Archive for February 1st, 2009

2009 Season Starts Today

leather-and-laceBy rule the 2009 Division 2 baseball season officially kicks off on February 1st and 2 Northern Sun Conference teams will kick off their seasons.

The first game of the year is played by St. Cloud State who begins against an NAIA school, Midland Lutheran, out of Fremont, Nebraska.  They will play a doubleheader starting at 11am at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. 

The Midland Warriors finished 23-21 last year and are a part of the Great Plains Athletic Conference where they were picked by coaches to finish 4th in the 13 team league.  The NAIA lets their teams kick off a day early so the Warriors actually played a doubleheader at the Metrodome yesterday against Grand View College and came away with a split, winning the opener 6-2 but dropping the 2nd game 11-5 in 8 innings.  You can find a details on Midland here – Midland Lutheran Baseball

The other team in action today is Augustana College which travels to Arkansas to play a series of games over the next few days.  They kick off action against Arkansas Tech, a fellow Division 2 team based in Russelville, Arkansas.  The Wonder Boys finished 2008 with a 22-23 record and a 5th place finish in the Gulf South Conference’s West Division.  The team is predicted to finish in 5th place again this year in a preseason coaches poll.  One needs to understand that Arkansas Tech plays in an extremely tough Division as the 3 top teams in the West Division are all ranked among the top 12 teams in the country in the 2009 preseason poll.  Those teams are Southern Arkansas (6th), Ouachita Baptist (9th) and Delta State (12th).  Augustana’s doubleheader against the Wonder Boys starts at 1pm and is followed by a single game tomorrow at 3pm.  Arkansas Tech baseball can be found here – Arkansas Tech

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Returning All-Conference Players

When looking to decide which teams are going to excel in 2009 it is probably helpful to look and see which teams have the most high-caliber returning players from 2008.

When you look at the list of players that received post season recognition in 2008 it looks like Concordia has the most 1st team players and is tied for the most total honorees.  All 4 are seniors this year.

Preseason favorite, Wayne State, has 4 as well but only 2 – 1st teamers.  Finally, Winona State is also tied for the most total returning all-conference players with 4. 

This makes me think that my earlier prediction of a Mankato State conference win may have been premature.

 

  1st Team 2nd Team Total
Augustana     1       1
Bemidji State         0
Concordia     3     1     4
MSU-Mankato     2       2
Northern State         0
SW MN State       2     2
St Cloud State         0
U Mary       1     1
UM Crookston       1     1
UM Duluth         0
Upper Iowa       3     3
Wayne State     2     2     4
Winona State     1     3     4
Totals     9     13     22

Northern Sun Roster Analysis

As the Northern Sun Baseball season is poised to take off it’s an interesting exercise to take a look at the current rosters listed for each team (U-Mary doesn’t have theirs listed yet).

Roster sizes vary from the mid-20’s (Crookston/Concordia) to the mid-40’s.  A few interesting observations –

  • Almost every team has more freshman than anything else.  A number of these kids are walk-on’s and red shirts but it’s quite likely that a lot of them wash out of the system after the first year.  After that there is a remarkable sameness in the number of Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors.
  • The number of pitchers per team varies from 11-20.  Typically, about 40-50% of the roster is made up of pitchers.
  • Bemidji, Concordia, Upper Iowa and Wayne St. have the largest proportion of seniors.  Concordia is known for having the 2 pre-season players of the year who are both seniors.  Based on the size of their roster and the number of seniors it is quite possible that they will see a large decline in success for 2010.
  • Crookston has had very limited success in recent years and the fact that they have such a small roster and such a large number of them are freshman doesn’t give any confidence that this will change in 2009.
  Total FR SO JR SR P %F %So %Jr %Sr %P
Aug 34 10 14 3 7 15 29.4% 41.2% 8.8% 20.6% 44.1%
BSU 35 10 10 3 12 19 28.6% 28.6% 8.6% 34.3% 54.3%
Concordia 26 8 5 4 9 11 30.8% 19.2% 15.4% 34.6% 42.3%
MSUM 41 17 8 7 9 21 41.5% 19.5% 17.1% 22.0% 51.2%
North St 44 18 8 11 7 16 40.9% 18.2% 25.0% 15.9% 36.4%
SWMS 47 20 8 10 9 20 42.6% 17.0% 21.3% 19.1% 42.6%
SCSU 46 15 9 13 9 18 32.6% 19.6% 28.3% 19.6% 39.1%
UM Crook 25 12 4 6 3 14 48.0% 16.0% 24.0% 12.0% 56.0%
UMD 33 14 8 7 4 19 42.4% 24.2% 21.2% 12.1% 57.6%
Up IA 42 11 9 9 13 19 26.2% 21.4% 21.4% 31.0% 45.2%
Wayne 32 8 4 11 9 16 25.0% 12.5% 34.4% 28.1% 50.0%
Winona 37 15 7 9 6 16 40.5% 18.9% 24.3% 16.2% 43.2%
Totals 442 158 94 93 97 204 35.7% 21.3% 21.0% 21.9% 46.2%
Avg’s 36.8 13.2 7.8 7.8 8.1 17.0          

Preseason Northern Sun Poll Released

northern-sun-logo.gifThe 13 baseball coaches of the Northern Sun Conference have voted and Wayne State has been picked for the 6th straight year as the team to beat.  The Wildcats earned 149 points and 6 first place votes in the poll which was released earlier this week.  Minnesota State Mankato followed closely behind with 142 votes and 4 first place votes with Concordia University coming in a solid 3rd place at 135 votes and the other 3 first place nods.

The 4th-7th spots are bunched up with Winona State, Upper Iowa, St. Cloud State and Southwest MN State all within 12 points of each other.

Minnesota Duluth and Bemdji State are close to each other for 8 & 9th place.

Mary and Augustana are expected to battle for 10th & 11th while Northern State is expected by most to finish in 12th and Crookston is a solid last place finisher (once again).

Rank Team Points
1 Wayne State (6) 149
2 Minnesota State (4) 142
3 Concordia (3) 135
4 Winona State 113
5 Upper Iowa 105
6 St. Cloud State 102
7 SW MN State 101
8 Minnesota Duluth 75
9 Bemidji State 70
10 U – Mary 59
11 Augustana 58
12 Northern State 37
13 Minnesota Crookston 24

Personally, I think Mankato is going to win the conference.  They’ve had a couple really solid recruiting classes in a row.

Welcome to the Northern Sun Baseball Blog

It’s my intent to follow the NCAA Division 2 baseball world with a special emphasis on the Northern Sun Conference.   The blogging world is full of commentary about just about any topic or sport in existance but for whatever reason D2 baseball has a light following.  For the 242 schools that have Division 2 programs and the 8,000+ players and families that follow the sport I hope to provide a little information and entertainment along the way. 

That said, this blog is going to focus primarily on the Northern Sun Conference which is made up of 13 schools in the Upper Midwest.  Why the interest in NSC?  Because I’m one of those family members. 

It is my intent to maintain a subjective view that doesn’t show bias toward any Northern Sun school.  In fact, I’ll be rooting for all of them once the playoffs start.

So if you find yourself here by whatever means.  Please feel free to drop a comment or send me an e-mail.  I can be reached at goldy_gopher@yahoo.com (yes, I went to Minnesota).


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