In my last college baseball update I provided links to a series of fall reports written for Fast-forward to the 2021 season (the season is just getting underway as I type this) as Burke Granger and myself continue to manage the coverage of the Midwest for college baseball’s one-stop shop all season (and year) long. Leading up to the season Burke and I co-wrote the Big Ten preview and provided our first Midwest Power Ranking and notebook – something that will continue during every week of the regular season – profiling the top teams, talent and storylines from the 52 teams that grace the 12 Midwest states (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin).

First, we’ll start with the conference previews, of which I was responsible for three others in addition to my share of the Big Ten (a D1 subscription is required to read these features in full):

Michigan was our pick to win the Big Ten, with Indiana, Maryland and Ohio State also projected to make the NCAA Tournament. I chose Fordham, UConn and Dallas Baptist to claim the A-10, Big East and MVC conferences, which at this point in time are being projected as one-bid leagues.

Michigan was also our pick for the No. 1 team in the Midwest as part of our Midwest Power Rankings to kick off the year:

Midwest Power Rankings: Big Ten Logjam At The Top

In this feature I take a deeper dive into Seth Halvorsen, a talented recruit out of high school that is expected to be significant, two-way contributor at Missouri this year, how much Carson Seymour means for a talented starting staff at Kansas State and how expectations appear to be changing at Notre Dame after their loud 11-2 start to the shortened 2020 season.

As for the Big Ten, their schedule was just released on Wednesday which confirmed the teams will be playing 44-game slates beginning on March 5. There will be no midweek games and no out-of-conference opponents.

Capping off D1’s preview content was their annual staff predictions, of which I got to join in on the fun for the first time. Here’s the link to that feature followed by my picks:

2021 Preseason Staff Bold Predictions

  • National Champion: Louisville
  • Player of the Year: Chris Newell, Virginia
  • Pitcher of the Year: Gunnar Hoglund, Ole Miss
  • Freshman of the Year: Dylan Crews, LSU
  • Non-Top 25 Sleeper: Dallas Baptist
  • Non-Field of 64 Sleeper: Notre Dame
  • Breakout Star: Michael Curialle, UCLA

The earliest I will be on the road would be March 5 to kick off the Big Ten’s season. I have yet to determine, however, if scouts and media members will be allowed into the park. Stay tuned.