern California has fallen on relatively hard times of late, failing to reach the NCAA tournament the last two years while going just 52-60 in that period. But the 12-time College World Series champions hold the distinction of having more players on major league rosters in 2004 than any college team. Here's the top 10 producers of big league talent among college teams:
The number of Division I coaches responding to a Baseball America survey that thought Texas would win the 2005 College World Series. Defending champion Cal State Fullerton finished a distant second with 21 votes, and its coach, George Horton, was among those who picked the Longhorns to win in Omaha. Longhorn coach Augie Garrido, meanwhile, pegged perennial power Louisiana State to recapture a title it won five times from 1991-2000. Here's how the coaches voted:
The number of Canadians who will be starting catchers at the Division I level, a growing trend in both college and professional baseball. The list does not include Winthrop's Chris Leroux, who was drafted in the ninth round out of a high school in Mississauga, Ontario. Leroux caught his first two years at Winthrop but will be used mostly as a pitcher this year. Here's the list of Division I starting catchers with a Canadian pedigree:
The number of Division I players selected in the 2004 draft that did not sign professional contracts. Of 580 such players drafted, 13.3 percent did not sign, including four players drafted in the first round: Rice RHPs Jeff Niemann and Wade Townsend, Long Beach State RHP Jered Weaver and Florida State SS Stephen Drew. None of the four is expected to play in college this spring as they continue to negotiate, though only Townsend is ineligible to play. By college division/classification, here's the number of players that were drafted and signed from the 2004 draft.
*Players remain under control to the teams that drafted them and are eligible to sign as draft-and-follows prior to the 2005 draft.
The number of Division I teams in New York. Though the Empire State has the most schools, the 22 combined to produce only five 2004 big leaguers--three by St. John's. California, on the other hand, has 21 Division I colleges and their combined output was 88 big leaguers. Here's the top 10 states with Division I programs and the number of '04 big leaguers those schools produced:
Provisional Division I teams whose results count toward the RPI. Dallas Baptist, Northern Colorado and Utah Valley State return while UC Davis (which plays a full Big West Conference schedule), North Dakota State and South Dakota State all enter their first seasons. Welcome to D-I, Aggies, Bison and Jackrabbits. By the way, we love the Jackrabbits nickname though it doesn't quite fit a team that stole just 14 bases (in 18 attempts) last season.
Victories Texas coach Augie Garrido needs reach 1,500. The winningest coach in Division history enters 2005 with a 1,488-701 career mark over 37 seasons and turns 66 on Feb. 6, the same weekend the Longhorns open their season.
Number of games in a weekend series for the Missouri Valley Conference. It had played four-game series, with a doubleheader on Saturday, since 1994. An MVC spokesman said league coaches made the change to save pitching for midweek nonconference games in hopes that it would increase their chances of winning those games and boosting their RPI figures to gain more at-large NCAA tournament bids. The conference did not get an at-large bid in 2004. The Big 10, Horizon and Mid-Continent still play four-game series.
1,201 and 5
Career punt return yardage and punt returns for touchdowns for Miami (Ohio) sophomore Ryne Robinson, the Mid-American Conference record holder in both categories. Robinson, who also caught six touchdown passes as a wide receiver in 2004, plays second base and hit .316-1-9 for the RedHawks last season.
Miami, an independent prior to this year, had not played that many regular-season road games since 1987. The Hurricanes will match that number in their first season in the Atlantic Coast Conference, with 15 league games, a three-game series at Florida and a single contest at Florida International.
Record number of games Minnesota will play at the Metrodome this year. Normally events such as NCAA basketball tournament games and the Minnesota Twins' home dates conspire to keep the Gophers' Dome time down, but this year the schedule lines up to yield 34 total home games, including 11 on-campus games at Siebert Field.
The height, in inches, of 7-foot-1 Notre Dame closer Ryan Doherty. The junior stands as college baseball's tallest player ever and holds a height advantage over any current Fighting Irish basketball player. Louisville sophomore shortstop Chris Cates rates as one of the smallest D-I players at 5-foot-3, nearly a foot shorter than any Cardinals hoopster.
Returning Division I pitchers who recorded 12 or more wins in 2004.
Players on Oklahoma State's 34-man 2005 roster that did not play for the Cowboys in 2004. That figure includes 17 junior college transfers, four four-year transfers and three high school players as second-year coach Frank Anderson sought to improve the team's depth.
Consecutive years Stanford has been ranked in Baseball America's preseason Top 25, the only team ranked every season of the publication's existence. The Cardinal opens 2005 at No. 6. Texas Christian and Winthrop each make their first appearance in the top 25 this year.
The date three of the best five early season college tournaments begin. Fourteen NCAA regional-quality teams face off from Round Rock to Minneapolis to Greenville that weekend, which also marks the debut of ESPNU, the world wide sports leader's college network that should be home to plenty of ollege baseball.