Nevertheless, it would be ludicrous to call the season anything but a success. The Spartans completed the season with a school-record .931 winning percentage, which included a remarkable 22 wins against nationally-ranked teams. They were the runaway winner of both the Sunshine State Conference title and the NCAA South Region. The Spartans pretty much won everything short of the national title.
Trevecca Nazarene completed one of the best seasons in program history last season and has won the first two G-MAC regular season and tournament championships. The Trojans are eligible for the NCAA D-II postseason for the first time this year. After finishing their season in the NCCAA World Series last season, TNU has a strong chance to advance to the D-II Championships this year with a roster full of seasoned talent led by Tyler Tichenor who rapped out 101 hits last season and batted .429.
Dixie State will battle Cal Baptist for the PacWest title and is on the short list of favorites to emerge from the West Region. DSU has three players on the NCBWA All-West Region team and will be have transfer hurler Porter Clayton on the roster.
Clayton was drafted by the Yankees in the 21st round last June, but passed on the opportunity to play professionally to hone his skills in St. George. Clayton pitched two seasons at Oregon; the first being in 2011 before taking two years off for a church mission, only to return last year to appear in 20 games for the Ducks. He, along with the über-athletic Trey Kamachi give Coach Chris Pfatenhauer two of the top 20 professional prospects in D-II baseball.
2015 Perfect Game NCAA Division II Preseason Top 25 Teams
|Rk.||Team||2014 Rec.||2014 Rk.|
|2||Seton Hill Griffins||41-17||6|
|3||Columbus St. Cougars||40-17||8|
|4||Mount Olive Trojans||40-13||14|
|5||Southern Indiana Screaming Eagles||49-13||1|
|6||Southern Arkansas Muleriders||39-19||22|
|7||Chico State Wildcats||43-15||7|
|8||Emporia St. Hornets||42-19||NR|
|9||Grand Valley St. Lakers||39-13||11|
|11||Minnesota State Mavericks||48-11||4|
|12||Franklin Pierce Ravens||35-18||NR|
|13||Florida Southern Moccasins||35-19||21|
|14||Colorado Mesa Mavericks||47-13||2|
|15||Trevecca Nazrene Trojans||43-14||NR|
|16||USC Aiken Pacers||36-17||20|
|17||St. Mary’s (TX) Rattlers||35-20||NR|
|19||UC San Diego Tritons||38-16||16|
|20||St. Edward’s Hilltoppers||39-16||13|
|21||Dixie State Red Storm||36-16||NR|
|22||St. Cloud St. Huskies||37-14||NR|
|24||Wayne St. (MI) Warriors||36-17||NR|
2015 NCAA Division II Top 30 Prospects
|1||Cody Ponce||RHP||JR||R-R||6-5||235||Cal Poly Pomona||Upland||CA||Never drafted|
|2||Josh Staumont||RHP||JR||R-R||6-2||200||Azusa Pacific (Calif.)||La Habra Heights||CA||Never drafted|
|3||Porter Clayton||LHP||JR||L-L||6-4||210||Dixie State (Utah)||Idaho Falls||ID||Yankees ’14 (21)|
|4||* Tyson Miller||RHP||SO||R-R||6-5||180||Cal Baptist||Indio||CA||Never drafted|
|5||* Ryan Olson||RHP||SO||R-R||6-3||185||Cal Poly Pomona||Covina||CA||Never drafted|
|6||Justin Alleman||RHP||JR||R-R||6-3||215||Lee (Tenn.)||Holt||MI||Royals ’12 (18)|
|7||Ryan Arington||SS||SO||R-R||6-6||195||Trevecca Nazarene (Tenn.)||Cincinnati||OH||Never drafted|
|8||Keaton Aldridge||C||SR||L-R||6-1||180||Tampa||Birmingham||MI||Brewers ’11 (40)|
|9||Tanner Rainey||RHP||SR||R-R||6-2||210||West Alabama||Folsom||LA||Never drafted|
|10||J.T. Phillips||RHP/SS||JR||R-R||6-3||215||Armstrong Atlantic State (Ga.)||Midland||GA||Rangers ’14 (18)|
|11||Nick Flair||3B||JR||R-R||6-3||200||Tampa||Belle Chasse||LA||Pirates ’11 (26)|
|12||Daniel Koger||LHP||SR||R-L||6-6||190||Alabama-Huntsville||Huntsville||AL||Never drafted|
|13||Cameron Tekker||RHP||JR||R-R||6-3||190||Lander (S.C.)||Waxhaw||NC||Never drafted|
|14||Jason Carmichael||RHP||JR||R-R||6-3||180||Florida Southern||Cape Coral||FL||Never drafted|
|15||Matt Swarmer||RHP||JR||R-R||6-5||190||Kutztown (Pa.)||Mohnton||PA||Never drafted|
|16||Kyle Carter||LHP/OF||JR||L-L||6-0||185||Lynn (Fla.)||Midland||GA||Never drafted|
|17||Garrett Harrison||LHP||SO||L-L||6-5||190||St. Cloud State (Minn.)||Champlin||MN||Never drafted|
|18||Trey Kamachi||RHP/SS||SO||R-R||6-2||215||Dixie State (Utah)||Kapolei||HI||Never drafted|
|19||Trey Oest||RHP||JR||R-R||6-3||200||Tampa||Dover||FL||Never drafted|
|20||Paul Covelle||RHP||JR||R-R||6-1||210||Franklin Pierce (N.H.)||Medford||MA||Never drafted|
|21||Chris Murphy||RHP||SR||R-R||6-4||215||Millersville (Pa.)||Newark||DE||Never drafted|
|22||Matt Bosse||OF||SR||R-R||6-6||255||South Carolina-Aiken||Baltimore||MD||Never drafted|
|23||Blake Bass||RHP/1B||SR||R-R||6-7||245||Angelo State (Texas)||Lubbock||TX||Never drafted|
|24||Gandy Stubblefield||RHP||JR||R-R||6-4||205||West Alabama||Lufkin||TX||Astros ’11 (14)|
|25||Joel Belk||SS/RHP||SR||B-R||6-3||195||Azusa Pacific (Calif.)||Rancho Cucamonga||CA||Never drafted|
|26||Trenton Hill||OF/LHP||JR||L-L||6-4||215||Lee (Tenn.)||Bentonville||AR||Never drafted|
|27||* Manny Cruz||SS||SO||R-R||5-11||170||Southern New Hampshire||Wolcott||CT||Reds ’13 (39)|
|28||Sean Miller||SS||JR||R-R||5-11||165||South Carolina-Aiken||Crofton||MD||Never drafted|
|29||Nolan Johnson||C||SR||R-R||5-11||190||Minnesota State-Mankato||Bloomington||MN||Never drafted|
|30||Matt Allen||RHP||JR||R-R||6-0||170||Colorado Mesa||Fort Collins||CO||Never drafted|
*Draft eligible in 2016
2015 marks a pretty unique year for Division II baseball given the presence of two power arms, Cody Ponce and Josh Staumont, that both have first-round type upside in regards to the 2015 MLB Draft. Cody Ponce is considered a near-lock to go in the first round, and both performed at a high level in the Cape Cod League last summer.
Here’s Frankie Piliere’s report on Cody Ponce, who was named PG’s No. 2 overall prospect on the Cape last summer:
The Cape Cod League All-Star game served as a cherry on top of a breakout summer for Cody Ponce, as he showed flashes of absolutely brilliance throughout his summer, but in this game put all the separate pieces together to form a pitching prospect that some scouts pulled out Roger Clemens comparisons for. Ponce attacked hitters with a 93-96 mph fastball in his All-Star outing, and showed the wipeout, plus slider he had used only sparingly at times throughout the summer. For much of the summer, it really did depend when you saw Ponce when it comes to just what your evaluation was of him. He didn’t always show that plus 85-89 mph slider that he broke out in a big way in the All-Star game, and his 79-82 mph curveball flashed big plus 11-5 depth in some games, but didn’t show up quite as sharp in others. His solid-average changeup was a constant for him at 81-83 with late fading action, however. But, if nothing else, Ponce proved he has different gears he is capable of reaching for. In one particular mid-season performance, the 6-foot-5 righty was living at 91-93 mph – that is until he got in trouble. With runners on, he threw two 96 mph fastballs, followed by a 97 mph fastball to finish off a dangerous Orleans hitter in Bobby Dalbec. In other words, this is an arm who has an idea on pacing himself and holding some extra bullets in reserve. Ponce is going to have to improve his command consistency and find ways to bring the entirety of that four pitch arsenal with him to the mound everyday, but his size, easy righty arm and potential for three plus offerings make him a potential frontline starter if things break right. At worst, he has an attack mode mentality, the demeanor, and clearly the electric stuff to pitch at the end of games. We may just be seeing him scratch the surface of his ability.
And here’s the report on Josh Staumont, ranked 25th:
If there was a title to be given for most fascinating pitching prospect on the Cape, Josh Staumont would be the slam dunk winner. Staumont has a mountain of talent, but with that being said, there will need to be a steady diet of refinements made to his game. In one specific outing against the Wareham Gatemen, Staumont’s first two pitches registered at 96 mph. In that same inning, his velocity dipped as low as 88 mph, but lived mostly at 93-94. Staumont will have to find a velocity level where he can comfortable locate and repeat his mechanics. His arm works extremely well, and with more innings there does not appear to be a glaring a reason why he won’t be able to maintain that mid 90s velocity through a game. If he can keep his glove arm up and pull down rather than side to side, that should also help his command. The same has to be said for his 76-80 mph curveball, which flashed big, sharp depth, but was also inconsistent throughout his outing. He also will flash a changeup. The good news is that the late in the summer, the velocity began to live more consistently at 95-97 mph and his command took strides in the right direction.
Fifth-ranked D-II prospect Ryan Olson also was listed among Piliere’s top 200 Cape prospects, checking in at No. 172:
A projectable 6-foot-3 righthander, Olson showed good life on his fastball at 87-90 mph. He mixes a tight 78-80 mph slurve that he will use against righties and lefties. His 78-81 mph changeup is a pitch he’s still developing and tends to throw across his body.
The third ranked Division II prospect, Porter Clayton, was ranked the 191st overall draft-eligible prospect for the 2014 draft, garnering this PG report:
Porter has travelled an unconventional path in arriving as a top lefthanded prospect for the 2014 draft. One of the nation’s leading two-way talents four years ago at an Idaho high school, Clayton elected to take himself out of the 2010 draft by enrolling at Oregon a semester early, and worked in only 17 innings there as a freshman before embarking on a two-year Mormon mission. He returned to the Ducks last fall and pitched sporadically initially as he shook off considerable rust, but worked with more conviction later in the spring and soon began drawing waves of curious scouts. Though Clayton assembled just a 2-1, 4.65 record through his first 18 outings (5 starts), with 45 base runners (23 BB/22 H) and just 19 strikeouts 31 innings, scouts have shown a willingness to overlook an indifferent performance, along with an inconsistent delivery and arm action, because of Clayton’s impressive physical stature and the considerable promise in his left arm. His fastball, 88-90 at the start of the spring, was a steady 88-91 mph towards the end, and topping at 93. The ball was coming out of his hand increasingly easier and he should only to continue throw harder as he refines his mechanics and firmly gets his feet back on the ground. Clayton’s breaking ball also has shown rapid gains, and his change should be a future out-pitch.