Squeaking their way into the Mid-American Conference Tournament last year as the eight-seed, the Central Michigan Chippewas will look to have another crack at being MAC Champions in 2014. Finishing the season with a 25-32 overall record and going 12-15 in conference play, the Chippewas will look to build off of
While having big sluggers that knock the ball around is the sexiest of ways to win ball games, the Chippewas didn't necessarily have that luxury. They were 10th in the MAC in batting average (.251), tied for eighth in on-base percentage (.338), and seventh in slugging percentage (.357). Fortunately enough, the Chips will be returning five of their top batsman from last year in Cody Leichman, Nick and Logan Regnier, Neal Jacobs and Pat MacKenzie. Their combined slash totals from last year is .295/.379/.442, all well-above team averages.
Probably their best bat in the lineup is outfielder N. Regnier, a junior from Novi, Mich. who had an on-base plus slugger percentage (OPS) of .883 with a BAbip of .353. In conference play, he had a slash line of .320/.417/.408 with 15 walks and striking out only eight times. His younger brother Logan didn't have a bad year as a true freshman, being third in the conference with 25 stolen bases.
Overall, the Chippewas weren't very impressive with the bats, but they were one of the better pitching teams in the MAC. They were fifth in the MAC with a 4.15 ERA with a K/BB ratio of 1.78. In conference play, they had a team ERA of 3.66 and a team WHIP of 1.536.
The best arm that CMU has on their roster is starting pitcher Jordan Foley. The 6'3" right-handed pitcher from The Colony, Tex. was the Friday starter for the Chippewas a year ago and really impressed some scouts. Not that he wasn't already going to attract scouts to Theunissen Stadium, since he was selected by the New York Yankees in the 26th round of the 2011 MLB Draft. I know one scout who watched Foley a few times last year, here's what he had to say:
Ideal pitcher's frame. Decently athletic. Sat 89-93, touched 94 a few times. Reports of him touching 96 earlier in season. Ball explodes out of hand. When he commands it down in zone; it's near untouchable. Can blow it by people up in zone... Average movement on FB... Not afraid to come inside; nor should he be. SL is average pitch right now, with projection to become plus.
In 15 starts last year, Foley posted a 3.08 ERA, 1.257 WHIP, and an 8.9 K/9. He led the team in innings pitched (90.2), fourth in the MAC in strikeouts (90) and held his opponents to a .209 average. As a junior, it'd be nearly impossible for Foley to not be drafted in this year's Draft. Baseball America even has Foley as the top prospect from the MAC for the upcoming Draft, too.
Outside of Foley, it looks like two of the other main starting pitchers will be Pat Kaminska and Taylor Lenhert.
Central Michigan will begin their season on Feb. 14 with a three-day, four-game series at UNLV and another four-game series at Troy on Feb. 21.
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