2017 College Preseason Top 25 Capsules: No. 23 Stanford

SEE ALSO: College Preview Index

23. Stanford

2016 Record (Ranking): 31-23 (NR). RPI: 74.
Coach (Record at school): Mark Marquess (1,585-862-7, 40 years)
Postseason History: 29 regionals (last: 2014), 16 CWS trips (last: 2008), two national titles (last: 1988).

Mark Marquess is trying not to focus on the end, but this season will be his last as Stanford’s head coach.
Marquess, Division I baseball’s second-longest tenured coach after Siena’s Tony Rossi, announced last June that he would retire following the 2017 season. The Cardinal’s mission this spring is to send off “Nine” (Marquess’ uniform number) on top.

Stanford has missed the NCAA Tournament in back-to-back years, which Marquess hadn’t done since guiding the Cardinal to regionals for the first time in 1981. This year’s team is set up to end that skid, however.

Stanford took its lumps last year as a younger team, but it now can reap the rewards from that experience. Of last year’s regulars, only shortstop Tommy Edman won’t be back and most of the pitching staff returns as well. Righthanders Tristan Beck and Colton Hock and outfielder Quinn Brodey lead the returners, who were joined this fall by the sixth-ranked recruiting class.

As a result, Marquess said this is the deepest team he’s had in several years.

“We have 10-11 arms we think are competitive,” he said. “We lost Edman, but the bulk of the position players are back. I think that excites us, it excites me. We have a lot more experienced players, a number of juniors and a couple seniors.”

While Stanford’s juniors and seniors provide critical experience, much will be riding on Beck, a draft-eligible sophomore. Beck was thrust into the Friday starter role last year due to Cal Quantrill missing the spring as he recovered from Tommy John surgery.

Beck was the third Stanford freshman to start Opening Day since 1988, joining Mike Mussina and Quantrill. Armed with a fastball that sits in low 90s, a solid changeup and a big curveball, he earned Freshman All-American honors.

“I look at it from a hitter’s standpoint, how I judge them is if I don’t want to hit against that guy,” Marquess said. “Beck, they don’t see him well and they can’t sit on his fastball.”

With Beck at the front of the rotation, Stanford has the best pitcher in the Pacific-12 Conference. Hock gives the Cardinal a second premium arm who has the versatility to start or close games. He served as Stanford’s closer last year and will likely reprise that role, but he started during the summer in the Cape Cod League and during fall ball.

Like most of Marquess’ teams, Stanford should be strong on the mound and in the field this season. But they will have to score more than last year when it ranked 10th in the Pac-12 with 4.74 runs per game.

“It starts with pitching and defense,” Marquess said. “We think we have really good depth in pitching. Now are we going to hit?”

Brodey’s development will be critical in that regard. He led the team with seven home runs last spring and had a solid summer on the Cape, where he ranked fourth in batting (.326). If he can get some support from outfielder Jack Klein, third baseman Mikey Dikroeger or newcomers such as Daniel Bakst, the Cardinal’s lineup looks promising.

“If (Brodey) has his best year that’s really going to help us,” Marquess said. “We have a lot more depth than we’ve had.”

Marquess knows what it takes to get to the College World Series. Going into the year, he isn’t sure whether his last team will be able to get to Omaha, but he believes they’ve got the makings of a great team.

“Teams that are in Omaha have juniors that are the leaders having their best seasons,” Marquess said. “You don’t know what you’re going to get, but we’ve got guys capable of that.”

C Bryce Carter, Jr. .273 .321 .390 1 13 1
1B Matt Winaker, Jr. .254 .356 .360 1 23 0
2B Duke Kinamon, So. .243 .313 .330 2 11 2
3B Mikey Dikroeger, Jr. .220 .301 .365 4 26 1
SS Nico Hoerner, So. .254 .298 .311 0 24 1
LF Quinn Brodey, Jr. .280 .302 .445 7 41 2
CF Jack Klein, Sr. .197 .295 .336 5 21 5
RF Brandon Wulff, So. .270 .356 .338 1 10 0
DH Alex Dunlap, So. .292 .392 .447 4 21 1
Pos. Name, Yr. W L ERA IP SO SV
RHP Tristan Beck, So. 6 5 2.48 83 76 0
LHP Chris Castellanos, Sr. 8 2 3.41 87 42 0
LHP Erik Miller, Fr. HS—Wildwood, Mo.
RP Colton Hock, Jr. 4 5 2.03 58 61 6

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