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2016 College Conference Preview: Ivy League

BA breaks down the Ivy League, including our projections for player of the year, pitcher of the year and top prospects.
Members: Lou Gehrig Division: Columbia, Cornell, Penn, Princeton. Red Rolfe Division: Brown, Dartmouth, Harvard, Yale.
Team to Beat: Penn: The Quakers have struggled to overtake Gehrig Division powerhouse Columbia in recent years, having lost to the Lions in one-game playoffs in each of the last two seasons. Penn loses a couple key contributors from last year’s squad, including catcher Austin Bossart, who was drafted by the Phillies in the 14th round, making him the highest drafted player from the school since Mark DeRosa went in the seventh round in 1996. The Quakers do, however, return arguably the best 1-2 rotation punch in the conference Jake Cousins (5-1, 2.32) and Mike Reitcheck (5-3, 1.72), and transfer lefthander Adam Bleday figures to slide right into a weekend role, with deceptive southpaw Gabe Kleiman rounding out the rotation. Penn’s pitching should give them a chance to beat anyone. Senior shortstop Ryan Mincher (.328/.414/.484) will set the tone offensively, though the Quakers should be expected to take a step back in terms of power without Mitch Montaldo, who hit 10 of the team’s 34 home runs in 2015.
Player of the Year: Rob Henry, of, Brown. As a sophomore in 2015, Henry reached base in 37 of the 39 games he played in, and he hit .363/.430/.531. If Henry’s doubles power translates into more home runs now as he ages, he could be a force in the middle of Brown’s lineup. He also receives strong reviews for his athleticism and arm strength in center field.
Pitcher of the Year: Duncan Robinson, rhp, Dartmouth. Robinson was the conference’s pitcher of the year in 2015, and he brings another year of strength and experience to the table in 2016. Robinson’s fastball-curveball combo helped go 6-2, 2.62 with 52 strikeouts in 65 1/3 innings last season.
Freshman of the Year: Benny Wanger, rhp/1b, Yale. Wanger has a chance to contribute immediately for the Bulldogs, both as a potential rotation member and designated hitter. He brings strength and physicality to the table.
Notable Storylines: Cornell hired former Clemson pitching coach Dan Pepicelli as its new coach in August, replacing Bill Walkenbach. Pepicelli spent the last six years at Clemson, but ahs previous head coaching experience at Division III schools St. John Fisher (N.Y.) and Harwick (N.Y.). At Cornell, Pepicelli inherits a team that went 13-27 last year. The Big Red return their leading hitter, third baseman Tommy Wagner (.308/.365/.352), but will need to find some new pitchers after losing starters Brian McAfee (5-2, 1.77) and Kellen Urbon (2-4, 2.36) as graduate transfers to Duke … Columbia has won the Ivy League three years in a row, and they return a solid group in 2016, but will have to adjust after losing their top four hitters. Those four hitters accounted for 29 of Columbia’s 51 home runs in 2015, and so there’s some pressure on power bats Rob Paller and Nick Maguire, who each hit seven home runs last year, to step forward this spring. The Lions do return a promising group on the mound, including starters Kevin Roy (6-4, 3.34) and George Thanopoulos (6-5, 3.69) … After going 3-3, 6.89 last spring, Yale righthander Chasen Ford has turned the corner for the Bulldogs. He has shown off an explosive fastball-slider combination, and he could become the first Yale player to be drafted since 2013.
Tournament: Division winners play a best-of-three series. May 7-8 at the highest seed’s home field.


Preparation Is Key For Duncan Robinson

Robinson used his time at big league camp to learn from his idol, fellow Dartmouth product Kyle Hendricks.

1. Jake Cousins, rhp, Penn
2. Chasen Ford, rhp, Yale
3. Duncan Robinson, rhp, Dartmouth
4. George Thanopoulos, rhp, Columbia
5. Ryan Mincher, ss, Penn
6. Rob Henry, of, Brown
7. Mike Reitcheck, lhp, Penn
8. Sean Poppen, rhp, Harvard
9. Thomas Roulis, ss, Dartmouth
10. Paul Balestrieri, rhp, Cornell

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