#7 Stanford Baseball Preview

Stanford Cardinal

Overall Rank: #7
Conference Rank: #3 Pac-12
Stanford College Baseball Top 44 Team Preview
Stanford Team Page


Just like the Southeastern Conference is home to talented college football, the Pac-12 Conference seems to be home to all of the super-talented baseball programs in the country. Oh sure, the SEC is still talented as well, but many Pac-12 programs dot the top 10. One of them is a traditional baseball powerhouse that has been active for nearly 120 years. It was another strong season for the Cardinal in 2012, culminating in a trip to the NCAA Super Regional round, but they could not capitalize. Will it be another strong year in the Bay Area? The chances are pretty good.

2012: 48-18, 18-12
2012 Postseason: NCAA Super Regional
Coach: Mark Marquess

Field Players:
Stanford brings back plenty of home-run power, including Austin Wilson (.285-10-54) and Alex Blandino (.294-8-40). Brian Ragira (.329-5-50) also is a strong doubles hitter as well (15), and he is the team’s top returning hitter that saw action in more than half of the team’s games. Dominic Jose (.366) and Danny Diekroeger (.354) were also decent hitters in more limited duty. Stanford is not known for having a lot of speed in its lineup, but Wilson was successful in all seven of his stolen-base attempts. All of these returnees will likely be enough to offset the losses of players like Stephen Piscotty and Eric Smith, who both hit .over 300 a year ago, and Jake Stewart (seven homers in 2012).

Piscotty’s loss will also be felt on the pitcher’s mound, as he went 6-2 with a 3.05 ERA. Brett Mooneyham (7-6, 4.75) will also be missed this year, but that is the extent of the pitching losses for 2013. Mark Appel is the team’s top ace coming back with a 10-2 record and 2.56 ERA. His walk/strikeout ratio (30/130) is also pretty decent, suggesting strong control and solid mechanics. A.J. Vanegas (4-0, 2.62) and Garrett Hughes (3-1, 3.20) are also effective starters. Vanegas and David Schmidt (3-1, 3.98) will likely close games, giving Stanford some stability at the front and back end.

Who to Watch:
Keep an eye on Appel, who admits he made a big sacrifice to return for his senior season and pass up sure Major League Baseball riches. Appel pitched at least seven innings in 14 of his 16 starts and hurled five complete games last year. He is the College Sports Madness preseason national pitcher of the year and he is a preseason first-team All-America selection from the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. He was solid enough to be the eighth overall pick by the Pittsburgh Pirates a year ago, but Appel’s decision to return could go either way. Another strong season will surely raise his draft status, but if Stanford falters then his status could go down in a hurry. Bet on a strong season, which is more likely.

Final Projection:
A season where Stanford does not win at least 40 games is a rarity. That won’t happen this year. The Cardinal have enough talent returning to give the Pac-12 a serious run for the money once again. Stanford opens with Rice and California, two solid teams, and later games with Texas and UNLV will give Stanford a good foundation for Pac-12 play. It is still anyone’s guess who wins the Pac-12, but Stanford has a better than average chance of walking away with the title.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Brian Ragira, UT, 252
Hits: Brian Ragira, UT, 83
Home Runs: Austin Wilson, OF, 10
RBIs: Austin Wilson, OF, 54
Runs: Austin Wilson, OF, 56
Stolen Bases: Austin Wilson, OF, 7

Wins: Mark Appel, P, 10
Innings Pitched:Mark  Appel, P, 123.0
Strikeouts: Mark Appel, P, 130
Saves: A.J. Vanegas, P, 5

Madness 2013 MLB Draft Rankings:
#1 Mark Appel
#6 Austin Wilson
#10 Brian Ragira
#40 A.J. Vanegas
#97 Lonnie Kauppila

Madness 2013 Baseball Recruit Rankings:
#26 Freddy Avis
#56 Daniel Starwalt


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