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2011 CBD Season Preview: Big Ten

Heading into the 2010 campaign, everyone was talking about the Ohio State Buckeyes being the class of the Big Ten but they would be talking about the Gophers instead. The Big Ten ended up seeing the first place Minnesota Gophers (15-9) and last place Penn State Nittany Lions (9-15) separated by a measly six games. Michigan ended up finishing second with a 14-10 mark while Iowa and Northwestern finished at 13-11 in a tie for third place. Purdue and Indiana were also tied with a 12-12 mark for fifth place. Michigan State and Ohio State tied for seventh place with a record of 11-13 and Illinois finished in ninth with a 10-14 mark while Penn State rounded out the standings with their 9-15 record.

Minnesota ended up winning the Big Ten postseason tournament by sweeping through Indiana (10-8), Michigan (4-3), and Iowa 15-5 to receive the conference’s automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. The Golden Gophers didn’t disappoint as they were sent to the Cal-State Fullerton Regional as the four seed. In the first game of the regional, they picked up a surprising 3-1 victory over the host Titans behind a great pitching performance from Seth Rosin. They then picked up a ten inning victory over New Mexico to put themselves into the Regional final. The cards would not line up for the Gophers though as they dropped two straight games to the host Titans (7-2, 9-5) to end their season.

Illinois (26-26 overall, 10-14 Big Ten)
Key Returnees
Sr. OF/2B Casey McMurray (.348 BA, 6 HR, 39 RBI)
Jr. OF Willie Argo (.318 BA, 4 HR, 33 RBI, 41-45 SB)
So. RHP Kevin Johnson (5-2, 5.23 ERA)

Key Losses
Craig Lutes (.305 BA, 3 HR, 27 RBI)
Kevin Manson (3-3, 5.23 ERA)

Indiana (28-27 overall, 12-12 Big Ten)
Key Returnees
Jr. OF Alex Dickerson (.419 BA, 24 HR, 75 RBI)
Sr. IF Jerrud Sabourin (.394 BA, 7 HR, 35 RBI)
Jr. LHP Drew Leininger (9-3, 4.04 ERA, 98.0 IP, 67 K)

Key Losses
Tyler Rogers (,377 BA, 37 RBI, 10 SB)
Michael Earley (.352 BA, 13 HR, 40 RBI, 15 SB)
Chris Squires (4.31 ERA, 67 K, 9 SV)

Iowa (30-28 overall, 13-11 Big Ten)
Key Returnees
Sr. IF Zach McCool (.344 BA, 2 HR, 36 RBI)
Jr. IF Mike McQuillian (.344 BA, 3 HR, 39 RBI)
Jr. LHP Jarred Hippen (6-4, 3.71 ERA, 4 CG)

Key Losses
Kurtis Muller (.381 BA, 3 HR, 36 RBI, 30-38 SB)
Ryan Durant (.326 BA, 4 HR, 46 RBI, 10-14 SB)
Zach Robertson (8-3, 4.02 ERA, SV)

Michigan (35-22 overall, 14-10 Big Ten)
Key Returnees
Jr. C Coley Crank (.324 BA, 14 HR, 65 RBI)
Jr. 3B John Lorenz (.315 BA, 4 HR, 32 RBI)
Rs. Sr. Matt Gerbe (2-1, 3.34 ERA)

Key Losses
Ryan LaMarre (.419 BA, 5 HR, 40 RBI)
Cbris Berset (.373 BA, 7 HR, 50 RBI)
Tyler Burgoon (6-4, 10 SV, 3.71 ERA)

Michigan State (34-19 overall, 11-13 Big Ten)
Key Returnees
Ryan Jones (.380 BA, HR, 37 RBI, 9-16 SV)
Brandon Eckerle (.362 BA, 1 HR, 28 RBI)
Sr. RHP Kurt Wunderlich (8-3, 4.28 ERA)

Key Losses
Eli Boike (.384 BA, 8 HR, 48 RBI)
A.J. Achter (4-4, 4.20 ERA)

Minnesota (32-30 overall, 15-9 Big Ten)
Key Returnees
Jr, SS Matt Puhl (.335 BA, 1 HR, 21 RBI)
Jr. C/1B Nick O’Shea (.333 BA, 13 HR, 60 RBI)
Sr. RHP Scott Matyas (5-1, 8 SV, 2.19 ERA)
So. RHP Billy Soule (1-4, 3.35 ERA)
So. RHP TJ Oakes (4-3, 3.62 ERA)

Key Losses
Michael Kvasnicka (.355 BA, 8 HR, 50 RBI)
Kyle Knudon (.342 BA, 6 HR, 48 RBI)
Seth Rosin (9-4, 4.72 ERA)

Northwestern (24-32 overall, 13-11 Big Ten)
Key Returnees
Jr. UT Zach Morton (.363 BA, HR, 23 RBI)
Jr. 1B/RHP Paul Snieder (.353 BA, 7 HR, 36 RBI/2-3, 12 SV, 1.79 ERA)
Sr. IF Chris Lashmet (.327 BA, 8 HR, 43 RBI)
Sr. LHP Matt Galley (1-1, 1.52 ERA)

Key Losses
Chad Noble (.355 BA, 2 HR, 24 RBI)
Arby Fields (.292 BA, 5 HR, 27 RBI)

Ohio State (28-23 overall, 11-13 Big Ten)
Key Returnees
R. Sr. IF/OF Brian DeLucia (.320 BA, 6 HR, 39 RBI)
Sr. RHP Jared Strayer (2-2, 4.95 ERA)

Key Losses
Zach Hurley (.385, 7 HR, 39 RBI)
Michael Stephens (.360 BA, 10 HR, 43 RBI)
Alex Wimmers (9-0, 1.60 ERA)

Penn State (22-30 overall, 9-15 Big Ten)
Key Returnees
So. OF Steve Snyder (.355 BA, 37 RBI, 12-16 SB)
Jr. 1B Joey DeBernardis (.354 BA, 2 HR, 33 RBI)
Rs. So. Elliot Searer (.341 BA, 20 RBI)
So. Steven Hill (2-6, 5.56 ERA)

Key Losses
Ben Heath (.369 BA, 19 HR, 57 RBI)
Rs. Sr. David Lutz (4-3, 3.04 ERA)

Purdue (33-24 overall, 12-12 Big Ten)
Top Returnees
So. C Kevin Piawecki (.343 BA, 8 HR, 53 RBI)
So. 3b/1b Cameron Perkins (.338 BA, 8 HR, 34 RBI)
Sr. RHP Matt Morgan (3-2, 5.53 ERA)

Key Losses
Drew Madia (.336 BA, 9 HR, 36 RBI)
Nick Overmyer (.331 BA, 5 HR, 25 RBI)
Matt Bischoff (10-2, 3.22 ERA, 2 CG)
Drew Wurdack (6-4, 5.48 ERA)

Predictions
1. Minnesota *
2. Indiana *
3. Michigan
4. Ohio State
5. Purdue
6. Illinois
7. Michigan State
8. Iowa
9. Penn State
10. Northwestern

* NCAA Tourney Team

Projected Player of the Year: Alex Dickerson (Indiana)
Projected Pitcher of the Year: Jarred Hippen (Iowa)
Series to Watch: Minnesota at Michigan (May 6th-8th)

  • Gumbo3940

    You must have put in 0 research for this article if you are listing RHP Jared Strayer (2-2, 4.95 ERA) as a key returning player, he is not even close to the top pitcher.nn

    • Gumbo3940

      You must have put in 0 research for this article if you are listing RHP Jared Strayer (2-2, 4.95 ERA) as a key returning player for Ohio State, he is not even close to the top pitcher.

  • Anonymous

    The guy went 4-0 in summer ball and had the only ERA under 5 on the team other than Wimmers in 2010.

    • http://collegebaseballdaily.com Brian Foley

      Exactly!!!rnSent on the Sprintu00ae Now Network from my BlackBerryu00ae

  • Gumbo3940

    Look and see when he pitched, never started, mostly cleanup.nCheck out his last outing of the summer in the playoffs, I think he gave up 5 homeruns, 3 in a row with wood bat. He was 5 -1.nIf you are going by last summer Woloziansky was 5-1 with a 1.19 era, Rucinski was 6-1 with a 2.36 era. Wolosiansky had the lowest era in the Prospect League, Rucinski was 3rd best in the Valley League. Ohio State also has several new Freshmen and transfers that will contribute.

  • Smilemaker

    Sabourin and Dickerson should power Indiana along with a bunch of new arms to help Leninger and Monar. IU if coached well and that is the question should win the league easily.

    • http://collegebaseballdaily.com Brian Foley

      The experience Minnesota brings back is great!rnrnBrian Foley rnSent on the Sprintu00ae Now Network from my BlackBerryu00ae

      • Guest

        IU brings back quite the experience as well…

        • HoosierRed

          I agree with the comments about IU. Through the first 2 weekends, they look to have some effective pitching; further along than what most thought they would have at this point. I give Coach Smith credit for playing a challenging schedule as well. In general the Big Ten is playing a competitive schedule. I will also say I am disappointed in viewing the early non-conference schedule of Purdue. Hard to get a read on them since they are playing well down in class. Their pitching does not look very good.

          • http://collegebaseballdaily.com Brian Foley

            Purdue did hammer a Uconn squad that was predicted to win the Big East.rnrnBrian FoleyrnSent on the Sprintu00ae Now Network from my BlackBerryu00ae

          • HoosierRed

            So, it seems, is everybody else!!!!

          • http://collegebaseballdaily.com Brian Foley

            Purdue did hammer a Uconn squad that was predicted to win the Big East.rnrnBrian FoleyrnSent on the Sprintu00ae Now Network from my BlackBerryu00ae

  • ScoutsLLC

    Strayer by far is the best pitcher, with the most upside at this point. One bad outing in the summer doesn’t ruin an almost perfect summer.Was the go to guy all year out of the own and probably should have started more.

    • Gumbo3940

      Strayer was not the go to guy, some of the other pitchers would have had lower era’s if they had a pen to go to. He no longer throws submarine, he is over the top and hitting 84-85 MPH.

    • Gumbo3940

      You guys are great, you look at stats and draw your conclusions, if one bad outing doesn’t ruin a summer take a closer look at Rucinski’s 2010 season. If you remove the 2 innings that he pitched against Penn State his era is 4.304, if you remove the 5 innings he pitched against Minnesota his era drops to 3.375 over 64 innings. So yes a bad outing can ruin a whole season if all you look at is era. If Strayer was the go to guy all year then why did Rucinski have to pitch while injured?

  • Skinnerthebloom

    I have to agree and disagree a little on both sides. Ohio State has to have Rusinski and Wolosianski on the weekends if they are to be successful. But both of them seldom go more than 5 or 6 innings and last year, after Strayer had his knee surgery, his ERA had to be in the high 1′s or low 2′s the rest of the year. Strayer is going to be every bit as key as the other starting pitchers and with his unusual delivery, will be called upon alot this year. I see Strayer in the same role this year, a middle reliever and spot starter but probably getting 25 to 30 appearences.

  • HawkFan11

    Iowa needs more respect they have a good recruiting class and key returning players, expecially Trevor Willis

    • Golddome

      Watch out for the Boilermakers . . . they’re flying under the radar and have a stout Sophmore class. Granted, they need a few young pitchers to step up and fill Bishoff’s role but they will play “D” and can hit, top to bottom. One glaring miss from 2010 will be power and Drew Media was an under-rated hitter and power guy. A couple of Juco’s may be able to contribute.

      • http://collegebaseballdaily.com Brian Foley

        Purdue does fly under the radar! rnSent on the Sprintu00ae Now Network from my BlackBerryu00ae

      • Boilers

        The homerun numbers might be down for Purdue because of the new bats but I think they have a few power bats that will step up this year. Plawecki and Perkins have some good pop and Schreiber has more raw power at the plate than anyone on the team this year or last. Definitely agree with the pitching assessment, they have potential but need some guys to emerge from the shadows of Bishoff, Jansen, and Wurdack. With more opportunities this year I think guys like Schreiber and maybe Mascarello and Ramer will do alright.

        • Golddome

          Screiber is strong but cannot hit anything off speed . . . the book is out on him. I think he is a pure pitcher. Agree with thesophmores but hopefully there is no letdown/slump. Purdue’s pitching will just not get it done . . . kind of a same ‘ol same ‘ol. They battle but can’t get guys out.

          • http://collegebaseballdaily.com Brian Foley

            Got to love though Purdue building a new stadium though…good for college baseball!rnSent on the Sprintu00ae Now Network from my BlackBerryu00ae

          • Boilers

            Love the stadium, can’t wait to see it completed!

          • Boilers

            Yeah he struggles with the curve but even if he can improve a little bit he could be the power threat that Purdue needs this year, if he can’t improve then he’ll be exclusively on the mound. Spot on with the pitching… Mediocre is the best way to describe it. They only have one thrower that has potentially overpowering stuff, everyone else is average. You never know with pitching though, if you can get a guy or two to keep the ball down in the zone on a regular basis a lot of batters will go down

      • HoosierRed

        As a IU fan, I am totally content with never having to see Bishoff and Madia again. They killed us last year. Purdue will compete hard but they do lack depth in pitching to seriously contend. I will not be surprised at all to see them in the top 6.

  • gold04

    Smilemaker,nnIndiana should win the league easy. I wonder how much wisky you’ve been drinking. Their ERA last year was pathetic and they lost their only good person out of the bullpen. Yes they’ve got some decent starting pitchers back but right now their bullpen is pathetic.

    • Guest

      Through 4 games, your assessment of IU’s pen seems to be way off….