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2016 College Conference Preview: Patriot League

BA breaks down the Patriot League, including our projections for player of the year, pitcher of the year and top prospects.
Members: Army, Bucknell, Holy Cross, Lafayette, Lehigh, Navy.
Team to Beat: Navy. After losing to Lehigh, two games to one, in a nail-biting conference championship series last season that saw the final two games go to extra innings, Navy loses only two starters—No. 2 starter Stephen Moore and second baseman Brad Borosak. Senior lefthander Luke Gillingham will anchor the rotation and team up with juniors Kyle Condry and George Couglin to give the Midshipmen arguably the best pitching staff in the conference. The offense is also in good shape, with reigning Patriot League player of the year Sean Trent looking to build off a junior campaign in which he hit .407/.446/.524.
Player of the Year: Mike Garzillo, 2b, Lehigh. Garzillo brings an exciting blend of tools to the table, and he’s coming off a junior campaign in which he hit .359/.422/.651 with 13 home runs and 15 stolen bases.
Pitcher of the Year: Luke Gillingham, lhp, Navy. Gillingham was a Golden Spikes Award semifinalist in 2015, and he comes back with another year of age and experience. Gillingham’s upper-80s fastball isn’t overpowering, but he has exceptional command and he has a pair of offspeed weapons in his changeup and curveball.
Freshman of the Year: Dan Leckie, of, Lafayette. Leckie’s promising athleticism and strength should allow him to make an immediate impact for the Leopards.
Notable Storylines. The Yankees drafted Lehigh second baseman Mike Garzillo in the 38th round last year, but he opted to return to school for his senior season. Garzillo leads the charge as Lehigh will look to repeat as Patriot League champions for the first time in school history ... While Gillingham’s command and track record make him the clear favorite for Pitcher of the Year, there are several hard-throwers in the conference that could generate draft interest with strong spring performances. Lafayette’s David Bednar, Lehigh’s Brandon Kulp and Holy Cross’s Jon Escobar all have fastballs that can all reach into the low-to-mid 90s.
Tournament: Four teams, two best-of-three series. Semifinals May 14-15. Championship May 21-22.

1. Mike Garzillo, 2b, Lehigh
2. David Bednar, rhp, Lafayette
3. Brandon Kulp, rhp, Lehigh
4. Kevin Long, rhp, Lehigh
5. Luke Gillingham, lhp, Navy
6. Sean Trent, of, Navy
7. Nick Lovullo, ss, Holy Cross
8. Jon Escobar, rhp, Holy Cross
9. Jon Mayer, c, Bucknell
10. Anthony Critelli, 1b, Holy Cross
Joe Musgrove (Jason Miller Getty)

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