Huth: Baseball picked sixth? That's too low

We asked beat writer Jeff Huth for his thoughts on the Big Ten baseball preseason poll, which was released Tuesday:

Coming off an 11-13 record in the Big Ten last season, it’s not surprising that Illinois is no more than a middle-of-the pack pick in the conference coaches’ preseason poll. But at least coach Dan Hartleb’s peers foresee his Illini returning to the six-team Big Ten tournament after a year’s absence. Baseball America isn’t as confident, pegging Illinois for a seventh-place finish. Based on the large number of returning starters in the field (seven), as well as a pitching staff with two proven starters (who combined for 15 wins last year) and a deep bullpen, we think the 2013 Illini are being undervalued. Since I started covering this program in 1981, the most successful Illinois teams almost invariably were those stocked with players entering their second or third — sometimes even fourth — seasons as starters. This Illini team fits that description. Not predicting a title, mind you, but sixth place seems too low.

Poll position
A look at the top six in the Big Ten coaches’ poll:
1. Indiana
2. Nebraska
3. Michigan State
4. Ohio State
5. Minnesota
6. Illinois

Illini to watch
Kevin Johnson, Sr., P
Jordan Parr, Jr., OF
Justin Parr, Sr., OF

Categories (3):Baseball, Illini Sports, Sports

Comments

News-Gazette.com embraces discussion of both community and world issues. We welcome you to contribute your ideas, opinions and comments, but we ask that you avoid personal attacks, vulgarity and hate speech. We reserve the right to remove any comment at our discretion, and we will block repeat offenders' accounts. To post comments, you must first be a registered user, and your username will appear with any comment you post. Happy posting.

Login or register to post comments