ST. MARY’S RATTLERS PICKED AS TEAM TO BEAT IN 2013
Last season the Rattlers were pegged as the number four team going into the season, spent the bulk of the year in the second spot and finished the campaign with a run to Cary and a fourth place finish in the final rankings. Along the way the team claimed the South Central Regional championship, won their third straight Heartland crown and their 49 wins marked the second-most in program history. This season Coach Charlie Migl welcomes back a pair of elite starting pitchers, a core of solid offensive producers and a talented crop of transfers which makes the Rattlers the top team headed into 2013.
A number of teams could have easily been awarded the top spot going into the new season. Reigning champion West Chester welcomes back six of eight of the top ERA’s from last year’s team, including über ace Joe Gunkel who went 10-1 with a 2.07 ERA and was named the Most Outstanding Player for the DII Championships; however the Golden Rams need to replace some important bats if they are make the trip to North Carolina once again. Last year’s runner up Delta State would also be worthy of the top spot as the Gulf South stalwart has their top two hitters from last season back in the lineup as well as two of three top starters. Minnesota State, who established a single-season win record and finished third in Cary, will have another roster full of strong arms and powerful bats which make them a favorite to compete for a national title once again. Plus there is always Tampa, the longtime DII standout who will be looking to win the program’s 15th SSC championship and a sixth National Championship in 2013. Also look for Nova Southeastern, fueled by one of the best MLB prospect in Carlos Asuaje and some of the best arms in the nation, to compete with Tampa for regional and national crowns.
Following is the College Baseball Lineup Preseason Top 30. Click on a team for more information about the club and their chances to come home with the national title in 2013.
Rank / 2012 Rank / Team / 2012 Record
1/4 ST. MARY’S RATTLERS (49-11)
2/3 MINNESOTA STATE MAVERICKS (51-12)
3/2 DELTA STATE STATESMEN (49-15)
4/5 TAMPA STARTANS (38-10)
5/10 MOUNT OLIVE TROJANS (44-10)
6/7 CENTRAL MISSOURI MULES (48-9)
7/13 NOVA SOUTHEASTERN SHARKS (35-15)
8/1 WEST CHESTER GOLDEN RAMS (46-10)
9/9 ST. CLOUD STATE HUSKIES (48-14)
10/6 FRANCIS MARION PATRIOTS (40-18)
11/28 FRANKLIN PIERCE RAVENS (38-19-1)
12/15 CHICO STATE WILDCATS (40-19)
13/11 CATAWBA INDIANS (45-17)
14/21 SETON HILL GRIFFINS (46-11)
15/18 SOUTHERN ARKANSAS MULERIDERS (37-17)
16/22 ANGELO STATE RAMS (40-17)
17/NR USC AIKEN PACERS (37-18)
18/17 GRAND VALLEY STATE LAKERS (43-16)
19/25 LE MOYNE DOLPHINS (43-15-1)
20/NR UC SAN DIEGO TRITONS (33-24)
21/23 COLORADO MESA MAVERICKS (39-16)
22/27 ST. EDWARD’S HILLTOPPERS (37-16)
23/26 WEST FLORIDA ARGOS (35-19)
24/29 MERCYHURST LAKERS (39-17)
25/NR MISSOURI WESTERN STATE GRIFFONS (34-17)
26/8 TUSCULUM PIONEERS (48-10)
27/14 SOUTHERN NEW HAMPSHIRE PENMEN (43-15)
28/12 INDIANPOLIS GREYHOUNDS (46-16)
29/19 ARMSTRONG ATLANTIC PIRATES (41-16)
30/20 NORTH ALABAMA LIONS (39-18)
A few other teams to look out for in 2013:
LYNN FIGHTING KNIGHTS (35-15)
Lynn is a complete enigma for 2013. Gone are three of four top hitters including Anthony Boza who hit .388 with 14 homeruns. The Knights have 18 new players, 16 of which are transfers. With so many new faces LU could find themselves in postseason contention or rebuilding just as easy.
WESTERN OREGON WOLVES (40-11)
WOU will once again be strong in the GNAC, but with the losses of Grady Wood who was a Tino Martinez Award Finalist and Bo Folkinga, one of the best bats in the northwest, the Wolves will need some other players to step up big if they are to have another 40 win campaign. Blake Miller is one of the best DII shortstops in the nation.
STILLMAN TIGERS (32-18)
The Tigers were one of the best stories in college baseball last season as they were a win away from advancing to Cary and the DII CWS. They’ll likely manhandle the SIAC once again after running a perfect 21-0 conference record last season, but replicating their South Regional success is a long short – but I’ll be hoping for it.
FLORIDA SOUTHERN MOCS (26-18)
FSC returns six everyday starters and eight of its top ten pitchers from 2012, but the omissions from last year’s roster are too much to make them a top ranked team going into the season. Gone are leading batsmen, including Mike Snyder who paced club offensively and a dominant arm needs to come forward.
CAL POLY POMONA (31-18)
Even with the loss of Geoff Broussard the Broncos have a top shelf pitching staff that will keep the competitive in the CCAA. Coach Randy Betten has a pair of Tino Martinez Award candidate outfielders in Donald Walter and Chris Carlson which could fuel CPP to a CWS appearance.
NEW MEXICO HIGHLANDS (41-16)
The Cowboys have a top hitting ballclub, led by Kyle Davis who hit .374 with a .619 slugging percentage and Josh McMahon who finished the year with a .411 batting average, but the team is an arm or two short of being listed among the nation’s elite. Closer Oscar Almeida, who had 14 saves last season, can close a game if the starting staff can get him the lead.
DIXIE STATE (35-20)
The Red Storm were unquestionably one of the last teams to miss the cut. The Red Storm returns several top batters including Jodan Hanley who hit .384 last season and Cedric Johnson who led the team in homeruns. The starting staff is experienced with Mike Dedrick and Sam Friend who each started 13 games and had 3.55 and 3.64 ERA respectively.
REGIS RANGERS (33-23)
The Rangers are the unofficial dark horse to contend in 2013. Probably not ready to be a player at the national level, but regionally ready and a few wins could propel the team to Cary. Coaches are big on Steven Brault to elevate his game. He was the 2012 RMAC Preseason Player of the Year after batting .369 as a freshman but failed to catch fire last season.