#37 Appalachian State Baseball Preview

Appalachian State Mountaineers

Overall Rank: #37
Conference Rank: #1 SoCon
Appalachian State Baseball Top 44 Team Preview

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Appalachian State officially began a new era when they announced the hiring of Billy Jones on July 6th of 2012. In his first season expectations are pretty high as Appalachian State is poised to make a run at the conference title. Jones has an outstanding track record and is an excellent recruiter, which should help him bring the Mountaineers to new heights. He is inheriting a pretty full cupboard and should enjoy many successful seasons at Appalachian State.  

2012: 41-18, 21-9
2012 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Billy Jones  

Field Players:
The Mountaineers offensive efforts will be spearheaded by senior shortstop and preseason All-American Will Callaway. As a junior the standout offensive shortstop had an impressive .320 batting average, swatted four homeruns, drove in 53 runs and stole 23 bases. His senior campaign will be crucial to the success of this team. Fellow infielder and senior Hector Crespo will also have a major role in the offense. As a junior Crespo led the team in runs scored with 63, drew the most walks on the team (45), swiped a team high 30 bases, and hit a very solid .308. This type of production will be needed once again.  Outfielder, and yet another senior standout, Tyler Zupcic will provide the pop to balance the speed of their infielders. As a junior he was third on the team in slugging percentage (.486), first in on base percentage (.435), and fourth in total bases (102).  This trio of seniors will propel the Mountaineers offense.

This team lost their two best starting pitchers, but big lefty Rob Marcello is poised to have a dominate senior campaign and be the ace of this staff. As a junior he had six wins, posted a high 5.31 ERA over 83 innings. He struck out 48 batters during that span as well. Marcello displayed decent control, walking just 30 batters. The most promising sign for his senior season is that he allowed just one homerun all of last season. His ERA should be much lower this season and the Mountaineers will need it to be if he is leading their rotation. Senior Tyler Moore is a big right hander and was one of their key men out of the bullpen a season ago. He is one of two players on the roster to notch a save last year and had the most appearances last season for returning players. His efforts will also be critical to the success of Appalachian State.  

Who to Watch:
Junior outfield Preston Troutman could be a guy ready to break out. As a junior he hit .295 and had a .386 on base percentage. His ability to draw walks and get on base is what makes him such an effective hitter. He does not hit for much power, although he did have three triples a season ago. He stole three bases, flashing a little bit of speed. This season he could be ready to drive the ball with more power, which would be a huge boost to this offense. Even if he does not develop the power, he will still be a very effective and productive hitter for this team. He will be relied upon to keep rallies going and help the bottom of the order be productive.

Final Projection:
This team is loaded with senior star power and has a great infield. Their question marks lie within their pitching staff, but the offense will certainly help ease the burden. They have a tremendous amount of speed and have pesky hitters who will take a free pass when it is given. This puts pressure on the pitchers to throw strikes because if he issues a walk, he will pay with active base runners. This team should make the NCAA tournament and, with their senior leadership, they are a team that should not be taken lightly. If they get hot at the right time they could make a run in the tournament.

Returning Leaders.
At Bats: Will Callaway, SS, 241
Hits: Will Callaway, SS, 77
Home Runs: Will Callaway, SS, 4
RBIs: Will Callaway, SS, 53
Runs: Hector Crespo, IF, 63
Stolen Bases: Hector Crespo, IF, 30

Wins: Rob Marcello, P, 6
Innings Pitched: Rob Marcello, P, 83.0
Strikeouts: Rob Marcello, P, 48
Saves: Tyler Moore, P, 1; Ryne Frankoff, P, 1


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