Head Coach: David Grewe
2006 Record: 26-30 (13-19 in Big Ten)
2006 RPI: 148
Projected 2007 Big Ten Finish:
Baseball America: 4th
Collegiate Baseball: 7th
At The Plate: Sophomore catcher Kyle Day will lead Michigan State’s offense. Day, a Freshman All-America last season, hit .315 with three homeruns, drove in thirty-three, scored 52 runs and stole ten bases. He was named as Baseball America’s pre-season All-Big Ten catcher. 1B Steve Gerstenberger will also be a vital part of Coach Grewe’s offense. Gerstenberger hit .331/4/30, was tenth in slugging percentage (.518) and led the conference in triples (7).
Michigan State has one of the Big Ten’s top recruits in freshman SS Chris Roberts. Baseball America has Roberts listed as the second highest rated newcomer in the conference.
On The Mound: The Spartans return a veteran pitching staff. Mike Monterey (7-5, 4.70), John Dwan (2-5, 6.33), Mark Sorenson (3-4, 5.87) and Craig Brookes (2-4, 4.56) all return and will most likely comprise MSU’s rotation in 2007. If they can improve on last year’s numbers, MSU’s staff could be it’s strong point in 2007.
The Schedule: A three game set at Oklahoma and a game against Auburn highlight the non-conference portion of MSU‘s slate. There is also a contest against MAC favorite Central Michigan. In Big Ten play, the Spartans have to hit the road to play Ohio State and Minnesota plus have their annual home and home series with Michigan. From a strictly scheduling standpoint, it’s going to be an uphill battle for MSU.
Bottom Line: Rightly or wrongly, I’ve generally perceived the Spartans to be a team that always hit pretty well, but didn’t have the pitching to compete for a conference championship. This year, things appear to be reversed. I expect MSU’s pitching staff to be better with another year of experience, but only Day and Gerstenberger have proven they can produce with the bat. If the Spartans can find some offensive support for their big two hitters, MSU should contend for a conference tournament slot.