Wayne State – 2010 Preview

Wayne State1

Today I conclude my 2010 season previews with a preview of Wayne State.  I look back at their results in 2009, key roster transitions and make a prediction about where I expect the 2010 team will finish.

Wayne State – 2009 Results

The Wildcats concluded 2009 the same way they’ve been concluding seasons for some time now – with the Northern Sun Conference regular season title and a trip to the NCAA Regional Tournament.  In fact, this was the 6th straight conference title and NCAA appearance.  Along the way, the team set records for most wins by a NSIC team in league play going 27-4 and tying a team record for most wins in a season with an overall record of 45-14.  After winning the regular season crown the team finished 2nd in the NSIC Postseason Tournament (NSIC Tourney Results) and then went on to finish 2nd in the NCAA Regional to just miss out on a chance to advance to the D2 College World Series Mesa State Upends Wayne St.

The team amassed very good statistics in most categories tracked by the NCAA for D2 college baseball teams.  They really shined in the scoring, hits, runs, doubles, slugging and home runs statistics.  The team wasn’t as dominant in the pitching categories as compared to other D2 teams but was in the top 3 among conference teams in key stats like ERA, hits allowed and walks allowed.  About the only area you could fault the team was in fielding where they finished 7th among Northern Sun teams.  


Wayne State Outlook For 2010

On the offensive side, the Wildcats are losing 3 players of significance off of their team.  Left fielder, Justin Hemauer, was 2nd team All-Conference & 2nd on the team in batting with a .367 BA.  Alex Koch (DH) was 1st team All-Conference and 3rd on the team in HR’s and Slugging.  Finally, the team suffered a big blow when shortstop Eric Bond left school early.  The 1st team All-Conference player led the team in HR’s and was 2nd in RBI’s, slugging and stolen bases.  While his 19 errors were a big reason for the teams mediocre fielding percentage, it will be hard to replace his bat.  The players not returning accounted for 40% of the teams at bats in 2009.  The team does return 2009 NSIC Player of the Year, Joe Wendte (CF), along with 5 other starters, each of whom had a batting average over .328.  Treye Hacker (1b), Mike Bisenius (RF), Nick Bidroski (2b), Brandon Polk (3b) and John Plasha (C) give the team a solid core for 2010.

On the mound the team loses just 2 of their key pitchers.  Chad Moreland was 1st team All-Conference and was 2nd on the team in wins (7-2).  That said, his 12 starts were the only ones that aren’t returning as all the pitchers who made the other 48 starts are coming back.  Jared Hegdahl led the team in ERA and appearances out of the bullpen but the Wildcats kind of used a bullpen by committee approach.  The team returns 5 starters (Tom Doran, John Snyder – led team with 8 wins, Josh Voth, Eric Schwieger and Austen Wisroth) as well as 2 key relievers (Sam Rathbun and Matt Meier).  Overall, the team lost just 26% of the innings pitched.

The team did sign 8 new players for the 2010 season.  Fall Signing Announcement and Summer Signing Announcement

Of course, any discussion of 2010 wouldn’t be complete without bringing up the change of head coach for the coming year.  John Manganaro left Wayne State in July after 17 seasons at the helm.  He left with a 506-309-1 overall record and turned the school into one of the top D2 programs in the country (Wayne State was the 12th winningest program in D2 during his tenure).  Coach Mags was named NSIC Coach of the Year 4 times and led the team to 5 NSIC Tournament titles to go with his 7 regular season crowns – Manganaro Steps Down.  Wayne State assistant, Brian Disch, was named interim head coach and while many people speak quite highly of him it’s hard to believe that he will immediately be able to replace Manganaro.  This is probably the #1 reason why Minnesota State was picked to finish first in the coaches poll.

The team kicks off its season on February 13th with games against Nebraska Kearney.    They don’t have a spring trip but will be taking a number of bus trips during the preseason to Colorado, Kansas, Indiana and Minnesota.  The 4 games against Winona State (picked 4th by coaches) in late February should be a good conference barometer.  Their game against D2 College World Series runner-up, Emporia State, on March 16th should be a great game.  The Wildcats have a pretty easy NSIC Conference schedule as they avoid playing Winona State, SW Minnesota State, Upper Iowa and Mary.  Wayne State 2010 Schedule

Finally, how this team was picked to finish 2nd in the coaches poll is beyond me.  While the team did lose 4 players with All-Conference honors they do return a really strong core of players & pitchers.  As we saw in the Minnesota State Preview, that team lost half it’s contributors.  The national media picks Wayne State 14th in the College Baseball News D2 Preseason Poll and 19th in the Ping! Baseball D2 Preseason Poll where no other NSIC team cracks the rankings.  Combine that with what I consider one of the easier Conference schedules and I can’t see any possibility other than a 7th straight NSIC regular season title for the Wildcats in 2010.

Wayne State Baseball Home

19 Responses to “Wayne State – 2010 Preview”

  1. 1 WSCDad January 23, 2010 at 11:09 am

    Hey Fish

    So glad you finished up what you started. Peer pressure will do it most every time, right?

    More from me later – but I wanted to be the first to say thanks. And I hope you will come see us when we visit the twin cities in February.

  2. 2 IMAFAN January 23, 2010 at 11:42 am

    How about this no Manganaro? Will it have a significant impact? Was there more coaching than I think there was with WSU’s talent? Sometimes coaches get in the way of talent and sometimes they bring it out? Most times its kind of a none issue? Was Manganaro a cheerleader/Motivator or strong and silent type?

  3. 3 Wow January 23, 2010 at 11:55 am

    Thanks for doing a Wayne St. preview. I for one believe Wayne should be pre-season #1 pick. Can’t wait for he games to start.

    • 4 Observer January 23, 2010 at 3:46 pm

      Mags – cheerleader?..not so much
      Strong or Silent ?..Strong

      Probably was not liked that much across the conference because his team won all the time.

      How about the PING poll. The thing is suuppsed to be all about the numbers and they exclude WSU until Mags retires. Crooked.

      I really hope this site keeps going. Love it. Good place to get the real story.

      • 5 Anonymous January 23, 2010 at 5:48 pm

        Hey Fish, “You da Man”!!! Been looking forward to reading your review for quite some time and as usual you did a fine job. Your assesment of the team was right on with about the only thing missing was a recent development that I myself just found out about. The void created when Eric Bond moved on was, in my opinion, recently filled nicely when Jarett Jackson a transfer from D-1 University of Washington came aboard. I think the “Hot Corner” will be adaquitly manned this season. After all The Cleavend Indians thought enough of Mr. Jackson to make him their pick in the 33rd round of the 2006 player draft. Like many others on this site, I can’t wait to get started. Good luck to all!!! (And Thanks To You, You’ve Done A Great Job With This Site.) Hopefully we’ll cross paths this season.

  4. 6 cu17dad January 23, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    Coach Mags was an excellent coach. It takes skill to motivate talented players to work as a unit. That is the skill hardest to replace following a successful coach.

    Wayne should be very good. It will be a significant challenge to continue their total success.

    Thank you for your contributions to this site. I have read it weekly ever since I found it last spring.

  5. 7 John Plasha Sr January 23, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    Let me start off by saying that Mags will surely be missed. He was a pro at getting the most out of his players. None of his kids ever got mixed feelings about where he was comming from. One of the things I admired most about the man was that one minute he would be in someone’s ear/*** about something he wasn’t happy with and 5 minutes later he would have his arm around the young man and the 2 of them would be laughing about life between the lines. Surely he was reguarded as one of the best D-2 coaches in the country.
    With that said, I’m sure that life with Coach Disch will be just fine also. Although in the past Mags was in charge once the kids got to Wayne, Brian Disch had a lot to do with getting most of them there. Looking at their success over the last half a dozen years I think you’ll see that Coach Disch is more than capeable of ensureing continued sucess in the NSIC and beyond. Besides the boys wern’t the only ones paying attention when Mags was coaching. Everybody on the field was required to listen!

  6. 8 WSCDad January 24, 2010 at 9:29 am

    As has been mentioned, the biggest loss for the Cats this season will most probably be Mags. While Disch has been a large part of the success of WSC in the past, time remains to tell exactly how much. The boys seem to like him and respond well to him and I expect Coach Disch to have great success – I think his mentor taught him well.

    Offensively, nearly half the home runs from last year were lost. The good news is that the Cats were ranked number 5 in the country in HR’s last year so a little drop off in slugs might not be as devastating as initially thought. Combine that with the above mentioned Jackson and another year of strength for Bisenius and Hacker and the dropoff might just be tolerable. The returning players hit for a great average and they will find a way to score runs. They were 14th in the nation in hits and 8th in walks, so they are disciplined hitters and there is much more to their offensive output than homeruns.

    Defensively, Wayne should be stronger than last year. The addition of Jackson will allow Polk to move from third to short and add experience up the middle. Left field may be by committee in the beginning as we wait for a newcomer to establish himself as “the guy”.

    The real strength of this team may well be the pitching staff. As has been pointed out, with the exception of Moreland, the entire staff returns plus 2 returning after Tommy John surgery. Eric Dye was 3-0 with a 2.89 era before his 2008 season ended. By making one half of the conference games 9 inning games instead of 7, the depth and experience of the WSC pitching staff should be vital to their success. Add to that, the senior leadership of catcher John Plasha to complete the battery and opposing teams should find it difficult to get on base.

    Overall, the season looks pretty bright for the Cats and I expect them to start this decade just as they ended the last – with another conference championship, another trip to the regionals and with a little luck and some good health, a breakthrough into the world series.

    One final note, Jarrett Jackson is not on the Wayne roster as of yet. As you might imagine, the NCAA has held up his their decision on his eligibilty. The Cats expect to hear just before the season starts.

  7. 9 IMAFAN January 24, 2010 at 10:44 am

    I thought if you move down to DII from D1 you were good to go? Are there other eligibility issues?
    I did a little googling. He hit .222 with only 7 games played in 2008 for Washington. Looks like he didn’t play at all in 2009? At least no Stats for 2009? He hit .273 w/1 HR in 2007 for the community college. Not on the stats in 2007? So he played a part of 1 year and 1 year in community college with an average BA?
    What am I missing? Where has the young man been?

  8. 10 Wow January 24, 2010 at 11:38 am

    I might add that the HR total exploded in the 8 games they played against Northern and Crookston. I believe if I got my numbers right, they had 21 against Croookston and 31 against Northern. That would be a total of 52 HRs out of the 93 they had for the season. I haven’t been at Northern but I heard the field is like a softball field. I don’t think the HR output by Wayne last year is the reason they were so good. They were just solid all around and don’t believe the loss of the HR out put will hurt them especially when over half were from the two teams mentioned.
    GO VIKINGS—Minnesota Vikes

  9. 11 John Plasha Sr January 24, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    Nice job DAD. Right on with your assesment of the boys from Nebraska. As you pointed out I think the greatest improvment with Wayne will be in the defensive Dept. I still have visions in my sleep of the 5 E’s in the winners bracket final against Mesa St. which prevented a trip to Cary N.C. last year. One of the only things that still concerns me is when they’re gonna get their first game in. With a season start scheduled in Colorado the 2ed week in Feb. followed by a date in Pittsburg Kansas a week later there is a good possibility they might not see any live pitching till they play 4 in the Dome against Winona Feb. 26th/27th. Till then I’ll just be sitting here looking out the window waiting for the mailman to bring me a check from Uncle Sam so I can buy some plane tickets for what I hope will be many road trips this season. Good luck to all in the NSIC especialy those who have participated in this Web site as we all strugled to get thru the long winter months. Hope to see many of you soon!

  10. 13 WSCDad January 24, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    I forgot to mention that centerfielder Joe Wendte should most certainly be a first team all american this year. There is a chance, in my mind, that he is the best hitter in the country as well as a really nice defensive centerfielder.

  11. 14 Wow January 24, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    Just a side note to you all. If the MN Vikes win today they wil play Feb 7th in the Super Bowl. Augustana will be playing at the Dome Feb 7th starting at 5:00 pm. So if they win they can say they played on the Super Bowl Champs home turf the day they won the Super Bowl. Its something I guess.

  12. 15 John Plasha Sr January 27, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    Hey Dad,
    I agree with you when you said above it’s gonna be difficult for opposing teams to get on base. And if their not paying attention they’re not gonna be there long!!!

    • 16 WSCDad January 29, 2010 at 10:01 am

      I am having visions of many 2-6, caught stealing!

      2 weeks til Colorado my friend. The march to the National Championship begins.

      • 17 John Plasha Sr. January 31, 2010 at 6:51 pm

        Yea I can’t wait. I got a feeling we’re in for a pretty good ride! Looking forward for some great baseball.

  13. 18 Stat Rat February 10, 2010 at 10:36 am

    who is better wayne state neb or wayne state michigan???

  1. 1 What’s With Wayne? « Northern Sun Baseball Trackback on March 8, 2010 at 8:51 am

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January 2010

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