ARKANSAS NO. 1 IN COLLEGIATE BASEBALL NEWSPAPER'S 2013 PRE-SEASON POLL
TUCSON, Ariz. - The University of Arkansas has been ranked No. 1 in "Collegiate Baseball's" Fabulous 40 NCAA Division I pre-season baseball poll.
The Razorbacks, which finished third during the 2012 College World Series, return five position player starters and a slew of quality pitchers, including three who are expected to be picked in the first three rounds of the 2013 Draft in RHP Ryne Stanek (8-4, 2.82 ERA, 83 K, 36 BB), RHP Colby Suggs (7-1, 1.38 ERA), and RHP Barrett Astin (11 SV, 3-5, 1.99 ERA). The only substantial pitching loss was RHP D.J. Baxendale (8-5, 3.11 ERA, 96 K, All-SEC).
Last season, Arkansas' pitching staff ranked fifth in the nation with a 2.83 ERA and fourth in hits allowed per game at 7.53.
Catcher Jake Wise, a superb defensive player with a strong arm, is also expected to be chosen early in the 2013 Draft. He only allowed opponents
33 stolen bases last year in 50 attempts.
Offensively, he hit 10 doubles and recorded 25 RBIs. Another outstanding position player back is 2B Dominic Ficociello (.290, 6 HR, 15 2B, 41 RBI) who was brilliant defensively last fall. He converted from being the Razorbacks' starting first baseman last year.
Arkansas features three Louisville Slugger pre-season All-Americans in Stanek, Suggs and Ficociello.
Factor in an exceptional recruiting class of 18 newcomers which has a nice mix of freshmen and junior college transfers, and Arkansas should be superb in 2013.
"This is the deepest team we have had at Arkansas," said Razorback Head Coach Dave Van Horn, now in his 11th season. He has led the Razorbacks to three appearances at the College World Series in 2004, 2009 and 2012.
Overall as a head coach, he has now led five teams to the College World Series, including two times when he was the head coach at Nebraska in
2001 and 2002. Van Horn feels his 2013 squad has all the talent and experience to make it to Omaha once again.
"We have had good teams the last four or five years. But this team pitching wise is deeper than all of them when you consider starting pitching, relievers and closers. Offensively, we are very athletic. We have a bunch of mature kids who have College World Series, Super Regional and Regional playoff experience."
Van Horn feels that he has a great catcher to handle his remarkable collection of pitchers.
The Razorbacks finished second at the 1979 College World Series and third in
1985 and 2012.
A Southeastern Conference team has won three of the last four national baseball championships, and an SEC ball club has also been in the title game for five consecutive years.
For a detailed rundown on the top 40 teams, see the Jan. 4, 2013 edition of "Collegiate Baseball" newspaper which also includes a complete look at every NCAA Division I Conference with pre-season rankings and a listing of top players in each league, including projected pitchers and players of the year as well as the Louisville Slugger pre-season All-Americans.
In addition, this issue of "Collegiate Baseball" features an in-depth look at every potential college player who may be picked in the first two rounds of the 2013 Free Agent Draft.
The "Collegiate Baseball" Newspaper poll is the oldest college baseball poll. Its birth took place during the 1958 college baseball season.
Collegiate Baseball Newspaper's
NCAA Div. I Pre-Season Poll
(As of Dec. 20, 2012)
Rank School ('12 Final Record) Points
1. Arkansas (46-22) 496
2. North Carolina (46-16) 495
3. Vanderbilt (35-28) 494
4. Louisiana St. (47-18) 487
5. UCLA (48-16) 484
6. Oregon (46-19) 482
7. South Carolina (49-20) 481
8. Kentucky (45-18) 478
9. Stanford (41-18) 476
10. Oregon St. (40-20) 473
11. N.C. State (43-20) 470
12. San Diego (40-17) 467
13. Mississippi St. (40-24) 464
14. Oklahoma (42-25) 462
15. Texas Christian (40-22) 460
16. Arizona St. (36-20) 458
17. Georgia Tech. (38-26) 456
18. Arizona (48-17) 454
19. Florida St. (50-17) 452
20. Rice (41-19) 450
21. Texas (30-22) 448
22. Louisville (41-22) 446
23. Cal. St. Fullerton (36-21) 445
24. Florida (47-20) 443
25. Mississippi (37-26) 437
26. Texas A&M (43-18) 434
27. Clemson (35-28) 429
28. Miami, Fla. (36-23) 427
29. Georgia (31-26) 423
30. U.C. Irvine (31-25) 420
31. Missouri St. (40-22) 418
32. Wichita St. (35-25) 415
33. New Mexico (37-24) 413
34. Kent St. (47-20) 411
35. Virginia (39-19-1) 408
36. Southern Miss (32-24) 405
37. East Carolina (36-24-1) 403
38. Coastal Carolina (42-19) 400
39. Dallas Baptist (41-19) 397
40. Pepperdine (36-23) 395
OTHER TEAMS RECEIVING VOTES: Central Florida, Baylor, Oklahoma St., Long Beach St., Cal Poly, U.C. Santa Barbara, Tulane, St. John's, South Florida, Notre Dame, Seton Hall, Florida Atlantic, College of Charleston, Fresno St., Indiana St., Auburn, Alabama, Tennessee, Missouri, Southern Illinois, Nevada, San Diego St., Nevada-Las Vegas, South Alabama, Florida International, Gonzaga, Texas St., New Mexico St., Western Carolina, Appalachian St., Georgia Southern, Sam Houston St., Southeastern Louisiana, Southern California, Washington, California, Washington St., Oral Roberts, Austin Peay St., Stony Brook, S.C. Upstate, Kennesaw St., Mercer, Florida Gulf Coast, St. Louis, Rhode Island, Virginia Commonwealth, Liberty, Campbell, High Point, Indiana, Nebraska, Michigan St., Ohio St., Illinois, Minnesota, Purdue, N.C.
Wilmington, Hofstra, James Madison, Valparaiso, Manhattan, Canisius, Miami (Ohio), Toledo, Eastern Michigan, Bethune-Cookman, Southern, Bryant, Monmouth, Belmont.