Feb. 9, 2012
As the preseason polls continue to roll out, the University of New Mexico baseball team continues to receive praise from its peers.
CollegeBaseballInsider.com asked college coaches around the Mountain West to preview the 2012 college baseball season by sharing their insights on the teams and players to watch in their conferences. As CBI compiled each coach’s answers, a few Lobo names popped up in consideration for best in the conference.
Lobo head coach Ray Birmingham received high praise from his fellow MW coaches after being chosen as the best game coach along with TCU head coach Jim Schlossnagle.
Last year’s freshman All-American DJ Peterson was chosen as one of the three best pure hitters in the conference as well as the most underrated hitter. Peterson set an NCAA record for doubles in a season by a freshman with 32 last season.
“DJ Peterson is an impact player and I think that kid is going to play on TV someday,” coach Birmingham said.
Finally, Lobo infielder Alex Allbritton was chosen as the best defensive infielder in the conference. Allbritton is also considered to have the best infield arm in the conference.
Below is how the rest of the votes panned out: (four of five coaches responded)
The team to beat in your conference is: TCU
Rank the top three starting pitchers: Sean Carley, Air Force; Andrew Mitchell, TCU (right); Cole Swanson, San Diego State
The top closer is: no player received more than one vote
The pitcher you least want to face is: Sean Carley, Air Force
The most underrated pitcher is: Sean Carley, Air Force
The best defensive catcher is: Josh Elander, TCU
The best catcher arm is: Josh Elander, TCU
The best defensive infielder is: Alex Allbritton, New Mexico
The best infield arm is: Alex Allbritton, New Mexico
The best defensive outfielder is: Brance Rivera, TCU
The best outfield arm is: Brance Rivera, TCU
Rank the three best pure hitters: Brandon Bayardi, UNLV; Josh Elander, TCU; Jason Coats, TCU; D.J. Peterson, New Mexico
Rank the three biggest power threats: Brandon Bayardi, UNLV; Garrett Custons, Air Force; Josh Elander, TCU
The hitter you least want to face is: Brandon Bayardi, UNLV
The toughest hitter to strike out is: Trent Cook, UNLV
The most underrated hitter is: D.J. Peterson, New Mexico
The best base-runner is: Cody Smith, San Diego State
The best game coach is: (tie) Ray Birmingham, New Mexico; and Jim Schlossnagle, TCU
The assistant coach most ready for a head-coaching job is: Mark Martinez, San Diego State
*Martinez is a fomer Lobo assistant coach that spent 17 years at UNM