Rave pre-season reviews for Lloyd, Pompey, Stevenson, Wilson

 Ontario Terriers' 3b Liam Wilson (Ayr, Ont.) of Canisius is part of Baseball America's pick to win the Metro Atlantic conference.

Ontario Terriers' 3b Liam Wilson (Ayr, Ont.) of Canisius is part of Baseball America's pick to win the Metro Atlantic conference.

By Bob Elliott
Canadian Baseball Network

The two best college baseball sources predict large things for Canadians this spring.

Kentucky Wildcats’ OF Tristan Pompey (Mississauga, Ont.) is Baseball America’s choice to be the player of the year this sprirng, while BA projects the winner of the Big 10 to be the Illinois Hooisers.

INF-RP Matt Lloyd (Okotoks, Alta.) is Indiana’s closer and he could be on the mound to close out the conference tourney, if the Hooisers win it all. 

Both Lloyd and Pompey earned Pre-Season all-conference honours from Perfect Game.

In addition to Indiana, the Canisius Golden Griffins are Baseball America's pick to win the Metro Atlantic Conference led by: 3B Liam Wilson (Ayr, Ont.) and LHP JP Stevenson (New Glasgow, PEI). 

In all 15 Canucks are mentioned in the Perfect Game and Baseball America conference previews. Besides Pompey, Lloyd, Wilson and Stevenson all making both publications so did two others: RHP Jackson Wark (St Albert, Alta.) of the Saint Louis Billikens and RHP Brady Moxham (Oakville, Man.) of the South Dakota State Jackrabbits.

The others named included SS Royce Ando (Mississauga, Ont.) of the Michigan State Spartans, LHP Ben Onyshko (Winnipeg, Man.) of the Stetson Hatters, LHP Steven Dressler (Burlington, Ont.) of the Texas San-Antonio Roadrunners; RHP Kristjan Storrie (Langley, BC) of the Lamar Cardinals; 3B Nolan Bumstead (Calgary, Alta.) and LHP Wesley Moore (Surrey, BC) both of the Cal State Northridge Matadors; 1B Dane Tofteland (Grande Prairie, Alta.) Indiana State Sycamores, RHP Michael Brettell (Fonthill, Ont.) of the Central Michigan Chippewas and RHP Matthew Brash (Kingston, Ont. -- Canada’s first capital) of the Niagara Purple Eagles.

 Toronto Mets grad Tristan Pompey is picked as SEC's pre-season player of the year by Baseball America. 

Toronto Mets grad Tristan Pompey is picked as SEC's pre-season player of the year by Baseball America. 

SEC
Baseball America

Player of the Year: Tristan Pompey, OF, Kentucky.

Pompey earned All-America honors last season as a sophomore after hitting .361/.464/.541 with 10 home runs and nine stolen bases. The Wildcats have to replace some key pieces of their lineup, including leading hitter Evan White, but Pompey is ready to take on a larger role. Pompey is one of the toolsiest players in the conference and his play will be critical as the Wildcats look to make their first ever CWS appearance.

Perfect Game
Preseason All-Conference Team
Pos. Name Class School Stats/Notes

OF Tristan Pompey Jr. Kentucky .361-10-45; elite athlete, polished skill set

Southeastern Conference (SEC) Notebook
Perfect Game

Kentucky: Popular Golden Spikes preseason picks include outfielder and five-tool star Tristan Pompey as well as their 6-foot-11 Friday night starter Sean Hjelle, the reigning SEC Pitcher of the Year. Pompey’s presence in the lineup can’t be overstated as his hitting skills are impressive to go along with top-flight athleticism.

Big 10
Baseball America

Team to Beat: Indiana.

Indiana gets several key pieces back from that team including infielder/righthander Matt Lloyd (.301/.393/.554, 11 HR), third baseman Luke Miller (.272/.331/.464, 10 HR) and outfielder Logan Sowers (.291/.356/.536, 13 HR), three big bats in the middle of its order who could have moved on to pro ball. The pitching staff returns largely intact, led by Lloyd (3-2, 2.23, 9 SV).

Perfect Game
Preseason All-Conference Team

Pos. Name Class School Stats/Notes
UT Matt Lloyd R-Jr. Indiana .301-11-46 w/ bat in ‘17; 2.23 w/ 9 saves on the mound

matt.jpg

Okotoks Dawgs' RP-INF Matt Lloyd (Okotoks Alta.) a double-duty man for Indiana, Baseball America's choice to win the Big Ten.

Big Ten Conference Notebook

Indiana: Star two-way player Matt Lloyd will do both again in 2018, working out of the back end of the bullpen while also keeping his dangerous bat in the lineup by way of playing some second base, first base, and designated hitter.

 One-time Ontario Blue Jays SS Royce Ando (Mississauga, Ont.) 

One-time Ontario Blue Jays SS Royce Ando (Mississauga, Ont.) 

Michigan State: Returners Royce Ando at shortstop, Bryce Kelley in the outfield and Zack McGuire in the infield are all back and penciled into a very solid starting nine.

 Former Vauxhall Academy Jet LHP Ben Onyshko (Winnipeg, Man.) 

Former Vauxhall Academy Jet LHP Ben Onyshko (Winnipeg, Man.) 

Atlantic Sun
Perfect Game

Stetson: Freshman Austin Wood and senior lefthander Ben Onyshko round out the four-man staff and look to bridge the gap to closer Brooks Wilson, who led the team with 107 2/3 innings as a starter last spring.

 Former Ontario Blue Jays LHP Steven Dressler (Burlington, Ont.) is a fixture with the San Antonio Roadrunners.

Former Ontario Blue Jays LHP Steven Dressler (Burlington, Ont.) is a fixture with the San Antonio Roadrunners.

Conference USA
Texas-San Antonio: Experience is key for winning college baseball games, and in a quick look the UTSA pitching staff certainly has that as all four projected starters – Steven Dressler, Chance Kirby, Jordan Rodriguez and Karan Patel – are all seniors and return with valuable innings under their belts. Dressler will lead the staff after going 4-4 with a 3.99 ERA over 14 starts.

 Former Langley Blaze RHP Kristjan Storrie (Langley, BC) of the Lamar Cardinals.

Former Langley Blaze RHP Kristjan Storrie (Langley, BC) of the Lamar Cardinals.

Perfect Game
Southland

Lamar: Kristjan Storrie and Tanner Driskill both show big arms and will undoubtedly be called upon frequently at the end of games, though Driskill could be used in a variety of roles. 

 Former Vauxhall Jet 3B Nolan Bumstead (Calgary, Alta.)

Former Vauxhall Jet 3B Nolan Bumstead (Calgary, Alta.)

Perfect Game
Big West
Preseason All-Conference Team

Pos.    Name    Class    School    Stats/Notes
3B    Nolan Bumstead    Sr.    CSUN    .302-4-25; led league w/ 18 HBP

 Ex-Vauxhall Jet  LHP Wesley Moore (Surrey, BC) of the Matadors

Ex-Vauxhall Jet  LHP Wesley Moore (Surrey, BC) of the Matadors

Cal State Northridge: Offensive production will be a key in 2018 as the Matadors hit just .261 a year ago. Third baseman Nolan Bumstead, shortstop Alvaro Rubalcaba and slugger Albie Weiss make for a formidable top part of the order. Canadian freshman lefthander Wes Moore has a plus changeup and he is a future weekend starter.

 Former Okotoks Dawgs 1B Dane Tofteland (Grande Prairie, Alta.)

Former Okotoks Dawgs 1B Dane Tofteland (Grande Prairie, Alta.)

Perfect Game
Missouri Vallley

Indiana State: First baseman Dane Tofteland is poised for a big season as well after a strong fall and should be one of the primary offensive contributors after hitting .289 with six home runs last season.

 Former Kingston Thunder Matt Brash earned rookie of the year honours last spring 

Former Kingston Thunder Matt Brash earned rookie of the year honours last spring 

Perfect Game
Metro Atlantic
Preseason All-Conference Team

Pos. Name Class School Stats/Notes
SP Matthew Brash So. Niagara 2.79, 77.1 IP, 63:27; 2017 MAAC Rookie of Year

 Former Vauxhall Jet LHP J.P. Stevenson of Canisius

Former Vauxhall Jet LHP J.P. Stevenson of Canisius

Canisius: Liam Wilson and Mark McKenna head a lineup that brings back plenty of talent to a team that was third in the conference in batting average a year ago. The starting staff returns all three pitchers from last season in Andrew Sipowicz, Andrew Kneussle, and J.P. Stevenson. 

Niagara: The Purple Eagles return a pair of Preseason All-Conference starting pitchers in Cody Eckerson and Matthew Brash. A year ago the duo combined for 11 wins and a 2.59 ERA in 132 1/3 innings.

Baseball America
Team to Beat: Canisius.

Yes, Canisius lost 2017 conference player of the year Jake Lumley (.355/.436/.461) to the draft, but the Golden Griffins should still roll out one of the league’s best offenses with dangerous hitters throughout the order including senior third baseman Liam Wilson (.343/.422/.505). There’s plenty of experience returning on the mound as well with junior righthander Andrew Sipowicz (6-3, 3.48) slated for Friday night games and senior lefthander J.P. Stevenson (9-5, 3.65) projected to go on Saturdays.

 FORMER GREAT LAKE CANADIAN MICHHAEL BRETTELL

FORMER GREAT LAKE CANADIAN MICHHAEL BRETTELL

Perfect Game
MAC
Preseason All-Conference Team
Pos. Name Class School Stats/Notes

SP Michael Brettell Jr. Central Michigan 90-94 w/ power sink, improved off-speed, draft guy

Central Michigan: The rotation is expected to feature some order of Patrick Leatherman, Tyler Hankins and Michael Brettell along with sophomore Zach Kohn looking like the fourth starter right now. 

Atlantic 10
Baseball America

Saint Louis: Ace righthander Miller Hogan (8-3, 2.70) and Saturday starter Jackson Wark (5-5, 4.66) have some of the best pure stuff in the conference and will form a dangerous one-two punch.

 Prospects Academy's RHP Jackson Wark

Prospects Academy's RHP Jackson Wark

Perfect Game
Saint Louis: Jackson Wark returns to the rotation in the No. 2 slot, followed by JuCo transfer Cody Luther and senior Connor Lehmann, who is healthy and ready to go. 

Summit League
Perfect Game

South Dakota State: Two transfers in will be joining Stover in the rotation as sophomore Brady Moxham and junior Korey Kuhlmann will both be expected to provide significant innings this spring.

 Vauxhall grad RHP Brady Moxham (Oakville, Man.)

Vauxhall grad RHP Brady Moxham (Oakville, Man.)

Baseball America
Notable Storylines: South Dakota State could be the team with the best chance to unseat Oral Roberts. Righthander Brady Moxham, a junior college transfer, throws a heavy 88-92 mph sinker with an above-average changeup and should be a force on Friday nights.