Thursday, February 5, 2009

Think Spring: Baseball Starts in Two Weeks

With the release of the Horizon League Preseason Baseball Poll today (Feb. 5), it’s time to start thinking spring here in Milwaukee.

The Panthers were picked to finish third in the league, behind seven-time defending champ UIC and also in a close race to second-place Wright State (UIC had 36 points, WSU 29 and UWM 26).

With the preseason prognosticators making all of their picks, I thought it would be time to take a look at what everyone is saying about UWM this season… predicted the Panthers to finish fourth in the league standings, following UIC, Wright State and Youngstown State. However, they then went on to pick UWM as the league “Team on the Rise” and state that the Panthers could definitely finish third. Hmmm….

They also picked a preseason all-conference squad that included senior Shawn Wozniak. did not project an order of finish, but did select the Flames as the team to beat. The website actually polled the league head coaches in late 2008 and came up with the following spots where UWM was represented:

The hitter you least want to face is: Shawn Wozniak, Milwaukee

The biggest power threats are: Shawn Wozniak, Milwaukee; Jeff Mercer, Wright State and Brett Schaefer, UIC

The best pure hitters are: Shawn Wozniak, Milwaukee; Kyle Schultz, Butler; Casey McGrew, Wright State and Brett Schaefer, UIC

The best base-runner is: Andy Gerhartz, Milwaukee selected its All-Ping! 2009 Preseason Teams and Wozniak was an honorable mention selection there as well. In December, Wozniak also became just the second Milwaukee player to ever be named to the College Baseball Foundation Brooks Wallace Watch List. The Wallace Award is presented annually to the nation’s top collegiate baseball player.

UWM starts the 2009 season at Arizona State Feb. 20.