Manhattan College ’14 baseball preview

The 60 game race to the college baseball MAAC championship crowning is about to be underway this week.

Where does Manhattan College baseball sit?

Last season, MC finished 24-28, (11-13 MAAC). It was a disappointing year for the Jaspers after being back-to-back MAAC champions in the 2011 and 2012 seasons.

“We have regrouped in a big way,” Head Coach Jim Duffy said. “There are 13 new faces on the MC 2014 baseball team: 11 freshmen, one junior college transfer and another young man who’s a senior.”

The one junior college transfer student is Maxx Feldman who comes over to MC after spending two years at Pierce College.

The senior is Mike Vocatura, who was a two-year student manager for MC because there wasn’t room on the roster. He made the team as a pitcher after asking to try out again.

“All [freshman] will have a key role in our success this year. At different levels,” Duffy said. “[Joey] Rocchietti, [Matt] Simonetti, [William] Fabra, those guys have the ability to be difference makers right away. [Jose] Carrera, the second-baseman, he’s got to stay healthy, and he is going to play second base for us every day. He will be an impact player in the league this year as a freshman.”

There are two other players that aren’t freshman who are already being projected to make an impact this season: sophomore Christian Santisteban and senior Yoandry Galan.

Both Galan and Santisteban were named to the All-MAAC Preseason Baseball team.

Galan is MC’s “Ironman” at shortstop. He’s been the team’s shortstop for three years running playing an average 54 games per season.

Santisteban is just starting to blossom. He was two-time rookie of the week in 2013 and hit five homeruns – tied for most on the team with graduates Kyle Murphy and Ramon Ortega.

In the first four weeks of the season MC will look to implement a four-man starting rotation, and eventually transition into a five-man rotation, in no particular order: Fabra, Maxx Feldman, Mike Martin, Rocchietti and Simonetti.

MC 2014 Projected Starting Rotation

1

Joey Rocchietti

2

Matt Simonetti

3

William Fabra

4

Michael Martin

5

Maxx Feldman

The bullpen will be broken up into two groups. Duffy calls them “long guys” and “bridge guys.”

Long guys are used if the starting pitcher throws too many pitches early in games and has to come out early. Bridge guys are the most important pitchers in the bullpen because they are entrusted in holding the game where it is to then hand the rest to the closer.

This season will look different at the backend of the bullpen with the loss of closer Jacob Marcus, who holds the MC record in career saves, due to his voluntary decision to leave the team because of personal reasons.

MC will most likely fill-in Marcus’ void by going closer-by-committee to start. Later on in the season, don’t be surprised to see junior right-hander Kevin Bonanni root himself into the closer’s role.

Duffy said he will look to mix up the balance in the lineup between of lefties and righties to keep to MC recruited.

MC 2014 Projected Starting Lineup

Catcher

Chris Reynolds

First-Base

Vin Teixeira

Second-Base

Jose Carrera

Third-Base

Joe McClennan

Short-Stop

Yoandry Galan

Left-Field

Brendan Slattery

Center-Field

Chris Kalousdian

Right-Field

Andrew Gorecki

Designated-Hitter

Christian Santisteban

“We’ve recruited for athleticism and speed,” Duffy said, “and we try to build our lineup on athleticism and speed with a couple of bigger, stronger guys in the middle that need to drive runs in. We’re going to bookend those guys with athleticism and speed.”

A couple of recruits Duffy said to keep an eye on this season are outfielders Jason Patnick and Evan Brown who will learn under veteran outfielders Gorecki and Kalousdian, and have an chance to be an impact. In the bullpen there are two names we won’t recognize this year but Duffy said this time next year we will know who Shawn Kanwisher and Joe Jacques are.

This season, Duffy said he wants the team to focus on what he calls the daily championship process. He provided the definition directly from the team mission statement, which reads: “One day at a time and to compete one pitch at a time.”

“Our objective is to be a dynasty in the MAAC,” Duffy said. “That’s our goal.”

MC Baseball Team Record (Last Five Years)

2013

24-28, 11-13 (MAAC)

2012

33-27, 18-6 (MAAC)

2011

34-19, 20-2 (MAAC)

2010

31-20, 15-9 (MAAC)

2009

35-18, 18-6 (MAAC)