Feb. 13, 2012
The University of New Mexico baseball team was recently picked to finish second in the Mountain West by Baseball America. The second-place prediction is one better than the third-place prediction the Lobos received in the 2012 Mountain West Preseason Poll last week.
Baseball America focused more on the Lobos' pitching staff and the great potential they all hold. Baseball America's assessment reads as follows:
- New Mexico's emergence over the last two years under coach Ray Birmingham has been one of college baseball's great stories. The Lobos snapped a 48-year regionals drought by landing an at-large bid in 2010, then overcame a 3-15 start (against a brutal schedule) with a young club in 2011. New Mexico caught fire down the stretch, and then beat TCU twice in the conference tournament en route to the automatic bid. The Lobos have a chance for a strong pitching staff if So. RHP Jake McCasland (2-6, 6.34) and Jr. RHP Austin House (1-2, 5.89) can build off their encouraging falls. The physical McCasland attacks hitters with a plus fastball and an improving curveball, while the loose-armed House shows solid command of a power sinker and solid slider and changeup. Jr. RHP Sam Wolff, who began his collegiate career as a high-profile recruit at San Diego but spent last year at Southern Nevada JC, gives this staff another hard thrower with lots of upside if he can firm up his breaking ball and fine-tune his command. The lineup returns five of its top six run producers, led by Sr. OF Luke Campbell (.301/.365/.448, 5 HR) and So. 1B/3B DJ Peterson (.317/.377/.545, 6 HR, 48 RBI).
DJ Peterson, who was chosen as a Louisville Slugger Pre-Season All-American, earned another pre season All-American honor today - this time from CollegeBaseballInsider.com. CBI chose Peterson as an honorable mention on their preseason All-American team. He is one of three MW players to receive the preseason accolade. TCU's Josh Elander and UNLV's Brandon Bayardi were also chosen as honorable mentions by CBI