FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Baseball America released is its 2007 Preseason Top 25 baseball poll on Thursday with Arkansas ranked No. 7.
The Baseball America poll comes on the heels of the Collegiate Baseball poll that listed the Razorbacks No. 4 to open the season.
Hog skipper Dave Van Horn returns a solid veteran nucleus from his 2006 team that finished 39-22 and second in the SEC’s Western Division. That group includes infielder Danny Hamblin, who hit 17 home runs; pitcher Nick Schmidt, the SEC’s Pitcher of the Year after going 9-3 with 145 strikeouts; and pitcher Shaun Seibert, who was 4-0 with a 2.79 earned run average
Arkansas also boasts a top 10 recruiting class that includes what Baseball America called the top class of junior college players in the country.
The Razorbacks open the 2007 season on Feb. 2 in Ruston, La., with a three-game series with Louisiana Tech. After three games at Troy the following weekend, the Hogs return to Baum Stadium for the home opener on Feb. 16 against Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The three-game set is slated for start times of 3:05 p.m. (Friday), 2:05 p.m. (Saturday) and 1:05 p.m. (Sunday).
Below is a look at Baseball America’s 2007 Preseason Poll.
1. Rice (57-13) – If healthy, LHP/1B Joe Savery gives Owls an ace to go with deep staff, dangerous lineup
2. Miami (42-24)-2B Jemile Weeks (.361-6-40), 1B Yonder Alonso (.295-10-69) lead potent offense
3. Clemson (53-16) -Tigers lost entire weekend rotation, but will plug in other veterans without missing a beat
4. Texas (41-21) – ’Horns have pitching depth to overcome elbow injury to RHP Kenn Kasparek
5. North Carolina (54-15) – With first-rounders Andrew Miller, Daniel Bard gone, Heels will lean on deep, versatile lineup
6. South Carolina (41-25) – Offense is fearsome, but Tommy John surgery will sideline ace Arik Hempy until March
7. Arkansas (39-21) – JC transfers Jess Todd, Duke Welker could be nation’s two most important newcomers
8. Vanderbilt (38-27) – LHP David Price and 3B Pedro Alvarez could both vie for national player of year honors
9. Virginia (47-15) – LHP/1B Sean Doolittle (11-2, 2.38; .324-4-57) leads one of nation’s best pitching staffs
10. Wichita State (46-22) – As good as Damon Sublett (.395-10-45) is at the plate, he’s allowed 0 ER in 31 career IP
11. Tennessee (31-24) – C J.P. Arencibia, CF Julio Borbon and LHP James Adkins could all be first-rounders
12. Georgia Tech (50-18) – Will mash as usual, but LHP David Duncan and co. need to take steps forward on mound
13. UCLA (33-25) – Young Bruins will play defense with the best and rely on stud freshmen in rotation
14. Cal State Fullerton (50-15) – Fr. SS Nate Bridges and OF Khris Davis have big shoes to fill, but Titans will pitch
15. Tulane (43-21) – Despite losing Mark Hamilton’s power bat, Tulane should score enough to support power arms
16. Oregon State (50-16) – Mike Stutes, Daniel Turpen must repeat CWS heroics to replace departed stalwarts
17. Nebraska (42-17) – Lucky for Huskers, SS Ryan Wehrle and LHP Tony Watson didn’t sign as eligible sophs
18. Florida State (44-21) – Sr. RHPs Bryan Henry, Michael Hyde, Luke Tucker know their way around harsh ACC
19. Pepperdine (42-21) – With slugging C Chad Tracy gone, pitching will carry Waves, led by ace Barry Enright
20. Arizona State (37-21) – JC transfer Brian Flores steps into Friday starter spot; will enjoy plenty of run support
21. Evansville (43-22) – Elite freshmen Wade Kapteyn, Jared Baehl bolster experienced Aces, fresh off MVC title
22. Oklahoma State (41-20) – Power-hitting Fr. Dylan Brown joins brother Corey to lead scary-good Cowboy offense
23. Winthrop (46-18) – RHP Alex Wilson (13-3, 3.78), coming off All-Freshman season, leads balanced Eagles
24. Texas Christian (39-23) – All-American RHP Jake Arrieta (14-4, 2.35) is difference-maker atop strong staff
25. Mississippi (44-22) – Rebels seek third straight super-regional; SS Zack Cozart, RHP Cody Satterwhite will be key