Baseball America Tabs St. John's at No. 25 in Preseason Poll|
Jan. 23, 2018
Complete Baseball America Rankings
QUEENS, N.Y. - Fresh off the program's 36th NCAA Tournament appearance in 2017, Baseball America has predicted the Red Storm to have similar success this coming spring, presenting the Johnnies with a no. 25 ranking in the publication's preseason poll.
With 42 wins last season, including 40 victories in the team's first 48 contests, the Red Storm turned in one of the best seasons in program history in terms of national rankings. The Johnnies rose as high as no. 4 in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper poll, matching the team's best-ever ranking achieved twice in the College World Series years of 1966 and 1968. The team also topped out at no. 12 in the USA TODAY Sports Coaches Poll, no. 14 in the Baseball America and D1baseball rankings, and no. 11 in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association poll. The Johnnies also reached as high as no. 6 in the RPI in mid March.
The Red Storm returns plenty of talent from its 2017 squad. In the field, a trio of seniors in John Valente, Anthony Brocato, and Jamie Galazin will come back for their final campaign in Queens. Last season, Valente hit .375, was named to the All-BIG EAST First Team and turned in the Red Storm's finest performance in postseason play, going 3-for-6 with a pair of doubles at the Clemson Regional. The team's top power hitter and another first team all-conference honoree, Brocato led the squad with 47 RBIs and eight home runs, five of which came in BIG EAST play. Galazin, an athletic outfielder who can also do damage on the mound, hit .319 with a pair of homers and 34 RBIs as a junior in addition to swiping a team-best 13 bags.
In addition to those senior starters, the Johnnies also welcome back junior Josh Shaw, a two-time All-BIG EAST honoree who is coming off a spectacular stint in one of the nation's most prestigious collegiate summer leagues. The Wayne, N.J., native was named to the Cape Cod League All-Star team, hitting .283 with 16 RBIs in 31 games for the Chatham Anglers.
After finishing 2017 ranked eighth in the NCAA in team ERA (3.11), the Red Storm returns 11 hurlers from last year's pitching staff, including BIG EAST Pitcher and Freshman of the Year Sean Mooney. Last season, the Marmora, N.J., native went 8-2 with a 1.71 ERA and a 0.86 WHIP, the last two of which ranked eighth and fifth, respectively, in the nation. After his stellar debut season, Mooney was awarded a spot on the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team. The Johnnies also welcome back the other two members of their late-season weekend rotation in Kevin Magee and Michael LoPresti in addition to a slew of talented relievers.
Led by 23rd-year skipper and recent ABCA Hall of Fame inductee Ed Blankmeyer, the Red Storm will open its 2018 slate on Feb. 16, traveling to Buies Creek, N.C., for a three-game set with Campbell.