College | Rankings | 1/23/2020

2020 Division II College Preview

Nick Herfordt         Brian Sakowski        
Photo: Erik Webb (Central Missouri Athletics)

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Listed below are the Preseason Top 25 teams at the NCAA Division II level followed by detailed capsules of each program and the top D-II prospects in regards to the MLB Draft. The rankings and the first capsule are available for free, the rest is available with a College Baseball Ticket (CBT) subscription. To learn more about the College Baseball Ticket and to sign up today please visit this link.

Final 2019 NCAA Divisions II and III and NAIA Rankings

Since the program’s revival in 2005, the Angelo State Rams have been one of the winningest programs in NCAA D-II baseball. Under the sole guidance of head coach Kevin Brooks, the Rams have never had a losing season and have reached the D-II Baseball Championships three times, which include back-to-back appearances in 2015 and 2016 and a trip in 2007 in just the third year of the program’s existence.

Last year the Rams finished 46-12 despite an almost entirely new roster following the 2018 season. They easily advanced to the NCAA postseason play and won the opening round of the South Central Regional despite being down 9-3 early in the final deciding game. They rallied to score an astonishing 19 runs and advanced to host Colorado Mesa in Super Regional action. The contests between the Rams and Mavs were monumental with each game being decided by a single run. In the end it was CMU who won the deciding game and advanced to Cary as the Rams were forced to watch their overjoyed opponent celebrate the win feverishly on their home field. Following that bitter defeat, the team is hungry is get back on the field and earn another trip to North Carolina.

The Rams return seven of nine starters from last year’s lineup which hit .350 as a team, slugged .539 and were relentless on the basepaths with 153 steals. ASU’s pitching staff is gluttonously overstocked as well with three of its top starters back in the rotation along with a slew of top-shelf relievers.

ASU can also claim Josh Elvir, the winner of pretty much every offense-based award presented to players in the offseason. Elvir slashed .458/.584/.989 fueled by 46 extra-base hits and 50 walks. He also stole 11 bases and only once grounded into a double play.

“With our nucleus of returning players and some quality additions,” Brooks stated, “I feel like this could be a special year for Ram Baseball."

Brooks is not the only one with that forecast. Despite strong consideration from fellow perpetual powerhouse such as Central Missouri, Azusa Pacific, Minnesota State and reigning champion Tampa, the Angelo State Rams are this season’s top-ranked preseason team for 2020.

2020 Perfect Game NCAA Division II Preseason Top 25 Teams

Rk. '19 Rk. School ST Record
1 8 Angelo State Rams TX 46-12
2 4 Central Missouri Mules MO 46-16
3 17 Azusa Pacific Cougars CA 40-15
4 NR Minnesota State Mavericks MN 39-15
5 7 Catawba Indians NC 47-14
6 1 Tampa Spartans FL 45-14
7 22 Mount Olive Trojans NC 31-19
8 3 North Greenville Crusaders SC 45-11
9 2 Colorado Mesa Mavericks CO 53-12
10 13 Augustana Vikings SD 43-16
11 9 Delta State Statesmen MS 42-14
12 5 UC San Diego Tritons CA 41-16
13 20 North Georgia Nighthawks GA 33-20
14 NR Bellarmine Knights KY 34-21
15 NR Georgia College Bobcats GA 26-21
16 25 NYIT Bears NY 37-16
17 NR Dixie State Trailblazers UT 35-19
18 11 Nova Southeastern Sharks FL 34-17
19 NR Arkansas-Monticello Boll Weevils  AR 34-16
20 NR East Stroudsburg Warriors PA 31-19
21 14 Ashland Eagles OH 48-15
22 15 Illinois Springfield Prairie Stars IL 41-17-1
23 NR Southern New Hampshire Penmen NH 40-15
24 NR Newberry Wolves SC 41-16
25 NR Davenport Panters MI 32-18

1. Angelo State Rams
The Rams return much of last year’s lineup which batted .350, slugged .539 and stole 153 bases. They also return three of their top pitchers and added another who throws at the same upper echelon. Despite finishing with a school-record 42 wins and establishing a record 17-game winning streak, the team was unsatisfied with the season as they felt that they should have been playing in Cary. The group is very veteran-heavy, which should help propel them into the final eight this spring.

Josh Elvir was unequivocally the best player in D-II baseball last season. After batting .458 with 17 doubles, nine triples and 20 home runs, it seemed likely that someone would call his name in the MLB draft, but he wasn’t selected. Elvir, along with Nick Seginowich, give the club two monster sluggers. Seginowich batted .391 with 18 doubles and 15 home runs and would have been the top hitter on most any other team. Not only does he swing a big bat, he’s a great catch and throw guy behind the plate. In addition to that tandem, ASU returns five other players who started at least 53 games and batted no less than .317. Nicholas Novak, who was a top ranked recruit out of Minnesota, is a four-year starter at shortstop with excellent range and speed. He batted .322 with 24 stolen bases. Novak’s double-play partner is Parker Bramlett, a soft handed gold glove-winning second baseman who hit .330. Jackson Hardy earned honors for his defense as well in centerfield and batted .377 with 21 stolen bases. Justin Lee from Cochise JC and Aaron Walters, who started 20 games at Texas A&M, join the already formidable lineup. Walters was the second-rated Texas catcher coming out of high school.

The Rams’ returning rotation includes Trent Baker, Fabian Muniz and Josh Barnett. Baker was a First Team All-Lone Star Conference and All-Region who throws three pitches for strikes constantly. He made 16 starts last season and earned a 2.65 ERA with 70 strikeouts. Barnett made eight starts and finished with a 2.66 ERA and struck out 52 batters in 47 1/3 innings while issuing only 15 strikeouts. Muniz had a couple of bad outings which inflated his ERA, but he was big down the stretch. Coaches say his momentum carried into the summer and fall and he should be an invaluable asset this season. After twice earning conference pitcher of the year honors while playing for Butte College, Ben Elder will join the Angelo State staff. He had received offers from a number of D-I programs and had settled on Western Carolina but changed his mind late and will throw for ASU instead.

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