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2023 Big Ten Season Preview

Season Preview

Our conference preview includes:

  • Projected Order of Finish
  • Preseason Awards
  • Top Prospects
    • Top 30 Prospects, 2023 Draft
    • Top 15 Prospects, 2024 Draft
    • Top 20 Impact Freshmen
  • Team-by-Team Breakdowns

Although the Big Ten could have easily had four teams make the postseason a year ago, only two teams were selected to compete in the 2022 NCAA Tournament. Maryland led the way with a dominant season, both within and outside the conference, leading to the Terps hosting a regional for the first time ever. Michigan enjoyed an impressive run through the Big Ten Tournament to claim the league’s automatic bid, beating Illinois, Maryland, Iowa and Rutgers, the tournament’s top four seeds. Maryland lost to UConn in the College Park Regional final and Michigan lost to Louisville in the Louisville Regional final.

Rutgers, which went 44-15 and finished among the national leaders in runs scored, ERA and fielding percentage, was curiously left out of the Field of 64. Although not as obvious of a choice, Iowa, which boasted one of the nation’s top pitching staff, was also left out. Only three Big Ten teams had made the NCAA Tournament in 2021 after five made it in 2019.

Maryland enters the 2023 season ranked 13th in D1Baseball’s Preseason Top 25 and Terps shortstop Matt Shaw was an easy choice for the league’s Preseason Player of the Year. Three new head coaches were announced over the offseason as Tracy Smith (Michigan), Jim Foster (Northwestern) and Bill Mosiello (Ohio State) were welcomed to the league. It’s a return trip for Smith who served as skipper for Indiana from 2006-14, guiding the Hoosiers to the College World Series in 2013.

Projected Standings

*Teams are listed in order of projected finish. 2022 regional teams in bold.

BIG TEN CONFERENCE

1. Maryland
2. Rutgers
3. Iowa
4. Illinois
5. Nebraska
6. Indiana
7. Ohio State
8. Michigan
9. Purdue
10. Penn State
11. Michigan State
12. Minnesota
13. Northwestern

Projected Regional Teams (3): Maryland, Rutgers, Iowa

Player of the Year: Matt Shaw, SS, Maryland

Pitcher of the Year: Ty Langenberg, RHP, Iowa

Freshman of the Year: Hugh Pinkney, C, Rutgers

Top Prospects/Impact Freshmen

*Asterisk indicates draft-eligible underclassman

TOP PROSPECTS, 2023 DRAFT
1Matt ShawSS/2BMaryland
2Ryan LaskoCFRutgers
3George KlassenRHPMinnesota
4Ty LangenbergRHPIowa
5Mitch JebbSS/CFMichigan State
6Luke ShligerCMaryland
7Max Anderson3BNebraska
8Jason SavacoolRHPMaryland
9Josh Pyne*3BIndiana
10Kade KernCFOhio State
11Emmett OlsenLHPNebraska
12Isaiah CoupetLHPOhio State
13Evan SleightLFRutgers
14Brice MathewsSSNebraska
15Drew ConoverRHPRutgers
16Ben GrableRHPNorthwestern
17Jace KaminskaRHPNebraska
18CJ Hood*RHPNebraska
19Keaton AnthonyRHP/UTLIowa
20Nick DeanRHPMaryland
21Zach VoelkerRHPIowa
22Thomas KaneLHPMaryland
23Jack CrowderRHPIllinois
24Phillip GlasserSSIndiana
25Will SembRHPMinnesota
26Josh TimmermanRHPOhio State
27Will ChristophersenRHPIowa
28Travis LuensmannRHPPenn State
29Connor O'HalloranLHPMichigan
30Justin EckhardtRHPOhio State
TOP PROSPECTS, 2024 DRAFT
1Brody BrechtRHPIowa
2Carter MathisonOFIndiana
3Josh Kuroda-GrauerSSRutgers
4Brock Tibbitts1B/CIndiana
5Trey LipseyOFOhio State
6Marcus MorganRHPIowa
7Cade Obermueller*LHPIowa
8Gavin BruniLHPOhio State
9Josh CaronC/DHNebraska
10Ryan SzczepaniakRHPMichigan State
11Khal StephenRHPPurdue
12Brady Counsell2BMinnesota
13Luke SinnardRHPIndiana
14Alex CalarcoC/1BNorthwestern
15Tommy MolskyRHPPenn State
IMPACT FRESHMEN
1Hugh PinkneyC/OFRutgers
2Devin TaylorLF/1B/DHIndiana
3Kyle McCoyRHPMaryland
4Mitch Voit3B/RHPMichigan
5Jake DresselhouseCFMichigan State
6Cade ObermuellerLHPIowa
7Dylan Carey3BNebraska
8Christian CoppolaRHPRutgers
9Gable Mitchell2B/SSIowa
10Caleb ClarkLHPNebraska
11Landon BeidschiesLHPOhio State
12Greg PaceCF/RFMichigan
13Maximus MartinSSRutgers
14Sam GarewalLHPNorthwestern
15Mike Elko2BNorthwestern
16Aaron SavaryRHPIowa
17Jonathan KimCFMichigan
18Trevor CohenOFRutgers
19AJ ShepardC/1B/DHIndiana
20Henry KaczmarSSOhio State

Projected Regional Teams

• For an in-depth report on No. 13 Maryland, check out our in-depth Top 25 Breakdown on the Terrapins:

No. 13 Maryland Breakdown


RUTGERS

Rutgers

Head Coach: Steve Owens
2022 Record: 44-15 (17-7)

Strengths: Rutgers finished third in the nation in runs scored in 2022 and could have finished higher had they reached the postseason and played more games. Six of the team’s starting regulars are back and several of them appear to be poised to take another step forward.

Question Marks: For the third straight year Rutgers will be tasked with completely rebuilding their weekend rotation. Pitching coach Brendan Monaghan did a fantastic job working with his staff last year as the unit posted a cumulative 4.22 ERA, good for 23rd-best nationally, and they do return a lot of depth complemented by a promising group of newcomers.

Star Power: Center fielder Ryan Lasko had a huge season a year ago, slashing .349/.431/.643 with 42 extra-base hits and 13 stolen bases. He’s projected to be selected in the top 1-3 rounds of the draft and could force his name into the Golden Spikes conversation should his progression continue.

Rutgers outfielder Ryan Lasko (Shotgun Spratling)

Glue Guys: It’s hard to call a guy with 32 career home runs a “glue guy,” but Chris Brito has opted to return for his fifth year in school coming off a huge season. He hit 16 dingers with 74 RBIs a season ago and could split time between third and first base in 2023.

Pick to Click: Evan Sleight, Tony Santa Maria and Josh Kuroda-Grauer enjoyed big seasons in 2022 and there’s reason to believe they could be even better this coming year based on what they showed in the summer and fall. Sleight gives the lineup a much-needed lefthanded impact bat while Santa Maria and Kuroda-Grauer will form an exciting double-play tandem up the middle of the infield. On the pitching side of things keep an eye on second-year righthander Wyatt Parliament who is expected to secure a key role in the weekend rotation.

Top Newcomer: This is a potentially loaded group, starting with freshmen Hugh Pinkney (a catcher/outfielder) and Maximus Martin (an infielder), who could see regular playing time instantly given the strong impressions they made in the fall, particularly Pinkney. Le Moyne transfer Jake Marshall posted big numbers at the Division II level and the staff believes he will have no problem stepping in as the team’s staff ace. Big-bodied freshman righthander Christian Coppola dominated in the fall and is projected to grab the team’s Sunday starting role. Seton Hall transfer Drew Conover has the staff’s best arm and could serve in a variety of roles while JUCO transfer Grant Besser could be an effective closer.

Outlook: After their postseason snub Rutgers has added reason to play with a chip on their shoulder as they went 44-15 in 2022 while finishing among the national leaders in batting, pitching and fielding. The pitching and fielding part of that equation has the most questions to answer with a new-look staff combined with the fact that shortstop Danny DiGeorgio and catcher Nick Cimillo are no longer with the program. The newcomer group has the potential to more than make up for those perceived holes and possibly provide even better overall depth than what the team had last year.

From The Fall Report:

If you have followed Steve Owens coaching career, you know a 44-15 season isn’t out of place. In nine years at Bryant, he reached 40 or more wins four times, and in three of those seasons his Bulldogs advanced to regional play, claiming the automatic bid out of the Northeast Conference.

The NEC Is a one-bid league, although Owens certainly raised the competitive bar while at Bryant. Coming to the Big Ten in his third year as head coach at Rutgers, Owens – and almost everyone else – felt a 40-plus win season would be enough to make last year’s NCAA Tournament even without winning the B1G Tournament. It turns out the Big Ten was almost a one-bid league a year ago – they sent two teams to the postseason – but Rutgers was not one of them despite their 44-15 record.

“It was very disappointing, especially for our players who really played well the whole year [and] put together a remarkable body of work,” Owens said. … CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING THE FULL IN-DEPTH TEAM REPORT


Iowa

IOWA

Head Coach: Rick Heller
2022 Record: 36-19 (17-7)

Strengths: The pitching depth has been long and well identified as a program strength, even with the players the team did lose from last year, including Big Ten Pitcher of the Year Adam Mazur. The Hawkeyes finished fourth nationally in ERA (3.72) and last year’s Sunday starter, righthander Ty Langenberg, is expected to make a seamless transition to Fridays.

Question Marks: For as good as the pitching staff has been in recent years, former pitching coach Robin Lund did leave the program during the offseason to take a role with the Detroit Tigers. Iowa replaced him with Sean McGrath, who served as a pitching coach in the Seattle Mariners organization. Their lineup was fairly top heavy a year ago and one of their two big bats, Peyton Williams, is now in pro ball.

Star Power: Langenberg is a preseason favorite for Big Ten Pitcher of the Year and could be drafted in the top 3-5 rounds. Fellow righthander Brody Brecht also plays football and throws 100 with a wicked low-90s curve. A third promising righthander, Marcus Morgan, struggled with command during his first year but could be a weekend starter if the pieces come together for him.

Iowa’s Ty Langenberg impressed at Hyannis (Aaron Fitt)

Glue Guys: Shortstop Michael Seegers is as steady as they come defensively and brings a contact-oriented approach to the top of the order. The entire lineup is full of glue guys including catcher Cade Moss, second baseman Sam Hojnar and center fielder Kyle Huckstorf.

Pick to Click: Keaton Anthony had a breakout season a year ago, batting .361/.455/.678 with 14 homers and 55 RBIs, leading the team in pretty much every offensive category. He’ll also take the mound this year as the team’s Sunday starter where he shows good command of a three-pitch mix that includes a sinking fastball that hovers right around 90 mph. Left fielder Sam Petersen had a good, not great first season in Iowa City but could be poised for a big, breakout campaign. Will Christophersen’s slider has crazy metrics and should allow him to enjoy success at the back end of the bullpen.

Top Newcomer: Transfers Brennen Dorighi and Raider Tello are expected to man the corner infield positions and could provide a much-needed boost to the offense. The same could be true for outfielder Chase Moseley, who posted video game numbers at the JUCO level. Projected Saturday starter Zach Voelker gives the staff yet another high-octane arm after transferring from Long Beach State. Potential impact freshmen include infielder Gable Mitchell and live-armed lefthander Cade Obermueller, both of whom are the sons of Iowa baseball alumni.

Outlook: Iowa’s postseason snub from last year was overshadowed by Rutgers’, but similar to Ball State in 2021, the Hawkeye pitching staff was one no one wanted to face in regional play. There is significant upside with the pitching staff, the defense appears to be strong and the lineup should be deeper with more threats from top to bottom. Doing the most with their early season non-conference opponents will be key for Iowa to accumulate much-needed resume-building wins.

From The Fall Report:

Iowa head coach Rick Heller doesn’t dance around his frustration not making the NCAA Tournament last season. If you ask, more than likely he’s going to share his point of view. And that’s just not for last season, but Heller strongly believed his Hawkeyes were more than deserving each of the last two seasons.

Last year, Iowa went 36-19, opening the year with impressive wins in neutral site contests against Air Force, Ball State, Bucknell and Pepperdine. They salvaged their appearance at the Frisco College Baseball Classic with a win over Washington State, losing their first two contests to Wichita State and Texas A&M. They split a pair of games in Iowa City against visiting Texas Tech and only lost one series during their Big Ten schedule, losing two of three to Illinois in early April.

They closed out the year winning 20 of their 27 remaining games, losing in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament to Michigan. … CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING THE FULL IN-DEPTH TEAM REPORT

Keep An Eye On

Illinois

ILLINOIS

Head Coach: Dan Hartleb
2022 Record: 31-22 (17-7)

Strengths: The Illini are mature on offense, returning three of their four best hitters from a team that finished in the top half of the Big Ten in all three slash categories and fourth in the overall Big Ten standings last season. 

Question Marks: Replacing Cole Kirschsieper (7-2, 3.40) at the top of the rotation is no easy task, but Coach Dan Hartleb feels good about the depth on the staff and the strides made by several key carryovers. With an 89-94 mph fastball, a tight low-80s slider and a running changeup, Riley Gowens (5-4, 4.86) is a strong candidate take the ball on Friday nights. With bullpen roles yet to be defined, Wright State transfer Logan Tabeling is a power armed righthander with a high spin curveball. He’s a candidate to close, although he has historically struggled to throw strikes in his career.  

Star Power: A stalwart in the lineup since arriving on campus, Branden Comia has slashed .310/.410/.470 during an extended 600 at-bat sample, picking up accolades along the way. The fifth-year senior has periodically struggled swinging wood bats, but he’s coming off his best summer of his career in the Northwoods League (1.074 OPS). Cam McDonald was among the conference leaders in average (.363) and RBIs (59) last season. A versatile defender, McDonald can play all three outfield spots in addition to first and third base.  

Illinois infielder Branden Comia (Aaron Fitt)

Glue Guys: A key arm out of the pen and team leader, Joe Glassey (2-2, 3.99, 3 SV) consistently pounds the zone with 87-92 mph fastballs and parachuting changeups. Second baseman Brody Harding has discerning eye at the plate and gets on base at a high clip (.370). A glove-first shortstop, Cal Hejza doesn’t offer much in the power department, but he takes his walks and has been surehanded defender up the middle in his career.  

Pick to Click: Alright, Danny Doligale already clicked last year when he slashed .340/.438/.467 with a team high 18 stolen bases. The numbers might have been even better, however, if the speedy leadoff hitter wasn’t slowed by some late season injuries. 

Top Newcomer: A transfer from Louisville, first basemen Drake Westcott is a big bodied lefthanded hitter with feel for the barrel and the potential to be a middle of the order run producer. 

Outlook: The Illini were in the thick of the Big Ten race last season, ultimately finishing fourth before following it up with a quick exit from the conference tournament. This is largely the same defense that posted a .976 fielding percentage last year, good for second in the conference. With a veteran laden lineup and an experienced pitching staff, we expect the Illini to compete for a regional once again.  

From the Fall Report:

Despite turning a 22-22 record from the 2021 conference-only campaign into a 31-22 mark last season, Illinois head coach Dan Hartleb is quick to point out more work needs to be done for his team to compete at a level he expects on a year-to-year basis. Their 17-7 mark in Big Ten play led to the No. 4 seed at the conference tournament, but their season came to a quick close after going 0-2 in Omaha against Michigan and Indiana.

It should be pointed out that Illinois’ 17-7 in-conference record was just as good as Rutgers’ and Iowa’s, even if those two teams were seeded higher in the conference tournament. After opening their Big Ten schedule with an 11-2 record, which included a big series win at Iowa, the Illini looked like a dark horse to compete in the NCAA Tournament. That hope faded after series losses to Maryland and Indiana and was squashed by their quick exit at the conference tournament.

“We were better but not good enough,” Hartleb said of the results from the 2022 season. “I expect to finish towards the top of the conference. I expect to be an NCAA team. I expect to win championships. I told our guys last year, ‘You can sit there and say whatever you want, we finished second, we did this and we did that, [but] we didn’t win a championship, there’s no hardware, we weren’t in the NCAA Tournament.’ Again, not acceptable. It’s not why or how we go about our business and it’s something that has to be important to you. You have to be driven to accomplish [success]. There are higher expectations in my mind and everyone involved with the program has to have them…CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING THE FULL IN-DEPTH TEAM REPORT


Nebraska

NEBRASKA

Head Coach: Will Bolt
2022 Record: 23-30 (10-14)
2024 Early-Season Tournament Action: Shriners Children’s College Baseball Showdown (Feb. 16-18)

Strengths: Nebraska endured a disappointing season a year ago after a remarkable 2021 campaign, and one benefit is the number of players on the active roster that participated on both of those teams. Their top four hitters, their staff ace and projected key, high-leverage arms have no shortage of experience.

Question Marks: While several questions remain about the team’s depth and key roles, the team defense is a unit that has a lot of room for improvement. Shortstop Brice Matthews committed 15 errors in 2022 and second baseman Max Anderson – who is making the permanent move from third base – made eight. The team also has new, everyday regulars behind the plate and in center field and first baseman Charlie Fischer served primarily as a designated hitter at Southern Miss.

Star Power: Anderson, the Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2021, has hit everywhere he goes, including two summers spent on the Cape. He’s a career .314 hitter with 41 extra-base hits, including 17 home runs, in two years at Nebraska. Matthews is a dynamic athlete who enjoyed a huge summer in the Northwoods League and is expected to evolve into a more consistent all-around threat.

Projected ace Emmett Olson finished 2022 strong with the staff’s best ERA (2.86) and a 65-to-16 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 66 innings. A 6-foot-4, 230-pound lefthander armed with low-90s heat and a sharp curveball, Olson could go in the top 3-5 rounds of the draft.

Nebraska’s Max Anderson

Glue Guys: Right fielder Garrett Anglim and DH/catcher Griffin Everitt were two of the team’s most reliable all-around players and leaders in 2022. Shay Schanaman and Kyle Perry – effective weekend starters the past two seasons – could form a reliable 1-2 punch at the back of the bullpen.

Pick to Click: Olson and Wichita State transfer Jace Kaminska may form one of the Big Ten’s best Friday/Saturday starting combos. Kaminska wasn’t as strong last year as he was during his freshman season for the Shockers but is expected to return to form for the Huskers.

Top Newcomer: Dylan Carey really opened eyes in the fall effectively forcing his way into the starting lineup at third base. Transfers Casey Burnham (left field), Caden Brumbaugh (center field) and Fischer will also assume everyday roles in the lineup. Michael Garza served as both staff ace and closer for Incarnate Word the past few years as he and freshman lefthander Caleb Clark are expected to take on significant innings as the team’s Sunday and mid-week starters.

Outlook: Nebraska has a lot more depth than they did a year ago when they entered the 2022 season with quite a few young faces. There are still a lot of roles that need to be determined, so don’t be surprised if the team has a different look by midseason than the one they roll out on opening day. There is a lot of room for improvement in all phases of the game with numerous candidates poised to enjoy significantly better seasons.

See the Nebraska Cornhuskers in action at the 2024 Shriners Children’s College Baseball Showdown at Globe Life Field!

From The Nebraska Fall Report:

After finishing the 2021 season one win away from claiming the Fayetteville Regional, Nebraska fell far short of expectations a year ago. Trying to ride the positive momentum from the ’21 season that saw them go 34-14, the Cornhuskers fell to 23-30 overall and 10-14 within the Big Ten Conference, which prevented them from even participating in the eight-team conference tournament. Simply stated: their season came to a close before Memorial Day weekend.

No doubt, the tangible and intangible qualities of 2021 star shortstop, closer and overall team leader, Spencer Schwellenbach, were drastically underestimated. They also lost their staff ace, Cade Povich, as well as their Saturday starter, Chance Hroch. Prized setup man Jake Bunz, who did return to campus, was also lost for the season due to injury.

Of the players that did return, several did not step up in the way that was expected of them. … CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING THE FULL IN-DEPTH TEAM REPORT

The Rest Of The Pack

INDIANA

Indiana

Head Coach: Jeff Mercer
2022 Record: 27-32 (10-14)

Strengths: With the Hoosiers returning eight of nine position player starters, and several key bats off the bench, they should have one of the stronger offenses in the Big Ten. While the college baseball landscape has skewed towards older lineups in recent years, the Hoosiers started four freshmen down the stretch last year and all four landed on the Big Ten All-Freshman Team. 

Question Marks: Tasked with replacing the entire weekend rotation for the second year in a row, starting pitching is an uncertainty heading into the spring. A leader on and off the field, veteran lefthander Ty Bothwell will transition into a starting role after going 3-2, 4.47 in 19 appearances last spring. Luke Sinnard (Western Kentucky), Gabe Levy (Davidson) and Ben Seiler (Siena) constitute a trio of transfers vying for the remaining rotation spots. 

Star Power: After shattering Indiana’s freshman home run record (19) and sporting a team best 1.001 OPS last spring, Carter Mathison underscores the strong position player crop for the Hoosiers. Coach Mercer lauded Mathison’s emotional maturity, zone awareness, and bat-to-ball skills as attributes that allow the lefthanded hitting slugger to get to his power so consistently.

Glue Guys: The captain of the position player group, Phillip Glasser is back to anchor the infield after slashing .346/.442/.479 and making just four errors (.971 fielding %) at shortstop. Sophomore Josh Pyne (.327/.386/.504) is a doubles machine who’s a standout defender at the hot corner. Hunter Jessee is a slasher type player who led the team in hitting (.355) last year. Catcher/DH Matthew Ellis (.962 OPS, 18 HR) hits the ball as hard as anyone in college baseball and was among the national leaders in home runs early in the year. The team’s best defensive outfielder, Morgan Colopy can handle all three spots in the grass. 

Indiana’s Phillip Glasser (Shotgun Spratling)

Pick to Click: Brock Tibbitts (.266/.382/.459, 9 HR) got off to a hot start, and then was solid but unspectacular in the conference portion of the schedule. With some of the best bat-to-ball skills on the team and the ability to draw nearly as many walks (38) as strikeouts (46), I’d expect an uptick in home runs after hitting just two against Big Ten opponents. A catcher by trade, Tibbitts is a highly proficient defender at first base, although he’ll see some time behind the dish this season where his arm strength is an asset. 

Top Newcomer: Tabbed as the 102nd best high school player in the country by Prep Baseball Report, the Hoosiers were fortunate to get Devin Taylor to campus after the lefthanded hitting slugger turned down professional opportunities on his way to Bloomington. A bat-first outfielder, there’s no clear vacancy out of the gate for Taylor, but Mercer has established that he won’t shy away from giving opportunities to freshmen. With an advanced hit tool and budding pop to all fields, Taylor will be in the mix for left field, first base and designated hitter reps. 

Outlook: Indiana will miss Jack Perkins and Bradley Brehmer atop the rotation, but there’s more depth on the staff than there was a year ago. That depth combined with the exceptionally strong position player group should position the Hoosiers to improve upon their 8th place finish in the conference last season. The early season schedule will be telling, as the Hoosiers open at Auburn and then Texas on consecutive weekends to kick off the spring. 

From the Fall Report:

There was significant turnover on the Indiana roster between 2021 and 2022, and that lack of continuity was evident for much of last season. The Hoosiers finished 27-32 (10-14 in the Big Ten), the first season under .500 in head coach Jeff Mercer’s young but accomplished career. 

Indiana retained an especially strong group on the position player side, including four members of the All-Big Ten Freshman team and a couple offensive holdovers who turned down professional opportunities. This group of galvanized veterans welcome another talented crop of newcomers to comprise one of the stronger position player groups in the Big Ten.  

Indiana has done a commendable job of churning out draft talent on the mound in recent years, with seven Hoosiers pitchers selected in the last two seasons, including five weekend starters. The two most reliable arms from last year’s squad – Jack Perkins (Oakland — fifth round) and Bradley Brehmer (Baltimore – 12th) – are the latest Indiana starters to move on to bigger and better things. Additionally, John-Biagio Modugno transferred to Rutgers, tasking the coaching staff with replacing the entire weekend rotation for the second time in as many years…CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING THE FULL IN-DEPTH TEAM REPORT


OHIO STATE

Ohio State

Head Coach: Bill Mosiello

2022 Record: 21-30 (8-14)

Strengths: Outfield figures to be a strength for the Buckeyes, as they return all three starters. From left to right, Trey Lipsey (.293/.461/.482), Kade Kern (.298/.354/.529), and Mitchell Okuley (.287/.397/.476) provide stability in the grass and all hit in the top half of the order.  

Question Marks: There’s a bunch of new names on the pitching staff after bullpen standouts Ethan Hammerberg and TJ Brock got drafted and innings leader Nate Harbertheir departed for Maryland. Junior Isaiah Coupet (5-5, 5.85) has bat-missing stuff at the top of the rotation, but the outlook is less clear behind the talented lefthander. Along with physical lefty Gavin Bruni, transfers Justin Eckhardt (Texas), George Eisenhardt (Xavier), and Josh Timmerman (Wabash Valley) are candidates to round out the rotation.   Wyatt Loncar (2-4, 4.56) and Tim Baird (2-1, 8.41) are two carryovers who could to play pivotal roles out of the pen.  

Star Power: Though just a sophomore, Lipsey has established himself as a leader and showed a remarkable penchant for getting on base last season. The left fielder drew 34 walks and 18 HBPs compared to just 22 strikeouts and he led the team with 14 stolen bases. Expect those stolen base numbers to trend upward this season. Coupet and Kern are accomplished, draft eligible players who should garner more national attention this spring.  

Ohio State’s Isaiah Coupet

Glue Guys: First baseman Marcus Ernst blossomed from a super utility guy to an everyday starter and team leader who led the Buckeyes in hitting (.337) and walks (39) last season. Miami (OH) transfer Cole Andrews adds valuable experience behind the plate after the graduation of two backstops who handled nearly all the catching over the past two seasons.    

Pick to Click: Eckhardt spent the majority of the fall working his way back from an injury that cost him the second half of last spring. He was back and throwing to live hitters in the final weekend of the fall, sitting 90-92 while showing a mid-80s slider and low-80s changeup. If healthy, he’ll play a prominent role for the Buckeyes. Timmerman has a projectable 6-foot-4, 195-pound frame, can run his fastball into the mid-90s, and features a high spin slider.

Top Newcomer: Freshman lefthander Landon Beidelschies may transition to a starting role at some point during his career, but he’s earned a shot to close after missing bats with a 91-95 mph fastball and 78-81 mph slider this spring. Shortstop Henry Kaczmar grew up around the game and has a remarkable baseball IQ for a freshman.

Outlook: The Bill Mosiello era in Columbus begins now, and he’s inherited a handful of experienced players who have attributes suitable for his style of play. A longtime TCU assistant, Mosiello’s prior teams emphasized applying pressure on the base paths and playing fundamental defense. These are two areas where Buckeyes fans can look for immediate improvement, they were last in the conference in fielding percentage (.955) and second last in stolen bases (33) last season. 

From the Fall Report:

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A long-time assistant at TCU and a minor league manager before that, Bill Mosiello has been around the game for the better part of 30 years, earning a winning reputation along the way. Although this is the first D1 head coaching gig for “Coach Mo”, he has a glut of real-world experience that includes hitting coach stints at USC, Auburn and Tennessee to go with four consecutive Omaha berths (2014-2017) at TCU while pulling Associate HC duties under Jim Schlossnagle.

“For me personally, I’m super blessed to have this amazing opportunity,” said Mosiello. “And I’m most excited about the fact that we’ve got a lot of really good players that I’m so fortunate to have.”

Evidence of the impact he’s made from working in the game for three decades, Mosiello assembled a remarkably strong stable of assistant coaches from various parts of the college baseball landscape. The group is headlined by 2021 D1 Baseball Assistant Coach of the Year Sean Allen of Texas, who will serve as the Buckeyes’ Associate HC and pitching coach. Joining Allen is Andrew See from Clemson and Buck Taylor from Kansas State…CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING THE FULL IN-DEPTH TEAM REPORT

MICHIGAN

Michigan

Head Coach: Tracy Smith
2022 Record: 32-26 (12-12)
2024 Early-Season Tournament Action: College Baseball Series at Globe Life Field (Feb. 23-25)

Strengths: Experience. The Wolverines have several key carryovers on the team who battled through the Big Ten Tournament as a five seed, and then were a controversial call away from winning a regional. Additionally, new skipper Tracy Smith has a track record of building winning programs in the Midwest.    

Question Marks: Michigan was second last in the Big Ten in ERA last season (7.02), and they’ll need to replace two veteran arms from last year’s team in Cam Weston (Baltimore – 8th) and Willie Weiss (Clemson).  

Star Power:  Tito Flores has established himself as a consistent run producer for the Wolverines lineup with righthanded thump in the bat. With half of his hits going for extra bases last season, Flores is once again expected to hit in the middle of the order.   

Michigan’s Tito Flores looked good in the Cape Cod League (Aaron Fitt)

Glue Guys: Connor O’Halloran is back to anchor the rotation after finishing second in the Big Ten in strikeouts last season (104). He won’t blow you away with premium velocity, but he competes his tail off on the mound has shown the ability to miss bats with his 86-91 mph fastball, slider with above average spin and a low-80s changeup. Chase Allen (7-2, 4.01) is a physical 6-foot-6 righty who was successful in a swingman role last season (27 appearances; seven starts).

A transfer from San Diego, Cody Jefferis fills a hole at shortstop left by Riley Bertram, who followed Erik Bakich to Clemson. Jefferis was a three-year starter for the Toreros and has a good internal clock at the six-spot. Joey Velazquez (.851 OPS) added a spark to this team last year when he joined them after spring football practice.  

Pick to Click: A first team all-conference performer in 2021, Ted Burton posted a 1.100 OPS as a sophomore, but he struggled to find the same success last year (.251/.375/.458). At his best, Burton offers an appealing mix of speed and power evidenced by his double-digit home run (10) and stolen base (12) numbers. Reducing his 26.5% strikeout rate would help aid a return to 2021 form.   

Top Newcomer: A two-way standout from Wisconsin, Mitch Voit made a splash in fall practice, ostensibly winning the starting third base and closer jobs. On the mound, the six-foot righthander utilized a quick arm while sitting 91-94 mph in a fall scrimmage against Dayton. He also showed how he can impact the game on the offensive side, muscling a grand slam over the wall in left-center against Xavier. Voit’s summer ball teammate (Hitters Baseball), center fielder Jonathan Kim could join him in the starting lineup. Similarly, Greg Pace is a twitchy athlete with elite straight-line speed to make an impact out of the gate.   

Outlook: On the heels of three consecutive regional appearances including a national runner up finish in 2019, Erik Bakish migrated south to Clemson, and several players and key recruits followed suit. Once Smith was nabbed as his replacement, there wasn’t much of an opportunity for the Wolverines to reload via the transfer portal. Additionally, hard-hitting catcher Jimmy Obertop (.281/.388/.507, 14 HR) will miss the first two months of the year recovering from elbow surgery and will be relegated to DH duties when he returns. We’re anticipating a transitional year for Michigan, but the age and experience on the roster will make them a formidable foe on any given weekend.    

See the Michigan Wolverines in action at the 2024 College Baseball Series at Globe Life Field!

From the Michigan Fall Report:

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Michigan averaged nearly 10 runs per game during an impressive run through the Big Ten tournament last May, vaulting the Wolverines into a regional for the fifth time under head coach Erik Bakich. After falling to Louisville in a game seven heartbreaker, Bakich was lured away to Clemson, taking closer Willie Weiss, shortstop Riley Bertram and a handful of recruits with him. 

To replace Bakich, Michigan hired former Arizona State skipper Tracy Smith, whom the Sun Devils had let go in 2021 after an up and down tenure that included four regional appearances in six tries. Smith has Midwest roots, playing and coaching at Miami (Ohio) before taking Indiana to Omaha in 2013 during his stint in Bloomington. A longtime Smith assistant at Indiana and Arizona State, Ben Greenspan was brought in as associate head coach and recruiting coordinator. 

“Well, honestly, it’s been fun,” said Smith on assimilating into a familiar role at a new place. “The guys in the administration, the alumni and just really everybody has made it a pretty smooth transition. I just feel with our network of having been in this league before – most recently my time in Indiana – it’s just allowed kind of a quicker timetable to get back on track…CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING THE FULL IN-DEPTH TEAM REPORT


PURDUE

Purdue

Head Coach: Greg Goff
2022 Record: 29-21 (9-12)

Strengths: Returning seven-of-nine position players from a team that finished in the top half of most hitting categories in the Big Ten, offensive should be a strength for the Boilermakers. Purdue led the conference in stolen bases last season by a wide margin and should be in position to be among the leaders in that category once again. A contact-oriented team, several Boilermakers excel at putting the ball in play and using their wheels to create scoring opportunities. 

Question Marks: After losing Jackson Smeltz and Wyatt Wendell to pro ball and Troy Wansing to Texas A&M, veteran coach Greg Goff is tasked with replacing 35 starts and over 160 innings from the weekend rotation. While the coaching staff is confident with the depth of talent on the roster, they recognize that several talented but unproven carryovers need to take the next step. The most established returnee, junior righthander CJ Backer (2-2, 7.08) is a strike thrower who uses his low-90s sinker to elicit ground balls. After missing last season with Tommy John surgery, getting Calvin Scharpira back is huge for the staff given last year’s turnover. As the staff ace in 2021, the physical lefthander was a consistent strike thrower who went 2-6, 4.96.  

Star Power: Designated hitter CJ Valdez slashed .324/.432/.472 with 14 doubles in route to first team all-conference honors last season. A good blend of athleticism and pop, Cam Thompson cooled off after a red-hot start, but still led the team in OPS (1.031), home runs (13) and RBIs (56). 

Purdue’s Cam Thompson (Purdue Athletics)

Glue Guys: Center fielder and leadoff hitter Mike Bolton used his double plus wheels to swipe 28 bags last season, good for second-best in the conference. Shortstop Evan Albrecht led the team in hitting last season (.365) and like Bolton, he’s a stolen base threat (22 SB). Paul Toetz has accounted for 31 doubles in two collegiate seasons. He’s expected to slide over from second base and handle the hot corner this spring. 

Pick to Click: Khal Stephen’s (3-4, 8.42) numbers are not indicative of his talent level. The righthander sits in the low-90s and showed the ability to bump it up a notch in short stints last season as a high leverage arm out of the pen. He’ll likely transition to the rotation this spring, where his low-80s slider will continue to be an effective outpitch. 

Top Newcomer: A transfer from Wichita State, Couper Cornblum seems like a perfect fit on this Purdue team. A well-rounded athlete, he led the Shockers in stolen bases last season with 15 on a team that didn’t run often. Given Purdue’s style of play, we’re expecting an uptick there. 

Outlook: Purdue enjoyed its best season thus far skipper Greg Goff last year, posting their first winning season and qualifying for the Big Ten tournament for the first time since 2018. If the pitching staff settles into their new roles, the Boilermakers could take another step forward this spring.  

From the Fall Report:

One year removed from the 2021 season when Purdue went 16-26, when all games were played within the Big Ten Conference, the Boilermakers jumped out of the gate a year ago. They didn’t finish as strong as they started (29-21 overall), but they won their first 15 games and rattled off two more wins to open the 2022 season 17-1 before conference play began. By the end of the season they were one of eight teams (out of 13) that qualified for the Big Ten Conference Tournament.

It marked the third season head coach Greg Goff has led the program, his second full year, and that turnaround offers reason for optimism. Goff has plenty of coaching experience with success at previous stops including Campbell and Louisiana Tech, two schools that have continued to have success since Goff was there.

Goff served as an assistant under previous skipper Mark Wasikowski, who is now at Oregon, during Purdue’s successful 38-21 season in 2018 that saw the Boilermakers reach their first regional since 2012. They haven’t made an NCAA Tournament appearance since, but Goff sees the progress his team has made and knows that success doesn’t come instantly…CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING THE FULL IN-DEPTH TEAM REPORT


PENN STATE

Penn State

Head Coach: Rob Cooper
2022 Record: 26-29 (11-13)

Strengths: The Nittany Lions welcome a gaggle of returnees back from a pitching staff that set a program record in strikeouts (503) last season. Top arms Travis Luensmann (2-3, 4.52) and Jaden Henline (2-3, 5.64, 3 SV) are back to reprise their roles in the rotation. Big and physical at 6-foot-6, 234-pounds, Luensmann can run his fastball into the mid-90s, and led the team with 78 punchouts last year. An efficient strike thrower, Henline was deployed as a starter and a closer last year, attacking hitters with a three-pitch mix that includes a low-90s fastball, slider and changeup. Live-armed righty Tommy Molsky started 12 games as a true freshman last season, showing glimpses of his considerable upside. 

Question Marks: Whether it’s his 1.147 OPS or the leadership he provided behind the dish, the loss of Matt Wood to the draft (Brewers – 4th) would leave any program with a void. Josh Spiegel and Tyson Cooper have emerged in Woods absence, both as leaders and candidates to do the majority of the catching. 

Star Power:  A veteran hitter who carries himself like a pro, Spiegel was second-team all-conference after slashing .300/.374/.546 with a team high 17 doubles last season. In addition to seeing time behind the plate, he’s expected to be in the mix at first base and designated hitter. The starting shortstop since setting foot on campus, junior Jay Harry (.333/.414/.469) is a blue-collar player with plenty of arm and above average range. He shows good contact rates at the plate and he’s starting to drive the ball more as he matures physically.   

Penn State’s Josh Spiegel (Shotgun Spratling)

Glue Guys:  Right fielder Billy Gerlott (.748 OPS, 12 doubles) was solid in 2022 after redshirting the prior year, finishing third on the team with 33 RBIs. Tayven Kelley is a two-year starter in the outfield grass who struggled to get it going offensively last year (.509 OPS). The left fielder has the present strength to drive the ball for extra bases, though he needs to cut down on his 36% strikeout rate to tap into the power more consistently. Although the Nittany Lions don’t run a ton, second baseman Kyle Hannon is back after leading the team by going a perfect seven-for-seven in stolen base attempts. 

Pick to Click: Center fielder Johnny Piacentino has been a mainstay in the Penn State lineup for three seasons, slashing .288/.363/.483 during an extended 96 game sample. An instinctual outfielder who gets good reads of the bat, he can run down the ball in either gap. After battling through injuries last season, he’s ready to elevate his game in 2023. 

Top Newcomer: A grad transfer from West Virginia, Daniel Ouderkirk has a colossal 6-foot-9, 256-pound righthander with big time velocity to match. The righthander’s mid-90s fastball helped him punch out 13.68-per-nine as a Mountaineer, but he also walked more than a hitter per inning. He made significant strides over the fall and could end up in the rotation after working almost exclusively out of the pen in Morgantown.    

Outlook: The Nittany Lions qualified for the Big Ten tournament last season for the first time since 2012, and they have the depth and experience on the roster to do it again in 2023.  

From the Fall Report:

On May 13, Penn State scored five runs in the top of the first inning and rolled to a 13-7 win over Ohio State. The Nittany Lions had won 12 of 16 and had all but locked up their first berth in the eight-team Big Ten Tournament since 2013. They were holding steady with an overall record two games above .500 with six regular-season games remaining. They had an opportunity to finish with the program’s second winning record in the last decade.

It’s that part of the season head coach Rob Cooper chose to focus on this fall. It was a building block. Penn State was 11-8 in conference play at that time. It had won games against the top two teams in the league, taking the middle game at Maryland and against Rutgers. It later beat Big Ten Pitcher of the Year, Iowa’s Adam Mazur, in the conference tournament. The Nittany Lions were capable of competing with anyone in the Big Ten. 

“We played well the second half of the year and by the end of the year I really liked kind of the standards and the culture that the guys were enforcing on their own,” Cooper said. “It was a player-driven deal at the end and whenever it is like that, it’s always a good thing for the program and for the success of the team…”CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING THE FULL IN-DEPTH TEAM REPORT


MICHIGAN STATE

Michigan State

Head Coach: Jake Boss Jr.
2022 Record: 24-30 (8-16)

Strengths: With multi-year starters at all four spots, the Spartans are strong in the infield. The top draft prospect on the team and an all-conference performer, shortstop Mitch Jebb (.356/.448/.511) headlines the group. Jebb’s double play partner for two years running, Trent Farquhar (.271/.392/.420) is a tough out at the top of the lineup. At 6-foot-7, Brock Vrandenburg (.809 OPS) is a big target at first base with more raw power than his five career home runs would indicate. Third baseman Dillon Kark (.597 OPS) struggled offensively last season but swung the bat better in the fall. 

Question Marks: Like several other teams in the conference, there’s uncertainty on the mound, albeit the Spartans look to have more depth on the than they did last season. A weekend starter two-years running, Nick Powers is a pitchability lefty who’s works consistently around the plate. Ryan Szcepaniak (4-3, 6.17) is a physical righthander who logged some weekend starts last season, earning a spot on the Big Ten All-Freshman Team. Two-sport standout Adam Berghorst will focus on exclusively on baseball this season after missing last spring with an injury sustained on the gridiron. SIU-Edwardsville transfer Noah Matheny is also competing for a spot after showing solid feel for his three-pitch mix over the fall.  

Star Power:  Jebb burst onto the scene as a skinny quick twitch athlete who showed glimpses of next level talent as a freshman, then he elevated his game to the next level as a sophomore. He added some muscle to his frame last year, while retaining his elite straight-line speed and showed remarkable plate discipline last season, drawing 38 walks compared to just 16 strikeouts. Jebb’s star continued to shine on the big stage of the Cape Cod League last summer, hitting .356 and swiping 26 bases.  

Michigan State’s Mitch Jebb (Aaron Fitt)

Glue Guys: Farquhar is a hard-nosed player who Boss described as like having another coach on the field. Left fielder Casey Mayes led the Big Ten in doubles last season (7). An oft-used bullpen arm and leader on the pitching staff, Wyatt Rush attacks hitters with an upper-80s fastball and 78-79 mph breaker. 

Pick to Click: Jack Frank led the team in doubles (16), home runs (9) and slugging (.527) last season, and there’s more meat on the bone.  

Top Newcomer: Freshman Jake Dresselhouse was impressive in the fall, winning the MVP honors in Sparty’s inaugural Green and White Series and earning the starting center field gig. A product of an Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (Mich.) team that went 44-0 in route winning their third straight state championship, Dresselhouse could play a key role in returning Michigan State to Big Ten prominence.

Outlook: On paper, the Spartans should improve upon their 12th place finish in the conference last season and will look to qualify for a spot in the Big Ten Tournament for the first time since 2018.  

From the Fall Report:

Michigan State had a winning record in the non-conference portion of the schedule last season, but struggled against Big Ten opponents, finishing 8-16 and 12th place in the league. This looks to be an improved Spartans team heading into 2023. They return nearly everyone on offense, including an upper tier draft prospect, and they’re healthier and deeper on the mound than they were a year ago.  

“I thought we had a really good fall,” said head coach Jake Boss. “There’s a lot back on the offensive side. A lot of guys have had significant at-bats here for a couple of years now, so we feel good about that. We had a couple of freshmen that really did a nice job for us position player wise and we’re much deeper on the mound than we were a year ago. We’re also healthy for the most part finally. Those were the biggest things that I thought really hurt us last year, the lack of depth because of injury, especially on the mound…” CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING THE FULL IN-DEPTH TEAM REPORT


MINNESOTA

Minnesota

Head Coach: John Anderson
2022 Record: 16-36 (6-18)

Strengths: Few programs got hit as hard by the COVID pandemic as Minnesota and they’re coming off a strong fall with zero disruptions. Several players were able to enjoy healthy and productive summer seasons leading to more reasons for optimism looking ahead to 2023. There are several hard-throwing hurlers on the staff that have encouraging upside despite limited experience.

Question Marks: The lack of experience on the pitching staff means several roles have yet to be determined. Several of the projected impact players in the everyday lineup are similarly inexperienced making it difficult to project productivity.

Star Power: George Klassen throws 99-102 with little effort and a wicked mid- to upper-80s slider. He’s approaching being two years removed from TJ surgery although it remains to be seen if he’ll have a greater impact in the weekend rotation or the back-end of the bullpen. Will Semb is in a similar situation, best used in short burst with a nasty 1-2 punch but may start due to need.

Minnesota’s George Klassen (Minnesota Athletics)

Glue Guys: Brett Bateman does a fine job setting the tone at the top of the order and in center field with his speed-based profile and ability to get on base. Kyle Bork, Boston Merila and Riley Swenson give the lineup three more reliable, experienced hitters. Richie Holetz is expected to provide valuable innings, possibly in a swing role.

Pick to Click: Second year infielders Brady Counsell (second base) and Jake Perry (third base) looked strong in the fall and are expected to be the team’s Nos. 2 and 3 hitters this year. A pair of second-year hurlers – lefthander Tucker Novotny and righthander Sam Malec – will also be counted on to provide valuable innings and could serve as the team’s Friday and Saturday starters. Sophomore righthander Seth Clausen was one of the standouts in the fall armed with a low-90s fastball and a sharp breaking ball and is expected to develop into a shut-down closer.

Top Newcomer: Ike Mezzenga is a dynamic athlete that can play just about anywhere on the field. He’ll be asked to serve as the team’s everyday starter at shortstop after posting big offensive numbers at the JUCO level last spring and over the summer. Sam Hunt transferred back home from Vanderbilt and will see regular playing time behind the plate. Freshman Weber Neels will split time with Hunt behind the plate and fellow freshman Kris Hokansen has two-way upside that could lead to time in both right field and on the mound. Two more JUCO transfers, outfielder Brady Jurgella and lefthander Connor Wietgrefe, are expected to receive regular playing time.

Outlook: Getting the organization back on track would be a positive development for the Gophers who have endured two of their most challenging seasons in program history. There is quite a bit of youth and the most positive developments are among their second-year players. That could lead to another sub-.500 season but one Minnesota hopes will have more overall and individual reasons for optimism.

From The Fall Report:

Long-time Minnesota Head Coach John Anderson has seen a thing or two during his time with the Gophers, but he’s never experienced as challenging of a stretch as he has the past two years. In 2021, playing a conference-only schedule, the Gophers went 6-31. Last year they improved to 16-36, which is notable since prior to the 2020 season Anderson’s previous low mark for wins in a season was 20 (20-35 in 2008).

The Gophers have accumulated 30 or more wins in 31 of Anderson’s 41 seasons at the helm, and they’re just a few short years removed from their remarkable 2018 campaign in which they hosted a regional before falling to the eventual national champion Oregon State Beavers in the Corvallis Super Regional. Overall, Anderson has guided Minnesota to 19 NCAA Tournament appearances.

And while Minnesota was hit harder than most by numerous COVID-based shutdowns the past two years, it’s been a very long time since this proud program has experienced these levels of struggles. … CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING THE FULL IN-DEPTH TEAM REPORT


Northwestern

NORTHWESTERN

Head Coach: Jim Foster
2022 Record: 24-27 (10-14)

Strengths: New Head Coach Jim Foster and his staff are optimistic the pitching staff will compete on a day-to-day basis thanks to the return of key contributors including staff ace Michael Farinelli, Saturday starter Grant Comstock, Coby Moe, David Utagawa and Jack Sauser.

Question Marks: The team’s top four hitters from the 2022 season transferred to SEC and ACC programs leaving a lack of proven, impact bats.

Star Power: Although he didn’t play last spring, righthander Ben Grable is the team’s top prospect when healthy and was throwing 93-96 and touching 98 in the fall. At 6-foot-4 he remains very projectable and is expected to be the team’s closer.

Glue Guys: Stephen Hrustich will likely see more of his time in left field but he can play first base/DH and can also catch when needed. He has hit 11 and 10 home runs the last two seasons and will bat cleanup. Tony Livermore (shortstop) and Vince Bianchina (third base) will form an experienced, sure-handed left side of the infield with line drive approaches at the plate. Moe has been a staple in the NU bullpen for several years with a rubber arm and bulldog approach.

Stephen Hrustich (right) (Northwestern Athletics)

Pick to Click: Alex Calarco is the younger brother of Anthony Calarco (who is now at Ole Miss) and is expected to enjoy a much more productive season as a sophomore. He will see time at both first base and catcher while batting third. Comstock showed promise serving as the team’s Sunday starter as a freshman and has one of the staff’s better arms.

Top Newcomer: Half of the lineup could consist of newcomers including transfers Griffin Arnone (center field), Kevin Ferrer (DH) and Cooper Foard (catcher) as well as freshmen Mike Elko (second base) and Owen McElfatrick (right field). Transfer righthander Luke Benneche and freshman lefthander Sam Garewal are expected to serve as two of the staff’s weekend arms.

Outlook: Coach Foster is intent on building Northwestern the way he has enjoyed success at previous stops, which could initially lead to a challenging season as he looks to mesh the inherited talent with his style of play. There is reason for optimism based on the development of players such as Grable and Calarco, while Elko and Garewal are two young recruits the team is very excited about. Regardless of the projected standings in the Big Ten, Northwestern always proves to be a scrappy team to deal with and Foster’s aggressive approach on offense while emphasizing pitching and defense will lead to more than a handful of upsets.

From The Fall Report:

Northwestern’s athletic department has received a significant facelift in recent months, starting with the hiring of new athletic director Derrick Gragg. Dr. Gragg’s first hire with the Wildcats was adding Jim Foster to be the next head baseball coach after it was decided interim head coach Josh Reynolds would not be retained; Reynolds took over the program in May of 2021 when Spencer Allen stepped away from the program.

After a 10-year minor league playing career, Foster has enjoyed success at every stop of his coaching career. He started coaching at Brown before being named an assistant coach at Rhode Island. It didn’t take him long to be appointed URI’s head coach, and after nine seasons with the Rams he moved on to the next stop with the most wins in the program.

That next stop came at Boston College as an assistant, a two-year stint where he was tasked with coaching the pitching staff and helped turn the program around. In 2016 BC made its first regional since 2009 and emerged as the Oxford Regional champion before losing to Miami in the Coral Gables Super Regional, one win away from a trip to Omaha. … CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING THE FULL IN-DEPTH TEAM REPORT

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