11. FRANKLIN PIERCE RAVENS (38-19-1)
Final 2012 Ranking: 28
Despite an uneven season which saw them from drop being a top ten ranked club to dropping out of the rankings altogether, Franklin Pierce had its seventh straight season of at least 35 wins. The Ravens’ season came to a close at the hands of Le Moyne and ended the year as a semifinalist in the East Regional. The Ravens’ successful pursuit of a ninth straight appearance in the NCAA Championships is a likely outcome as Head Coach Jayson King once again has once again put together a formidable lineup in which few clubs in the northeast can match. A few balls dropping in the right place or extra pitches finding their mark could have FPU back in Cary once again.
Few college hitters are as imposing as the reigning consensus East Region Player of the Year Zach Mathieu.
Mathieu, a towering 6’7” first baseman, walloped 13 home runs with 22 doubles and five triples with a .370 batting average last season. Those prolific numbers likely would have been even more impressive had he played for a school which didn’t play in a wood bat conference. Mathieu will be rejoined in the FPU lineup with Matt Walsh, Dan Kemp and LaCroix, each of who can deliver a timely hit to win a game for the Ravens. There is also much optimism in Rindge for the increased development of speedy outfielder Calvin Graves. Graves led the team with a .373 batting average, tied for tops on the club with 25 stolen bases and was named to the All-Northeast-10 Conference Second Team selection after a breakout sophomore season.
Ryan Thompson put up decent numbers last season, going 5-2 with a 3.47 ERA, but it was a substantial drop off from his 2011 numbers when he ranked in the top ten in the nation in ERA (1.23), strikeouts (114) and wins (11) and was a finalist for the Tino Martinez Award. A rebound season from Thompson, who was an All Star in the Cape Cod Baseball League over the summer, could go along way in helping the Ravens get back to Cary as well as propel his MLB prospect status. Hopes are high that Vladimir Camacho and Ryan Leach will also be formidable starters for the Ravens in 2013. Last season Camacho was third on the team in ERA at 3.66, held opposition to a .239 batting average and nearly fanned a batter per inning (65 Ks in 66.1 IP). Leach had similar numbers as he was second on the team in ERA at 3.59, held batters to a .229 average and struck out 67 batters in 72.2 innings. Incoming Raven recruit Paul Covelle also has the ability to put up impressive numbers as he begins his college career.