LIU Brooklyn is moving their play to LIU Post in 2020 as the programs merge and become 1. In their last year playing in Brooklyn, the Blackbirds are hoping to have similar success that they did in 2018. LIU caught the state and conference by surprise as they put together a magical season which involved winning the NEC Tournament and playing in the programs 1st NCAA Regional Tournament. Their biggest lost will be 1B Andrew Turner whom was drafted by the Miami Marlins in the draft. Turner hit .346, 15 doubles, 4 HR, and 19 RBI. The Blackbirds start their season down at Lamar University.
The Blackbirds a solid group of starters returning. The starters are looking to include: RHP Zach Pederson (SR), LHP Patrick Clyneand (JR), and RHP Jackson Svete (JR). All guys logged plenty of innings last season, while Svete appeared in 23 games but started only 4. He had the lowest ERA of the three arms above, with a 3.75. He’ll need to get his walks down if he wants to stay in the starter role this season. Clynead started 15 games last year and struck out 89 in 81.2 IP and his ERA was 4.73. He gave up 10 HR last season. He made strides in 2018 and will look to continue that development. Pederson did well in his 14 starts going 6-4 with a 3.97 ERA. He is not going to strike out a ton, but keeps the walks low and gets outs. He has the stamina to go the distance if needed, as he threw 2 CG last year.
Their top 2 bullpen arms are closer RHP Mike Kreiger (SR) and RHP Rob Griswold (JR). Kreiger took a huge jump last year posting a 2.20 ERA in 45 IP with 7 saves. His batting average against was .205 in 28 appearances out of the pen. He is the top arm and has gained some draft attention. Griswold is undersized, but don’t let it fool you! He is a dependable arm that LIU Brooklyn used for 30 IP last year and saw the return on their investment. He walked 13 and struck out 28. Griswold and Kreiger are forming a nice 1-2 punch for the Blackbirds. They have some Sophomore arms that could become quality arms should they develop, that would give LIU plenty of punch in that pen.
The Blackbirds will be getting back most of its starters in 2019. They’ll be led by C Eddie Modica (SR) whom .299 last year to go along with 4 HR and 31 RBI and OF Andrew Smith (SR) who saw his numbers jump last year hitting .293, 8 doubles, 5 triples, 5 HR, and 34 RBI. Other notable players are: 3B Alex Briggs (SR) and SS Anthony Warneke (SR). Two new additions that will jump right into the fold are transfers OF Tim Bechtold (JR) and C/IF Colin Adams (SO). Teams will have to watch Greg Vaughn Jr. on the base paths, as he has plus speed which will cause havoc for pitchers. This is a group that has plenty of experience and will need to continue to working hard, because they won’t be sneaking up on anyone this year.
2019 Prediction: 26 Wins
2019 MLB Draft Prospects
- RHP Mike Kreiger (SR)
- RHP Rob Griswold (JR)
- 3B Alex Briggs (SR)
- OF Greg Vaughn Jr. (SR)