#36 Cal Poly Baseball 2014 Preview

Cal Poly Mustangs

Overall Rank: #36
Conference Rank: #3 Big West
#36 Cal Poly Baseball 2014 Preview
Cal Poly Team Page


Cal Poly is coming off a 2013 season where they won 40 games and went to a NCAA Regional.  They beat San Diego in the first game of the regional before losing the next two games and were eliminated.  The Mustangs finished tied for 2nd in the Big West Conference last year and will look to repeat again this season.  With a lot of returnees and a solid recruiting class, Cal Poly is in position to have another good season.

2013: 40-19, 17-10
2013 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Larry Lee

Field Players:
Nick Torres is back to lead the offense.  The junior hit .333 with seven home runs and led the team with 49 RBI’s.  He will be back in the outfield after earning First-Team All Big West Honors last year.  Jordan Ellis will join him in the outfield.  Ellis hit .323 in 2013 after earning a starting spot at the beginning of conference play.  Jimmy Allen will lead the infield.  Last year Allen hit .299 and drove in 39 runs.  He will be back at third base.  Joining him on the left side of the infield will be shortstop Peter Van Gansen.  The sophomore hit .253 and drew a team leading 24 walks.  The other infield starters are set to be John Schuknecht and Tim Wise.  Schuknecht hit .301 last year after playing in 34 games while Wise hit .187 in 29 games.  Wise is coming off a big summer where he was named team MVP of the Eau Claire Express in the Northwoods League.  Wise could also see time in the outfield.  Brian Mundell will be the DH after hitting .265 with 42 RBI’s.  He led the team with 11 home runs. Senior Chris Hoo is slated to be the catcher after he drove in 14 runs in 72 at bats this year.  His brother Michael, along with Tommy Pluschkell and Mark Mathias, will look to back up the infield.  Junior college transfer outfielder Zack Zehner will look to grab the open outfield slot.  

Matt Imhof is the leader of the pitching staff.  He was 7-3 with a 2.79 ERA in 16 starts last year.  Joining him in the starting rotation will be Bryan Granger and Casey Bloomquist.  Granger was 5-4 with a 5.37 ERA in 13 starts while Bloomquist was 6-2 with a 5.02 ERA in 10 starts.  Reed Reilly will also be back as the teams closer.  He saved 14 games last year and finished with a 2.29 ERA.  Reliever Taylor Chris is also back after posting a 2.55 ERA in just over 24 innings.  A pair of freshmen, Slater Lee and Justin Calomeni will be counted on to contribute right away.  They will join returning junior relievers Danny Zandona and Michael Dingilian.

Who to Watch:
The recruiting class will be key to Cal Poly’s success.  Outfielder Zach Zehner will likely start this year.  Zehner hit .358 at Santa Barbara Community College last year and led the conference with 38 RBI’s.  The Mustangs will also rely on the freshmen pitchers for help.  Cal Poly has a strong returning core at the top of their pitching staff, but they lack depth.  The freshmen will provide that.  Slater Lee and Justin Calomeni are the best of the bunch.  Calomeni was 8-1 with a 1.07 ERA and threw six complete games as a senior, while Lee was 11-2 with a 1.34 ERA. Lee also struck out 90 batters while only walking 10.  They also bring in four other freshmen pitchers that will join Lee and Calomeni to fill the pitching staff.  

Final Projection:
Cal Poly will look to replicate last season’s success.  In 2013 the Mustangs were 23-7 at home, which was a big reason they were successful.  The Mustangs have another 30 games at home this season, which bodes well for them.  The Mustangs will be tested early though as they have a series with Kansas State to open the year and an early season series with defending national champion UCLA.  If the newcomers can step up to fill the pitching staff out, Cal Poly has the pieces to repeat again this year and return to an NCAA Regional.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Jimmy Allen, IF, 241
Hits: Nick Torres, OF, 75
Home Runs: Brian Mundell, DH, 11
RBIs: Nick Torres, OF, 49
Runs: Nick Torres, OF, 39
Stolen Bases: Nick Torres, OF, 6; Jimmy Allen, IF, 6

Wins: Matt Imhof, P, 7
Innings Pitched: Matt Imhof, P, 101.2
Strikeouts: Matt Imhof, P, 95
Saves: Reed Reilly, P, 14

Madness 2014 MLB Draft Rankings:
#57 Matt Imhof


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