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2016 College Conference Preview: America East



BA breaks down the America East Conference, including our projections for player of the year, pitcher of the year and top prospects.
Members: Albany, Binghamton, Hartford, Maine, Maryland-Baltimore County, Massachusetts-Lowell, Stony Brook.
Team to Beat: Stony Brook. The Seawolves have been the class of the conference for several years, establishing themselves as a Northeastern powerhouse with their Cinderella run to College World Series in 2012. Stony Brook’s rotation took a pair of hits when Ryley MacEachern and Daniel Zamora signed professional contracts, and the Seawolves also lost four-year starter Cole Peragine and on-base machine Robert Chavarria from their lineup. But the depth from last year’s squad is back, and the pitching should be a strength for Stony Brook, with lefthander Tyler Honahan coming back and righthander Cameron Stone owning some of the most electric stuff in the conference. In the outfield, Jack Parenty, Toby Handley and Andruw Gazzola, all three of whom hit over .300 last season. Junior college transfer catcher David Real brings solid physicality and baseball instincts to the table, helping Stony Brook maintain its fundamentally strong and smart style of play.
Player of the Year: Jack Parenty, of, Stony Brook. Parenty is the reigning player of the year in the conference, bringing excellent strike zone awareness and poise to the table. Parenty hit .367/.432/.524 and stole 19 basses last season.
Pitcher of the Year: Conrad Wozniak, rhp, UMBC. Wozniak throws four pitches for strikes, leaning primarily on his upper-80s fastball and cutter. He has outstanding command of his arsenal, and he’s looking to repeat as pitcher of the year after going 4-1, 1.48 in 12 starts last season.
Freshman of the Year: Jeremy Peña, ss, Maine. The Braves drafted Peña in the 39th round last June, but he chose college over pro ball, bringing his quick-twitch athleticism to Maine. He’ll play shortstop and bat towards the top of the lineup from the get-go.
Notable Storylines. UMBC has quickly turned into a force to be reckoned with in the America East. The Retrievers won just 10 games in coach Bob Mumma’s first season in 2012, but have steadily improved since then. They turned the corner in 2015, winning 34 games and finishing second in the regular season. With ace Conrad Wozniak back to lead the rotation and outfielder Nick Naumann, the Retrievers leading hitter last season, back for another year, UMBC should again be a factor at the top of the America East in 2016…Albany’s rotation has a chance to be dangerous, with righthanders Ryan Stinar and Stephen Woods leading the charge. Woods, an unsigned sixth-round pick of the Rays out of high school in 2013, has a mid-90s fastball and a power breaking ball. He could be an early round draft pick if his command continues to move in the right direction.
Tournament: Six teams, double-elimination, May 25-29 in Lowell, Mass.

Rony Garcia Tonyfarlow

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TOP 10 PROSPECTS FOR 2016 DRAFT
1. Stephen Woods, rhp, Albany
2. Cameron Stone, rhp, Stony Brook
3. Toby Handley, of, Stony Brook
4. Ian Strom, of, Massachusetts-Lowell
5. Kevin Lachance, ss, UMBC
6. David MacKinnon, 1b, Hartford
7. Mike Bunal, rhp, Binghamton
8. Ryan Stinar, rhp, Albany
9. Kyle Gauthier, rhp, Hartford
10. David Drouin, rhp, Hartford

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