The unfortunate story out of the America East Conference for 2010 is the University of Vermont losing their baseball program, which leave just six teams: Albany, Binghamton, Hartford, Maine, UMBC, and Stony Brook.
Player of the Year: Corey Taylor, OF, Binghamton
Pitcher of the Year: Kevin Scanlan, Maine
Projected Conference Champion: Maine
Continue reading for more information on America East teams and prospects…
America East Conference (in order of projected finish)
1. Maine – Maine is led by a talented and experience left-side of the infield in SS Tony Patane (.315 AVG/.948 FLD) and 3B Jarrett Lukas (.320 AVG/.927 FLD), a solid defensive backstob in C Myckie Lugbauer (.321 AVG/.395 OBP), strong starting pitching in SP Kevin Scanlan (6-3, 3.96 ERA) and SP Matt Jebb (7-3, 4.33 ERA), and emerging on-base machine OF/1B Joey Martin (.345/.436 OBP).
2. Binghamton – The 2009 Conference Champions return the pre-season Conference Player of the Year, Corey Taylor, who hit .340 with 16 home runs and 11 stolen bases in 2009. He followed up that performance with an All-Star summer in the Cal Ripken, Sr. Summer Collegiate League, and should be the best hitter in the league in 2010. Fellow outfielder Henry Dunn had a breakout summer in the New England Collegiate League, being named an All-Star while hitting .351 with 17 stolen bases. 1B Dave Ciocchi was a Freshman All-American while hitting .381, but he is not on our top prospect list because he is a sophomore and not draft eligible in 2010. The losses of staff ace Murphy Smith and closer Jeff Dennis is enough to let Maine slip by this season.
3. Stony Brook – Stony Brook returns a true ace in Nick Tropeano, who was 5-1 with a 5.12 ERA and named the Atlantic Collegiate League’s #1 Prospect after a 7-3 summer, but I am always skeptical of pitchers coming off heavy-workload summers, despite the positive performance. A lot of offense was lost with graduating seniors Michael Tansey and Brian Witkowski, who combined for 25 home runs and 76 RBI in 2009. A big part of the offensive production will fall on senior 1st basemen Rob Dyer, (15 HR/.959 OPS), DH Nick Thode (.364/.442/.566), as well as sure-handed 2nd basemen and table setter Chad Marshall (.354 AVG/2 E in 239 chances). Closer Jeremy Nowak (4 saves) also returns.
4. Albany – Albany will need someone to step up to fill the shoes of .300 hitters Gary Pitcheralle and Ryan Gugel. They return top starters Dave Kubiak (71.2 IP, 5.90 ERA) and sophomore Zack Kraham (5-2, 4.86 ERA). Closer Alexander Beaulieu (3 saves, 4.76 ERA) is another strength of the team. Albany will need a huge year from senior Brendan Rowland (.293/.380/.418, 25 SB) if there are going to generate enough runs to compete with this offensive heavy field.
5. Hartford – Hartford gets back two middle-of-the-order guys including impossible-to-strikeout catcher Mike Amendola (.996 OPS, only 14 K and 26 BB), and left-handed hitting slugger Andy Drexel (1.056 OPS). With an 8.14 team ERA in 2009, pitching is the biggest question mark for Hartford.
6. UMBC – UMBC struggled to a 9-36 record in 2009 and lost their top hitter, Shawn Retz (.383 AVG, 10 HR), to graduation. Without a player in the top 15 prospects in the conference
Five Tool Prospects’ America East Top 10 Draft-Eligible Prospects
1. Corey Taylor, JR OF, Binghamton
2. Tony Patane, SR SS, Maine
3. Rob Dyer, SR 1B, Stony Brook
4. Mike Amendola, SR C, Hartford
5. Kevin Scanlan, JR SP, Maine
6. Nick Thode, JR DH, Stony Brook
7. Jarrett Lukas, JR 3B, Maine
8. Myckie Lugbauer, SR C, Maine
9. Andy Drexel, JR OF, Hartford
10. Chad Marshall, JR 2B, Stony Brook