#22 Dallas Baptist Baseball 2016 Preview

Dallas Baptist Patriots
Overall Rank: #22
Conference Rank: #1 Missouri Valley
Dallas Baptist Logo 
Dallas Baptist set a school record with 46 wins in 2015 and earned their first opportunity to host a regional as a Division I program. The Patriots fell short in the Dallas Regional as they could not recover from losing the regional opener against VCU and ended up falling short against the Rams in the winner take all second championship game. Fortunately, Dallas Baptist brings back plenty of experience in 2016 and it should be a group that will be mere prepared to deal with hosting in the NCAA Tournament if they are fortunate to do so again this season.
2015: 46-15, 15-6
2015 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Dan Heefner
Field Players:
Outfielder Justin Wall is a great example of how well the Patriots develop players. Wall took a big step forward in 2015 offensively, jumping from two homeruns in 2014 to 12 and raising his runs batted in production up to 58. If Wall can continue to progress, Dallas Baptist will only become that much stronger offensively this season. Infielder Trooper Reynolds brings senior leadership and plenty of power to the table as he hit seven homeruns last season while driving in 32. Junior infielder Camden Duzenack is going to be to looking to put together a strong junior season. He hit just under .290, while driving in 39 runs.
Left hander Sean Stutzman will be the most experienced starting pitcher this season for the Patriots. Stuntman was 8-1 with a 4.29 earned run average. It is going to be important for Stuntman to be able to stretch himself to be able to pitch closer to 100 innings this season to save stress on the bullpen.
Who to Watch:
Dalton Higgins is going to be expected to work his way into the weekend rotation this season. Higgins was 0-1 with a 2.95 earned run average while making three starts out of his 13 appearances last season. The ability to limit walks for Higgins is going to continue to be important as he only walked 12 batters in 36.2 innings of work, while striking out 20. Outfielder Daniel Sweet is going to be another interesting player to watch as Sweet went through a bit of an up and down season in 2015. He only appeared in 34 games; however, there is plenty of potential with Sweet as he has twice been drafted, by the Cincinnati Reds in 2012 and the Texas Rangers during the 2014 MLB Draft in the 25th round.
Final Projection:
Despite being one of the most dangerous mid-major programs in all of college baseball, the Patriots will not lack for any competition in their non-conference schedule. Rice, Baylor, Oklahoma State and TCU will all take on Dallas Baptist over the course of several games stretched out over the duration of the season. The season as a whole going to come down to how well the inexperience within the pitching staff comes together. It may take some time, but the Patriots should be firing on all cylinders by the time Missouri Valley Conference play starts and be in position to win 40 plus games again this season.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament
Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Justin Wall, OF, 259
Hits: Justin Wall, OF, 78
Home Runs: Justin Wall, OF, 12
RBIs: Justin Wall, OF, 58
Runs: Camden Duzenack, IF, 52
Stolen Bases: Justin Wall, OF, 12
Wins: Sean Stutzman, P, 8
Innings Pitched: Sean Stutzman, P, 56.2
Strikeouts: Sean Stutzman, P, 55
Saves: Two with 1