2013 Small College Preview
In all cases, W-L records are the team's 2012 records. Teams are listed in projected order of 2013 finish.
|TOP 5—HOW THEY'LL FINISH|
|St. Mary's (Texas)||49||11|
|Seton Hill (Pa.)||46||11|
|Delta (Miss.) State||49||15|
Defending Champion: West Chester (Pa.).
Player of the Year: Carlos Asuaje, 2b/3b, Nova Southeastern, Fla.
Pitcher of the Year: Alex Haines, lhp, Seton Hill, Pa.
1. Alex Haines, lhp, Seton Hill (Pa.): Lefty with plus body, fastball with solid-average velocity and good angle to plate; throws strikes and misses bats.
2. Jon Keller, rhp, Tampa: Excellent 6-foot-5 frame and fastball that reaches 95; command, secondary stuff need consistency.
3. Ryan Thompson, rhp, Franklin Pierce (N.H.): Arm issues hampered former UConn transfer in 2012 but he was healthy in Cape Cod League, showing 91-93 mph fastball, good slider.
4. Zach Alvord, 2b/3b, Tampa: Hit .258/.307/.416 with six homers last season at Auburn; needs to tap into power potential by being more selective.
5. Ivory Thomas, of, Cal State Dominguez Hills: Cal State Fullerton transfer lacks power but is plus runner, has knack for getting on base (.400 or better OBP last two seasons with Titans).
6. Tim Mayza, lhp, Millersville, Pa.: Has yet to put it all together with secondary stuff, but has size (6-foot-3, 205 pounds), 91-93 mph fastball, clean delivery.
7. Alex Powers, rhp, Southern New Hampshire: Tremendous 2012 season (5-2, 1.44, 8 SV, 31 IP/48 SO), has overpowering fastball, usually 92-94 from low slot.
8. Carlos Asuaje, 2b/3b, Nova Southeastern: Just 5-foot-8 but has some bat-to-ball skills, gap power; hit .280 in Cape Cod League last summer.
9. John-Austin Shepard, rhp, Tusculum (Tenn.): Closer mentality, 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame and aggressiveness help his 88-92 mph fastball, hard 80-82 mph slider play up.
10. Zak Blair, 3b, Mercyhurst (Pa.): Versatile 5-foot-10 lefty hitter makes plenty of contact (8 SO in 160 AB in 2012); has played 2B, 3B, OF, has utility future; hit .338 in Cape last summer; already 23.
Others to watch: Ethan Bader, rhp, Armstrong (Ga.) Atlantic State; Stephen Cooke, rhp, Indiana (Pa.); Dale Innes, rhp, UNC Pembroke; John Minucci, of, Southern New Hampshire; Lou Trevino, rhp, Slippery Rock (Pa.).
• The Division II championship race should be heated, as many of the top teams from 2012 have reloaded for 2013. Defending champion West Chester (Pa.) gave D-II a Northeastern champ for the first time ever. It lost its middle infield, led by Indians draft pick 2B Joe Wendle, but returns eight key seniors, as well as righthander Joe Gunkel, who threw a pair of complete-game shutouts in Cary, N.C., to earn Most Outstanding Player honors. Fellow Keystone State power Seton Hill, which is in the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, returns its entire weekend rotation, led by LHP Alex Haines, the top prospect in the Division II ranks. Haines hit 95 mph in the New England Collegiate League all-star game and ranked as the NECBL's No. 1 prospect. Jr. RHP Brad Schnelle (9-0, 2.38) and So. RHP Brett Sullivan (6-2, 2.81) also return to the rotation, while So. DH Nick Sell is back to pace the offense. He led the team in the triple crown categories a year ago, batting .380-11-55.
• St. Mary's (Texas) won the national title in 2001 and enters this season as the favorite after a 49-11 showing last year. Three key pitchers return in Sr. RHP Carl O'Neal (13-0, 2.27, 95 IP/93 SO), Jr. LHP Rene Solis (13-2, 1.55, 110 IP/106 SO) and closer RHP Jonathan Perez (1-1, 1.04, 18 SV, 35 IP/34 SO), a fifth-year senior. Another fifth-year, OF Billy Richard (.269, 9 HR) is back with former Houston transfer C/1B M.P. Cokinos (.340, 8 HR, team-best 53 RBIs) to form a powerful, patient middle of the order. Rice transfer SS Derek Hamilton lends a consistent glove to the lineup.
• Tampa has won five Sunshine State Conference championships in the last seven seasons, and coach Joe Urso has reloaded with Division I kickback transfers. This year's group includes LHP Jimmy Hodgskin (Troy), 6-foot-5 RHP Jon Keller (Nebraska) and 2B Zach Alvord (Auburn), who have first-five-rounds draft potential, as well as 3B Sean O'Brien (Florida State) and RHP Caleb Kellog (Louisiana-Lafayette). Keller, an 11th-round pick out of high school in 2010, spent some time as Nebraska's Friday starter last season and had 35 strikeouts in 34 Cape Cod League innings last summer. The Spartans also added two key Florida juco transfers in OF Michael Danner and MIF Jacob Tillotson, who started his career at Florida.
• Delta State (Miss.) was last year's national runner-up and has added an impact Division I transfer of its own in RHP/OF Taylor Stark out of Mississippi State. He went 4-0, 3.16 in 26 innings over two seasons but couldn't crack the Bulldogs' deep pitching staff. At his best, Stark shows an 88-92 mph fastball and hammer curveball out of a 5-foot-11, 190-pound frame. He's also a plus runner capable of playing the infield or outfield. He's poised to join Sr. RHPs Josh Branstetter (7-3, 3.01) and Jordan Moore (8-1, 3.08) in the rotation.
• Francis Marion (S.C.) built the $11 million Griffin Athletic Complex, completed last spring as one of Division II baseball's top showplaces. The Patriots opened the ballpark by beating South Carolina, coming off consecutive Division I College World Series, but they weren't able to capitalize with a D-II CWS trip, losing to Catawba (N.C.) in the regional, and several seniors return to try to finish the deal. OF Jarrod Reed (.333, 32 RBIs) is the top returning hitter, while SS/3B Stephen Tarkenton had an all-star summer in the Coastal Plain League and batted .294 last spring. The pitching staff returns more proven talent, starting with Sr. RHPs Spencer Jordan (10-4, 2.90, 99 IP/95 SO) and Don Sandifer, who has a 19-8 career mark and shifts back to the rotation after working out of the bullpen last season.
• Franklin Pierce (N.H.) coach Jayson King has a better track record than the nation's 14th president, for whom the school is named. King took over a program coming off 10 straight losing seasons; his first team went 17-22, and he's posted winning seasons every year since 2000. This year's club looks particularly loaded, led by perennial prospect RHP Ryan Thompson, who was drafted in 2011 but wasn't picked a year ago as he battled arm injuries. Thompson threw well in the Cape Cod League last year, earning an all-star nod, while Ravens closer LHP Vladimir Camacho struck out 12 in 12 Cape innings. So. C Matt Walsh (.329, 40 RBIs) also was a Cape regular, though he hit just .139. Massive 6-foot-7, 245-pound Jr. 1B/OF Zach Mathieu (.370/.429/.672, 13 HR) was the team's top hitter last season and won the home run derby in the Alaska League last summer.
• Tennessee has been an NAIA hotbed, but Union (Tenn.) is transitioning from NAIA to D-II with a flourish, adding several potential impact transfers. RHP Cody Cunningham(West Texas JC) dominated the MINK League last summer and brings a strike-thrower to the rotation, while speedy OF Brad Royer hit .316 with nine steals in the last year of Southern Utah's discontinued D-I program.
• Other Division I transfers of note include OF Paul Kronenfeld to Catawba from Georgia Tech, and SS Dillon Moyer from UC Irvine to UC San Diego. He's the son of ex-big leaguer Jamie Moyer.
|TOP 5—HOW THEY'LL FINISH|
|St. Thomas (Minn.)||41||10|
Defending Champion: Marietta (Ohio).
Player of the Year: Joseph Odom, c, Huntington, Ala.
Pitcher of the Year: Justin D'Amato, lhp, St. John Fisher (N.Y.).
1. Joel Effertz, rhp, Wisconsin-Lacrosse: On fourth school in four seasons; low-90s fastball and big body (6-foot-3, 240) intrigue scouts.
2. Max Beatty, rhp, Pacific Lutheran: Last year's top prospect missed season battling testicular cancer, returned throwing 92 mph last summer.
3. Collin Radack, of, Hendrix (Ark.): Combines size (6-foot-4, 205 pounds) and speed (6.7-second runner); untapped power potential; hit .393 in Great Lakes League.
4. Kevin Herget, rhp, Kean (N.J.): Small-bodied RHP (5-foot-10, 185) ranked fifth in D-III in strikeouts last spring, then led Valley League last summer in SO (77 in 59 IP), opp. avg. (.194).
5. Joseph Odom, c, Huntington (Ala.): Probably not a pro-caliber defensive catcher but led Valley in home runs (17) during .350/.407/.706 summer.
• Marietta (Ohio) won its sixth national championship last season, defeating Wheaton (Mass.) in the finale of the D-III College World Series. It's the first time the "Etta Express" has won back-to-back championships, but it will have to three-peat without SS Tim Saunders, now in the Cubs system, and ace Austin Blaski, who was 35-7 in his career. Sr. OF Aaron Hopper (.357/.427/.548, 5 HR, 64 RBIs) is the team's top returning offensive threat, while a pair of Sr. RHPs, Luke Langdon (1-1, 1.42, 32 IP) and Mike Mahaffey (7-2, 3.75, 72 IP/65 SO) are the key returnees on the mound.
• SUNY Cortland was national runner-up in 2010 and has made 20 straight regional appearances. Coach Joe Brown has a .784 winning percentage in 13 seasons and returns two seniors to the rotation in RHPs Ray Angelucci (12-1, 1.50) and Mike Hughes (9-2, 2.76, 78 IP/74 SO), plus a strong lineup including SS John Adornetto (.374), OF Michael LaTempa (.350, 4 HR) and Jr. C P.J. Rinaldi (.405 in 74 AB).
• The Division III coaching carousel had some interesting changes. Trinity (Conn.) had to replace Bill Decker after he resigned to become Harvard's head coach; the Bantams hired assistant Mark Lambert on an interim basis. Marymount (Va.) is starting a new baseball program and hired former William & Mary coach Frank Leoni as its inaugural head coach. Leoni also held Rhode Island's top job and has 462 victories in 20 seasons as a D-I head coach.
• Pacific Lutheran returns Sr. RHP Max Beatty, who was the top-ranked D-III prospect in the country entering 2012 but missed the season due to testicular cancer. Beatty had surgery to remove both of his testicles and went through chemotherapy as well but recovered enough to participate in fall practice, after pitching last summer in the West Coast Collegiate League. He has retained his velocity even after the chemo, touching 94 mph last summer and sitting with an average fastball while going 2-1, 4.02 in 40 innings. The Lutes also return So. LHP Trevor Lubking, who pitched in the WCBL last summer after stepping in as the Lutes' new ace in 2012 (5-4, 4.26, 77 SO/68 IP).
• RHP Joel Effertz hopes to get it right this time as he plays for his fourth college team. A 37th-round pick out of a Wisconsin high school in 2009 (Dodgers), he committed to Arizona, didn't play as a freshman and transferred back home to Madison Area Technical CC. He then transferred to Virginia, tossing 12 innings with 14 strikeouts in 2012. Now he goes home again to Wisconsin-Lacrosse. Physical at 6-foot-3, 240 pounds, Effertz needs innings and figures to get them if his low-90s fastball overpowers Division III hitters.
|TOP 5—HOW THEY'LL FINISH|
|Point Park (Pa.)||53||11|
Defending Champion: Tennessee Wesleyan.
Player of the Year: Jake Stone, 3b, Tennessee Wesleyan.
Pitcher of the Year: Myles Smith, rhp, Lee (Tenn.).
1. Myles Smith, rhp, Lee (Tenn.): Started at Missouri, then went to Miami-Dade JC; 6-foot righty has big arm with fastball up to 94 mph; unsigned 16th-round pick of Mets.
2. Cole Swanson, lhp, Concordia (Calif.): Long & lanky at 6-foot-5, 200, pitches in upper 80s with fastball; needs strength to better maintain delivery.
3. Jake Stone, 3b, Tennessee Wesleyan: Modest athlete can hit; had game-winning hit in NAIA World Series last year, hit .375/.493/.575 in Coastal Plain League.
4. Trey Griffin, of, Tennessee Wesleyan: Athletic CF from Georgia spent two years at Santa Fe (Fla.) CC; yet to tap into raw power potential.
5. Robert Greco, rhp, Bellevue (Neb.): No. 1 prospect in the MINK League last summer, where he showed he could start after going 7-1, 2.01 with 58 SO in 45 IP last spring.
6. Clint Terry, lhp, Lee (Tenn.): Giants unsigned 36th-round pick in 2012 throws plenty of strikes, had 1.21 ERA last spring in California JC play.
7. Chase Jensen, 2b/ss, Oklahoma City: Slumped to .262 as a sophomore at Houston as Cougars' cleanup hitter; has solid athleticism, bat potential if he controls the strike zone.
8. Austin Pressly, rhp, Point Park (Pa.): Drafted by Brewers in 2009 out of high school, Pressly still has good size (6-foot-4), raw arm strength.
9. Ricky Claudio, rhp/of, St. Thomas (Fla.): Raw athlete has arm strength with low-90s fastball, has flashed ability to spin slider as well.
10. Robert Prieto, ss, Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.): Venezuelan hit .417/.4676/.554 with just nine SO in 204 AB last year; No. 8 prospect in the MINK League.
• Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) hopes it is moving out of the transition phase after the retirement after the 2010 season of coach Ed Cheff, who won 16 national championships, the last coming in 2008. Athletic director Gary Picone replaced Cheff for two seasons, then stepped down in favor of Jeremiah Robbins, who has no previous ties to the program. Robbins had a successful seven-year stint with Division II Western Oregon, going 252-109. The Warriors get an automatic bid to the NAIA World Series as tournament host and will rely on pitching in Robbins' first season, as Sr. Anthony Armanino (10-1, 1.99) returns to lead the rotation.
• NAIA consistently produces plenty of draft picks, with 44 players picked in the 2012 draft and an average of 42 per year since 2008. This year's top pick could come from the ranks of NAIA newcomers, such as Florida junior-college transfers RHP Myles Smithand OF Trey Griffin. Other newcomers of note include a trio of San Diego State transfers who headed to Concordia, Calif., in OFs Dillon Bryant (.248 in two seasons) and Cody Smith (.268, 9 SB in 2012) and LHP Cole Swanson, a 6-foot-5 junior who had 29 strikeouts in 29 Northwoods League innings last summer.
• Tennessee has become the hotbed of NAIA baseball with Tennessee Wesleyan (2012) and Cumberland (2010) winning two of the last three championships, while Leehas been a national runner-up in 2008 and 2010. Tennessee Wesleyan returns 3B Jake Stone (.407/.507/.692, 13 HR), who ranks as NAIA's best pure hitter, speedy Sr. SS Travis Burnside (.284/.367/.314, 26 SB) and OF Drew Levi (.326/.399/.642). Two key starters are back in the rotation in RHP Corey Rhoney (10-0, 2.31) and LHP Josh Culler (10-2, 3.02, 83 IP/99 SO). Lee has reloaded after the loss of RHP Kris Hall (12-0, 1.71) by adding LHP Clint Terry, who was 7-2, 1.21 last year for JC of San Mateo (Calif.) and 6-foot RHP Myles Smith, who was 8-2, 2.78 at Miami-Dade JC. That duo joines returnees RHPs Jose Samayoa (8-0, 2.70, 7 SV) and Andy Hillis (5-1, 2.73, 7 SV) in a strong pitching staff. Transfer Sr. C Danny Canela should be able to handle them after catching 2012 Freshman of the Year Carlos Rodon at N.C. State last season. Canela doesn't look the part at 5-foot-9, 240-pounds, but he hit .348/.457/.507 last spring.
• Point Park (Pa.) returns seven starters to a lineup that helped post a 53-11 mark last year. Its key newcomer is likely OF/SS Yuliecer Arias, a Venezuelan transfer from Indian Hills (Iowa) JC. Arias played pro ball for the Braves in 2008, batting .241 in the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League.
• Arizona Christian is the opposite of Lewis-Clark State, entering its second year as a program. Athletic director Don Mitchell takes over as head baseball coach as well; he was the first scouting director of the Diamondbacks franchise in 1998-99.
First-Year Coaches Steve Holm, Jordan Bischel On Different Paths To Success
Central Michigan's Jordan Bischel and Illinois State's Steve Holm share similarities as first-year head coaches but took different routes to reach this point.
|TOP 5—HOW THEY'LL FINISH|
|Rio Hondo (Calif.)||40||5|
|New Mexico JC||37||20|
|Grayson County (Texas)||44||16|
|San Jacinto (Texas)||41||25|
Defending Champions: Iowa Western (NJCAA Division I); LSU-Eunice (NJCAA D-II); Joliet, Ill. (NJCAA D-III); Cosumnes River (California JCs); Pierce, Wash. (NWAACC).
Player of the Year: Trey Williams, 3b/of, JC of the Canyons
Pitcher of the Year: Stephen Tarpley, lhp, Scottsdale (Ariz.)
1. Stephen Tarpley, lhp, Scottsdale (Ariz.): Southern California transfer has athleticism, loose arm, firm fastball, at times sharp slider; went 5-3, 3.22, 78 IP/67 SO last year.
2. David Gates, rhp, Howard (Texas): Latest in a long line of Howard power arms was throwing in mid-90s consistently in the fall; transferred after not pitching for Texas Tech in 2012.
3. Trey Williams, 3b/of, JC of the Canyons (Calif.): Ranked at No. 99 on 2012 BA 500; son of longtime big leaguer Eddie Williams has big raw power, inconsistent performance history.
4. Teddy Stankiewicz, rhp, Seminole (Okla.) State: Only higher unsigned 2012 draft pick was No. 8 overall pick Mark Appel; polished prep with average-to-plus fastball, slider, four pitches.
5. Hunter Lockwood, c/1b, Weatherford (Texas): The Big 12 Conference's best returning power hitter after swatting 11 as a freshman at Oklahoma, he's expected to catch full-time as a sophomore at Weatherford.
6. Nic Pivetta, rhp, New Mexico JC: Canadian junior national vet has jumped to mid-90s as he's grown into 6-foot-6, 220-pound frame; raw but hit 97 mph six times in Halloween scrimmage.
7. Cody Gunter, 3b/rhp, Grayson County, Texas: Athletic two-way player turned down Marlins as 19th-rounder; solid lefthanded bat, live arm give him prospect status both ways.
8. Paul Paez, lhp, Rio Hondo (Calif.): San Diego transfer and No. 1 prospect in Atlantic Collegiate League last year has small body (5-foot-9, 185), solid fastball, feel for four-pitch mix.
9. Jonathan Youngblood, of, Meridian (Miss.): The Jayhawk League's No. 1 prospect was a 15th-rounder of the Pirates in 2012; unrefined athlete has plus speed, gap power.
10. Tim Anderson, ss, East Central (Miss.): No. 2 Jayhawk prospect has athleticism and good bat speed with plus power; also a 65 runner; lack of baseball experience hinders.
11. Kayden Porter, rhp/1b, CC of Southern Nevada: Utah's top prep in 2012 has major raw power, big power arm that has touched 95 mph; modest athlete who needs polish.
12. Derek Thompson, lhp, John A. Logan (Ill.): Long and lean at 6-foot-4, 170 pounds, Thompson has good life on a high-80s fastball and a plus changeup that he leans on in any count.
13. Grant Kay, 2b/ss, Iowa Western: Grinder with athleticism; solid-average runner, surprising pop in 6-foot, 185-pound frame, bat-to-ball skills; had 1.061 OPS in New England Collegiate League.
14. Sam Wilson, lhp/of, Lamar (Colo.): Unsigned 20th-rounder in 2011 of Rangers has filled out since HS, pushing fastball into low 90s, touching 94; solid offensive ability but better prospect as pitcher.
15. Jacob Rhame, rhp, Grayson County (Texas): Oklahoma transfer made big progress in Alaska League (4-0, 2.06, 44 IP/40 SO), coupled with velocity gains in fall (up to 94 mph regularly).
16. Anthony Hawkins, of, Fresno JC: Compact righthanded corner player has some of the best raw power in the country in 5-foot-10, 225-pound frame.
17. Greg Milhorn, rhp, Northeast Texas: An Arkansas transfer, Milhorn has flashed a three-pitch mix with a fastball reaching 93 mph; got lost in the shuffle of deep Razorbacks rotation.
18. Connor Williams, rhp/of, Salt Lake: Two-way 6-foot-3, 185-pound athlete came on as a prep senior on the mound, hitting 95 mph in short stints and flashing a tight breaking ball.
19. Trevor Simms, rhp/of, Weatherford (Texas): Football/baseball recruit at Rice transferred to get more playing time; 6-foot-3, 195-pounder is 6.4-second runner; loose arm, raw, solid-average stuff on mound.
20. Daniel Sweet, of, Polk State (Fla.): Unsigned Reds 23rd-rounder has plus speed (6.5 seconds in 60), switch-hitter with athleticism.
21. Jacob Stone, rhp, Weatherford (Texas): Solid-bodied unsigned Reds draftee pitched at 91-93 mph last summer in Cape Cod League; transferred from San Jacinto JC.
22. David Schuknecht, c, Riverside (Calif.): Arizona transfer was a 12th-rounder in 2011, has strength in lefthanded swing, surprising mobility for C; must overcome labrum surgery.
23. Mario Amaral, c, Miami-Dade: Florida State bounceback was unsigned 17th-round pick in 2011; has strong 6-foot-1, 205-pound frame, raw power potential, but position a question.
24. Ryan Miller, c, San Bernardino Valley (Calif.): Physical 6-3, 215-pounder hit .345/.446/.475 as freshman, has above-average speed and arm strength, 6.6-second 60 runner, flashes 1.8-second pop times.
25. Silas Bohannan, rhp, North Central, Mo., JC: Raw, big-bodied reliever unlocked velocity with long-toss program, was bumping mid-90s last summer.
• The highest unsigned player in the 2012 draft was RHP Mark Appel, who returned to Stanford as a senior. The second-highest is RHP Teddy Stankiewicz, the Mets' unsigned second-round pick, who is attending Seminole (Okla.) State. He ranked at No. 137 on the BA 500 heading into last year's draft, 38 spots behind 3b/of Trey Williams, the highest-ranked true freshman in the JC ranks. Williams' father Eddie had a 15-year pro career that included parts of 10 seasons in the majors, while the son was an 11th-round pick of the Cardinals.
• Several of the other top JC players are Division I kickbacks, such as Scottsdale (Ariz.) top prospect LHP Stephen Tarpley, an athletic sophomore who was Southern California's top pitcher as a freshman, going 5-3, 3.22 with 67 strikeouts and just 29 walks in 78 innings. Another D-I kickback, Howard (Texas) JC RHP David Gates, redshirted last season at Texas Tech, after having switched schools as a prep senior. However, Gates has a big arm to go with a pro 6-foot-5, 215-pound frame. "He is truly a power pitcher with a sinking fastball that is in the 93-96 mph range," Howard coach Britt Smith said. "We are looking forward to the season with him on the mound for us." Howard also added notable D-I transfers 2Bs Josh Ake (North Carolina) and 6-foot-9, 270-pound RHP David Palladino (South Carolina-Upstate), who was a 13th-round pick of the Dodgers in 2011, and Fr. RHP Tommy Burns, an unsigned 34th-round pick (Brewers). All three hail from New Jersey originally. Riverside (Calif.) CC—where alum and ex-big leaguer Bobby Kielty has joined the coaching staff as an assistant—added CDavid Schuknecht, who missed out on Arizona's national championship season due to a labrum injury that required surgery.
• San Jacinto (Texas) JC annually manages to assemble a number of talented arms that coach Tom Harrington and his staff usually get throwing 90 mph or more. This year's top Gators include 6-foot-5 Fr. LHP Tyler Hearn; 6-foot-5 RHP Dustin Cook, an unsigned 30th-round pick of the Mets; and 6-foot-7 So. RHP Trevor Teykl, a transfer from Texas who pitched just two games in two seasons for the Longhorns. San Jac should be strongest up the middle with slick-fielding SS Galli Cribbs, who played in the Cape Cod League last summer, and C Braden Mattson, a physical sophomore who played at Texas Christian as a freshman.
• The Jayhawk League, one of the nation's oldest summer college circuits, had a bevy of top JC talent last summer, with three of the top four prospects in the league landing among BA's Top 25 JC prospects lists. A pair of Mississippi JC products ranked at the top in OF Jonathan Youngblood and SS Tim Anderson. Youngblood has been drafted twice thanks in part to his lean, projectable 6-foot-3, 175-pound frame and plus speed, which allowed him to steal 29 bases in 32 tries last summer. Anderson, primarily a basketball player in high school, has more offensive ability at present thanks to bat speed and surprising power, as he hit five homers in the Jayhawk League. He's erratic at the plate and defensively but has plus tools in his speed and arm strength. Another two-time draft pick, LHP Derek Thompson, worked just nine innings last summer after going 8-2, 1.92 in 13 starts for John A. Logan (Ill.) JC.
• Iowa Western won its second NJCAA World Series in the last three seasons and lost just six times a year ago. The unlikely national power reloads around holdover SS Grant Kay and some unlikely new faces such as 2B/SS Jacob Sheldon-Collins, an Australian switch-hitter who joins Aussie RHP James Darcy on the roster; OF/LHP Robert Youngdahl, a 2011 draftee who tossed 36 innings for Kansas State last season; and 2012 draftee RHP Quinn Carpenter, the roster's lone New York native.
• Several of the nation's more prominent programs have new head coaches. Yavapai (Ariz.) lost coach Skye Smeltzer when he left the sport for a job closer to his family in the Denver area; assistant Ryan Cougill, 31, takes over on an interim basis, with former Arizona prep coaching legend Jerry Dawson signing on to assist Cougill. Louisburg (N.C.) has its third coach in three seasons after Morehead State hired away coach Mike McGuire after one season. Keith Shumate takes over in Louisburg after spending 15 seasons from 1997-2011 as North Carolina A&T's head coach. At California powerhouseSacramento CC, head coach Andy McKay is taking a leave of absence to work with his predecessor Jerry Weinstein, who now manages in the Rockies organization. Assistant Derek Sullivan takes over on an interim basis.
• The Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges had tons of coaching turnover, highlighted by Mike Nadeau leaving reigning champion Pierce (Wash.) to be an assistant at Division I Seattle. He was replaced by pitching coach Kevin Davis. At Treasure Valley (Ore.), Rick Baumann retired after 30 seasons as coach, pitching coach and/or athletic director, during which he coached future big leaguers such as Jeff Zimmerman and current Orioles RHP Jason Hammel. Aaron Sutton replaced Baumann.