1. Antonio Mule, DH, Northwestern - Hit .357 with 11 homers and 47 RBI in 2006. Had an OPS of 1.009. Was a first team All-Big Ten in the regular season and the post-season. Launched a majestic shot during the conference tournament at Michigan’s Ray Fisher Stadium that has still not landed.
2. Nate Recknagel, 1B, Michigan - Reckagel’s .372 batting average is the highest figure amongst returning regular players in the Big Ten. Also knocked out eight homers, driving in 41 runs and had an OPS of 1.017 (also tops amongst returning players in the conference). Was a second team All-Big Ten selection during the regular season and was picked as conference’s All-Tournament 1B.
3. Ryne White, OF/1B, Purdue - A fabulous freshman last year, White hit .352/6/42. Tenth in the Big Ten in total bases (105) and on base percentage (.430) and ninth in slugging percentage (.536). White was a second team All-Big Ten choice in 2006 and was named to the Freshman All-America side.
4. Matt Angle, CF, Ohio State - A unanimous first team All-Big Ten choice. His .369 batting average is the second highest amongst returning Big Ten regulars. He paced the conference in runs scored (63) and was fourth in stolen bases with 25. Played summer ball in the prestigous Cape Cod League.
5. Eric Rose, CF, Michigan - Rose’s 32 stolen bases are the top mark amongst returning Big Ten regulars (it was good enough for second last year). Although, Michigan’s leadoff hitter, he was tenth in the conference in RBI with 44. A first team All-Big Ten pick and also was tabbed for the All-Tournament team.
6. Eric Fryer, C, Ohio State - A second team All-Big Ten performer in ‘06. The Buckeyes’ backstop hit .368 which was fifth best overall in the conference. He also posted the seventh best slugging percentage (.542) and on base percentage (.442) in the Big Ten.
7. Kyle Day, C, Michigan State - Baseball America’s choice as pre-season first team All-Big Ten catcher. As a freshman in 2006, the Spartans’ receiver hit .315/3/33. Day also managed to steal 10 bases and hit five triples. Day was another member of the Big Ten selected as a Freshman All-American.
8. Ryan Snowden, OF, Illinois - Snowden was eighth in the Big Ten in both on base percentage (.435) and hits (76), fourth in runs scored (53) and first in doubles (20). Snowden also hit .342 with 103 total bases. The Illini OF was named to the All-Big Ten second team in 2006.
9. Adam Abraham, 3B/OF, Michigan - Yet another Big Ten first year star named to the Freshman All-America team in 2006. He was the Big Ten tournament’s Most Outstanding Player and was named to the post-season team both as a pitcher and DH. Abraham hit .304/6/31 a year ago which earned him third team All-Big Ten consideration.
10. Doug Pickens, C/2B/OF, Michigan - Pickens, the Wolverines cleanup hitter in ‘06, hit .302 with seven homeruns and forty-seven RBI. He also collected 107 total bases. While primarily a second baseman last season, Pickens moves behind the plate full-time for Michigan this year.
Here's ten more offensive players to watch because I had a tough time just picking ten and 'cause it's my blog. Zach Putnam, OF/DH, Michigan; Kyle Baran, OF, Minnesota; Matt Nohelty, OF, Minnesota; Jacob Howell, OF, Ohio State; Jason Zoeller, 2B, Ohio State; Steve Gerstenberger, 1B, Michigan State; Travis Sweet, OF/2B, Iowa; Mike Rohde, 3B, Illinois; Matt Cavagnaro, 2B, Penn State; Caleb Fields, OF/3B, Northwestern.
(Update 2/23): How in the Wide World of Sports did I manage to leave off J.B. Shuck of Ohio State and Lars Davis of Illinois? Brilliant. Just brilliant.