The Patriot League was dominated by Army in 2009, and unfortunately for the competition, they have most of their talent coming back and should be even better in 2010. Continue reading for a team by team preview, top 10 MLB draft prospects, and more.
Player of the Year: Clint Moore, JR SS, Army
Pitcher of the Year: Ben Koenigsfeld, JR P, Army
Conference Champion: Army
Patriot League (in order of projected finish):
1. Army – The Black Knights have an intimidating lineup that starts with SS Clint Moore (.395/.494/.724), DH Joey Henshaw (.383 AVG, 75 RBI), and 1B Kevin McKague (.389 AVG, 44 RBI). Henshaw and McKague are two way stars – Henshaw posted a 4.79 ERA and held opponents to a .211 OAV while McKague is the team’s closer, locking down seven saves in 2009.
2. Navy – Navy’s top two starters in 2009 were freshman and took some lumps in 2009, but will be greatly improved in 2010 – Zach Sipe (3-4, 7.22 ERA) and TJ Keirns (2-3, 5.73 ERA). The other two main Navy starters are still just juniors, Sam Long (3-3, 5.60 ERA) and Wes Olsen (3-5, 5.69 ERA), which gives Navy a deep, and experienced, pitching staff for the next couple of years. The Midshipmen also return their top two hitters in infielders Mike Guadagnini (.374 AVG, 42 RUNS), and Kendall Bolt (.328 AVG, 48 RBI).
3. Bucknell – Like most teams in the Patriot League, the Bison can hit – and return several of their top sluggers including SS Ben Allen (.366 AVG, 46 R), 1B Doug Shribman (.360/.462/.573), and OF Andy Brouse (.330 AVG, 10 HR, 57 RBI). Also like most teams in the Patriot League, they will depend on the development of their pitching staff, who struggled with a 6.66 team ERA in 2009 and will have to replace First Team All-Patriot League starter Chris Yamaguichi who was the winner of seven of their 22 games last year. However, look for 6’6″ righty Trey Frahler (6-4, 4.34 ERA) to have a big year.
4. Holy Cross – Holy Cross is led by 2009 Patriot League Player of the Year and 3rd basemen Matt Perry, who hit .423 last season and fielded a solid .927 at the hot corner. Slugging 1B Eric Oxford is Perry’s main production in the lineup, hitting 10 home runs and driving in 45 runs last spring. Their pitching staff allowed over seven runs per game in 2009 and will have to replace graduating starter Dan Seip (3-4, 5.37). To compete in the Patriot League, the Crusaders will need improvement out of returning starters in Matt Shapiro (3-4, 6.40), and Johnny Holmes (3-7, 7.41)
5. Lafayette – Lafayette will have to recover from the loss of one of their biggest run producers in Daniel Bierce (.360 AVG, 45 RBI, 25 SB) as well as Jeff Butler (.308 AVG, 35 RBI, 14 SB). The majority of the offense will be on the shoulder of scrappy rally starting OF Rob Froio (.367 AVG, 20 SB) and slugger Matt Hall (.307 AVG, .513 SLG). The Leopards will have some experience in the pitching staff with returning starters Corey Shea (4-3, 4.81 ERA), Zach Fritz (2-6, 5.50 ERA), and Ryan Hanna (6-3, 5.68), but their ability to score enough runs to win will be the question.
6. Lehigh – Lehigh struggled to a 11-36 record in 2009, but should be greatly improved in 2010 as they return most of their team including top hitter Andy Russell (.348/.457/.604). They will also get back shortstop Brendan McGaheran, who missed the 2009 season due to injury.
Top 10 MLB Draft-Eligible Prospects
1. Clint Moore, JR SS, Army
2. Joey Henshaw, DH/LHP, Army
3. Kevin McGague, JR 1B/CL, Army
4. Matt Perry, 3B, Holy Cross
5. Mike Guadagini, JR INF, Navy
6. Andy Russell, JR OF, Lehigh
7. Ben Koenigsfeld, JR OF/SP, Army
8. Kendall Bolt, JR INF, Navy
9. Andy Brouse, SR OF, Bucknell
10. Luke Roberts, JR P, Navy