#41 Dallas Baptist Baseball Preview

Dallas Baptist Patriots

Overall rank: #41
Conference rank: Independent
Dallas Baptist College Baseball Preview Logo
Dallas Baptist Team Page

It is always a success story when a “school that couldn’t” elevates itself to a school that could. Dallas Baptist, which is not affiliated with any of the major conferences, cobbled together a schedule that had the Patriots facing schools like Texas A&M and Washington. Although those schools beat Dallas Baptist, the team also came away with victories against them. Wins over Oklahoma and Oral Roberts helped the Patriots reach the super-regional round. Did we mention Dallas Baptist has been a Division I school for six years? The Patriots have had prior success in NCAA tournaments, but that extra step could pay off huge dividends down the road.

2011: 42-20
2011 Postseason: Eliminated in Santa Clara NCAA super-regional (lost twice to California)
Coach: Dan Heefner

Field Players:
Outfielder Landon Anderson (see Who to Watch) leads a group of solid returning athletes that hope to withstand the graduation of Jason Krizan and Tyler Robbins. Krizan was a demon (.413 average, 10 home runs, 81 runs batted in) and Robbins (.316-10-40) also provided plenty of home run pop for Dallas Baptist. Utility player Ryan Behmanesh hit .318 with 57 runs, 77 hits and 51 RBI. He doesn’t have a lot of power in his bat, and that could be a problem, but others will likely step in. Infielder Joel Hutter is likely one of those key players, what with nine homers and 50 RBIs to his credit and a .303 batting average.

This could be the team’s weak spot. Jared Stafford and Brandon Williamson, who combined for an 18-9 overall record and 134 strikeouts, are both graduates. Jordan Staples, who went 6-2 with a 5.27 earned run average in 10 starts, may be Dallas Baptist’s best hope entering 2012. Michael Smith (1-2, 4.86) had a decent 26/46 walk-strikeout ratio in relief and may need use as a starter if the Patriots’ pitching corps is thinned. Chris Haney, who accounted for 15 saves in a closer role, is also a graduate, but Taylor Massey (4.85 ERA in 10 appearances) picked up the only other save and likely is the stopper entering this season.

Who to Watch:
The graduation of decorated All-Americans like Krisan and Robbins leaves the door open for OF Landon Anderson to become the team’s go-to guy. A hometown product who played in the Dallas suburb of Grapevine, this is Anderson’s final season with the Patriots, and he has some big shoes to fill. It shouldn’t be hard. Last year Anderson batted a robust .356 with 89 hits, seven homers, 58 RBIs and a team-leading 21 stolen bases. Anderson will have plenty of help this year to keep the team on an even keel, but there’s a good chance Anderson will become a 2012 All-American and a possible MLB draft pick if everything works out.

Final Projection:
If Dallas Baptist can overcome the loss of its top pitchers and hitters, the Patriots could make another run at NCAA success. They aren’t shying away from quality opponents, as Rice, Oklahoma and Texas Tech are on the schedule. If reserve players like IF Kenny Hatcher (.287-2-48) and C/P Duncan McAlpine (.270-9-38) can improve from last year, some holes could fill in quickly.

Projected Postseason: NCAA

Returning Leaders:
At bats: Landon Anderson, OF, 250
Hits: Landon Anderson, OF, 89
Home Runs: Kenny Hatcher, IF, and Duncan McAlpine, C, 9
RBIs: Landon Anderson, OF, 58
Runs: Landon Anderson, OF, 72
Stolen Bases: Landon Anderson, OF, 21

Wins: Jordan Staples, P, 6
Innings Pitched: Jordan Staples, P, 54.2
Strikeouts: Michael Smith, P, 46
Saves:  Taylor Massey, P, 1

Madness 2012 MLB Draft Rankings:
#64 Landon Anderson