Ohio State Buckeyes
Head Coach: Bob Todd
2006 record: 37-21 (19-12 in conference play)
2006 RPI: 99
Projected 2007 Big Ten Finish:
Baseball America - 2nd
Collegiate Baseball - 2nd
Collegiate Baseball - #40
PG Cross Checker - #30
At The Plate: In spite of losing the enormous contributions of Big Ten Player of the Year 3B Ronnie Bourquin and SS Jedidiah Stephen, Ohio State will still have a solid offense in 2007. CF Matt Angle (.369) should lead the OSU hit parade. A consensus first team All-Big Ten selection in 2006, Angle spent his summer playing with the big boys in the Cape Cod League. 2B Jason Zoeller (.337/5/27) was, like Angle, a first team All-Big Ten selection last year. C Eric Fryer (.368/5/52) and a nice season with the bat and managed a second team all-conference selection. OF Jacob Howell battled injuries for most of the year and yet still found himself on the All-Big Ten third team.
On The Mound: OSU simply has the best pitching staff in the Big Ten. All four weekend starters -- Dan DeLucia, Cory Luebke, Jake Hale and J.B. Shuck -- return. DeLucia, heading into his second full season as the Buckeyes’ Friday starter, doesn’t get much respect from the national college baseball media, but does register lots of wins. Luebke is considered the best pro prospect of the quartet and Shuck is coming off a season where he earned the Big Ten Freshman of the Year Award and was named a Freshman All-America. Ohio State also has closer Rory Meister back in the fold for 2007.
The Schedule: This may be Ohio State‘s biggest obstacle this year. The Buckeyes lack any non-conference games of substance. Combine a weak RPI non-conference slate with the traditionally poor Big Ten RPI ranking and the Bucks may find themselves in a position to have to win the conference tournament in order to secure a NCAA berth. OSU will need to win early and often this season or win the tournament to capture a NCAA berth.
Bottom Line: Ohio State should be pretty darn good. They return an experienced pitching staff and have a lineup featuring a number of veteran standouts. Yet, the word I keep hearing out of Columbus is “defense”. I think the Buckeyes believe that their “D” hurt them last year and have made it a focus of this off-season. If they get good pitching, hitting and defense, what’s left? Just winning. The Buckeyes should contend for the Big Ten title. Even if they don’t, I believe they will beat the majority of the teams on their schedule and make the NCAA’s.