Concordia Baseball – 2010 Preview

Concordia

Today I continue with my series looking at the top teams in the Northern Sun Conference by previewing Concordia.  I look back at their results in 2009, key roster transitions and what 2010 might hold for the team.

Concordia 2009

The Golden Bears entered the 2009 season on a high.  The 2008 season had seen them finish 3rd in the Northern Sun Conference.  They then went on to win the NSIC Tournament and qualify for the NCAA Regional for the first time in school history.  Going into the season they returned a high number of their key contributors from that 2008 team including 2009 NSIC Pre-season Pitcher of the Year, Jake Schmidt and 2009 Pre-season Player of the Year, Brenden Furrow.  The feelings about them were so strong that coaches picked them to finish 3rd in the Conference where they were closer to the top place than the 4th place.

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The team started out well enough with a 15-3 non-conference record (against a relatively weak schedule) but things started to go south in their first NSIC weekend when they lost 3 of 4 to upstart Augustana.   So what went so terribly wrong for the team that left them with an 8th place Conference finish?

What Went Wrong?

The team had a lot of things conspire against them in 2009 including –

  • As I wrote about in one of my very first blog posts on February 1st, 2009 (Roster Analysis), the team entered the season with one of the smallest rosters in the Conference.  By carrying only 26 players they were more susceptible to player issues
  • The team had numerous injury problems including the loss of #2 pitcher Blake Devries early in the non-conference season, starting shortstop Bryan Lippincott midway through their conference games and #1 pitcher, Jake Schmidt late in the season
  • Their starting 2nd baseman left school right before the start of conference play – a player who led the team in hitting and stolen bases.
  • Brenden Furrow had another very good year but wasn’t nearly as dominating as he was in 2008.  His slugging % dropped over 200 points.

Based upon their NCAA ranking statistics below you’d think they would have had a better season than Augustana but these are a little skewed from the fact that they did so well in the non-Conference portion of their schedule.  They were #3 in the country for fielding which is very impressive.  Their high strikeout ranking will definitely go down in the coming year with the graduation of Jake Schmidt who struck out 103 batters in 69 innings pitched.

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Outlook For 2010

The Golden Bears will be without 3 of their top 5 batters in 2010 along with a number of other offensive contributors.  Catcher Chris Herbert started all 53 games and led the team with a .372 average, 12 homers and 65 RBI’s.  Center Fielder/Pitcher Jake Schmidt was a key offensive contributor with a .365 average and 10 homers go along with only 1 error in the field.  Third baseman Zane Froehlich started every game and hit .324 while only committing 4 errors all season.  Overall, the team is losing 50% of its at-bats off of the 2009 team and its top 4 home run hitters.  Returning batters only hit 9 dingers last year.

While the team looks to be losing a lot on offense, it’s pitching squad takes an even bigger hit as they lose their top 4 pitchers from 2009, including their top 3 starters and their record setting relief pitcher, Kirk Ingram.  Overall, they lose 62% of the innings pitched and 21 of their 35 wins.  They will be counting on a healthy return of Blake Devries to go with 2 other guaranteed starters in Nick Anderson and Ben Lemke.  After that, there are a lot of holes to fill.

The team was a lot more active in recruiting this past year as they added 11 players to the team including all-state player, Hogan Jackson (Tartan Star Commits).  The additions of Jackson and Stillwater’s Patrick Rydeen are both higher profile names from the 2009 Minnesota high school season.  It’s interesting that one of the players they were touting as helping with the pitching duties, Jeremy Kruse, looks to no longer be on the roster Recruiting Class Has Five Additions.

The team once again plays a pretty weak non-Conference schedule with contests against the likes of NAIA schools (Kansas Wesleyan & Northwestern IA), Division 3 schools (St. Johns & UW La Crosse) and Minnesota Duluth.  They do travel to Orlando for the Russ Matt spring tourney.  Concordia 2010 Schedule

As I wrote about when posting their schedule a few weeks back, this could very well be a transition year as the school has 22 of their 31 players who are either freshman or sophomores.  Based on the losses this team has off of an 8th place team in 2009, the best I can forecast for the Golden Bears is a 6th-9th place finish in 2010.

Statistics of Interest

The following statistics from 2009 caught my eye –

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I had called out Augustana as having their games over by the 4th inning but Concordia’s games were over by the 3rd inning in most cases.

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One key for Concordia in 2010 will be how well Brenden Furrow plays.  The senior was recently named to the NCBWA pre-season 3rd team All-American squad (Furrow 3rd Team).  Although the sample was small, it looks like Northern Sun teams would be best off avoiding left handed pitchers  against Furrow and another key hitter, Logan Bouts.

Concordia Baseball Site

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16 Responses to “Concordia Baseball – 2010 Preview”


  1. 1 WSCDad December 21, 2009 at 9:26 am

    Rodeck looks like he has a chance to do them some good in the rotation but he has some pretty big shoes to fill.
    The freshman might be ok in a couple of years but to compete for the conference will be difficult.
    Big recruiting class looks nice, but that can’t be good news in the short term. With only 6 juniors (2 jucos) and 3 seniors I wouldn’t look for any improvement on 8th place. Furrow is a really nice player, but one guy just won’t get it done.

  2. 2 cu17dad December 21, 2009 at 10:58 am

    The youth will benefit from the early season sc hedule. One small advantage of the situation last year is a few younger players did receive some quality playing time. The pitching staff will need to jell early. The large number of pitchers will help with depth. Defensively they looked pretty good this fall.

  3. 3 WSCDad December 21, 2009 at 11:10 am

    cu

    What is the story on the Lippincott kid? 29 starts and hit .350 but didn’t play at the end of the season. Did he get hurt? He might be pretty good for you.

  4. 4 cu17dad December 21, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    He hit a foul ball off his leg in the 7th inning at Wayne. Diagnosed as a deep bone bruise (still has a bruise indicator). He was told 6 to 8 weeks before he would be healed. He played in the wood bat league in DSM this past summer. Lead the league in triples and steals.

  5. 5 WSCDad December 21, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    I thought Wayne was the last time he played. Big kid, should be good production for CU. Looks like he hit 5th last year. Think he’ll hit in the 2 or the 3 hole this year?

  6. 6 WSCDad December 21, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    I see Lippincott wears No. 17. Coincidence that there is a 17 in your name?

  7. 9 IMAFAN December 21, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    I resemble that remark;)

  8. 10 cu17dad December 22, 2009 at 10:31 am

    Good deductive reasoning. Not sure where he will bat in the order. He hit as high as 5th last year but spent most of the games lower in the order. Graduation took out several above him in the order.

    • 11 WSCDad December 22, 2009 at 11:12 am

      My boy hit in the 9 hole most of last year and it appears he may hit leadoff this season. Funny how as they get older they move up in the order – they get a little stronger and hit with a little more power.

      Glad to hear you boy is healthy now. Mine was never hurt until the summer between soph and junior year. He broke his hand in the first game of summer baseball and then wasn’t able to work out for a number of schools that were recruiting him (he is a juco kid). It turns out, that he got to WSC late and was able to work out for them and the rest is history. Couldn’t have chosen a better school or program.

  9. 12 cu17dad December 22, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    A teamate from Johnston is a freshman at WSC. I know he redshirted in football and will likely redshirt in baseball as well.

  10. 13 cu17dad December 22, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    Sorry Jonathan is at Winona. I goofed.

  11. 14 imafan January 16, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    Clearly Concordia has a huge home field advantage. It is very disapointing to not play at thier field. If they don’t lead the league in HR’s. there is something wrong.
    The only field I have seen thus far that a hard hit line drive becomes a dinger, let alone a mistake that goes up.

    • 15 Stat Rat February 9, 2010 at 11:15 am

      Concordia’s dimensions have actually since been fixed. Center is now 408 left 348 right is 326 with a big blue baggy hanging down. Sorry that your son’s era most likely blue up because he doesnt know how to pitch in a small park and keep the ball down in the zone.

  12. 16 Anonymous January 19, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    They have improved the field in the off season. Since the softball field is now djacent to the baseball field they elevated the left field fence and deepen it just a little.


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