Indiana has been selected by the conference coaches as the favorite to win in 2013, the Big Ten office announced on Tuesday. The conference’s baseball coaches voted on the top six teams and also selected three players from their own squads to a Players to Watch list. Following the Hoosiers on the coaches’ preseason top six list are No. 2 Nebraska, No. 3 Michigan State, No. 4 Ohio State, No. 5 Minnesota and No. 6 Illinois.
Indiana returns 20 players from last year’s squad that advanced to the Big Ten Tournament championship game, including Players to Watch Joey DeNato, Kyle Schwarber and Sam Travis. Travis, the reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Year, and Schwarber were second-team All-Big Ten honorees last season, while DeNato was named to the third team.
Nebraska welcomes back 20 letterwinners from last year’s team that advanced to the Big Ten Tournament. The Huskers are led by starting pitcher Brandon Pierce, outfielder/designated hitter Michael Pritchard and relief pitcher Dylan Vogt. Pritchard was a first-team All-Conference honoree a season ago, while Vogt is one of five Big Ten relievers named to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Award watch list.
Michigan State is coming off its first NCAA Championship appearance since 1979 and a Big Ten Tournament berth and welcomes back 20 letterwinners. The Spartans are led by first-team All-Big Ten left fielder Jordan Keur and starting pitchers David Garner and Andrew Waszak.
Ohio State welcomes back 19 letterwinners from last year’s squad that advanced to the Big Ten Tournament for the 15th time in the last 16 years. The Buckeyes are led by first-team All-Big Ten starting pitcher Jaron Long, first baseman/designated hitter/reliever Josh Dezse and starting pitcher Brad Goldberg.
Minnesota returns 22 letterwinners from last year’s team, including six position starters. The Gophers are led by third-team All-Big Ten outfielder Andy Henkemeyer, first baseman Dan Olinger and starting pitcher Tom Windle.
Illinois returns 17 letterwinners from last year’s squad, including seven position starters. The Illini are led by starting pitcher Kevin Johnson and outfielders Jordan Parr and Justin Parr, a third-team All-Big Ten performer last season.
The complete Players to Watch list and top-six preseason poll can be found below and attached.