Thursday, January 7, 2010

Preseason honors and rankings

As we figured, coming off of 2009 success with just three seniors being lost due to graduation, 2010 was to be a year of high expectations. What we knew in Columbus has made its way around the college baseball world and is starting to be reflectedin various publications.

In the first two preseason rankings, the Bucks crack both top 25s and are in very welcoming company.

Ping!Baseball released its preseason list first and slotted the Bucks at 24th which you can see here.

Ping!'s write-up on the Bucks:

While the Big 10 isn't much of a baseball power conference these days, it hasn't always been that way. Up until the mid 80's a Big 10 representative was often in Omaha . Yet for Ohio State , the layoff has been even longer. The Buckeyes made it to the Series three times in the 60's (including winning the title in '66), but haven't visited since. This year's team is hoping to end that streak and is in good position to do so. Dan Burkhart (.354, 10, 62) will be looking to parlay last season's success with a fine Cape showing to lead the offense which returns almost its entire startling lineup. Alex Wimmers (9-2, 3.27, 136 Ks in 104.2 IP) is a dandy of a Friday nights starter, but the rest of the rest of the arms will have to turn it up a notch if team is going to make it out of Regionals.

Where Ping! set the bar College Baseball News put it on an entirely different level. A week later Collegiate Baseball ranked the Bucks preseason #14. The CBN's poll is here.

Myself personally, I feel you split the difference and at #19 is about where the Bucks should be.

Kendall Rogers thoughts
Rogers has made no secret his thoughts and opinions of the Buckeyes and continue to group Ohio State and Omaha in the same sentence.

In his storylines to watch in 2010, the Buckeyes make a cameo with this write-up:
Ohio State has talent and experience to reach College World Series

It’s not often a Big Ten team is expected to compete for a CWS berth. But Michigan a couple of seasons ago and Ohio State this season are the exceptions.

The Wolverines fell short of meeting their goals despite hosting a regional two seasons ago. OSU, though, hopes to turn the tide for the conference.

The Buckeyes welcome back several key hitters from a lineup that finished last season with a solid .328 batting average. The offense is expected to emulate that production this season.

The Buckeyes also welcome back one of the nation’s best pitchers in starter Alex Wimmers. Drew Rucinsky and Eric Best also are key returning pitchers. However, the bullpen is a huge concern and could keep OSU from reaching its goals.

Ohio State’s success this season could be huge for northern baseball.

In his Big Ten snapshot, this quick hit and run statement was thrown to the public:

Ohio State

2009 record: 42-19

Top returning player: P Alex Wimmers

What needs to improve: The Buckeyes know what could keep them from reaching their big goals this season. The Buckeyes welcome back several talented hitters from a lineup that finished last season with a .328 batting average. However, the pitching staff is a concern. The Buckeyes have one of the nation's best in Alex Wimmers, but the rest of the weekend rotation must be better. Also, the bullpen was unimpressive last season and is without top arm Jake Hale. Ohio State will be an Omaha contender if the pitching staff rises to the occasion.

I do think Rogers is underappreciating the staff as a whole. More insight and knowledge about the pitching would realize that Wolo and Rucinski pitched way better than their numbers. A healthy Best and Armstrong will mean the world to Ohio State, as well as Oltorik. With perhaps the biggest wild card being freshman Brett McKinney, who has a very reasonable chance to nail down a weekend rotation spot.

The last bit of news to compile would be the releasing of two All-American lists. First the National College Baseball Writers Association released their 2010 preseason AA team

The Buckeye battery of Alex Wimmers and Dan Burkhart were both selected second-team preseason All-Americans. Respectively the two are reigning Big Ten Pitcher and Player of the years.

College Baseball News released its preseason All-America team where Wimmers received third-team honors.

With practice beginning in less than four weeks, it is time to gear up and get ready for the upcoming season.

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