After winning the Charlottesville Regional a season ago, East Carolina is picked to finish first in the 2017 American Athletic Conference preseason poll, in voting by the league’s head coaches and released by the conference office.

The Pirates received six first-place votes and 48 points to top the poll. Houston had one first-place vote and 42 points to sit in second. Tulane garnered the final first-place vote and had 35 points to place third, followed by UConn, Cincinnati, USF, UCF and Memphis.

The AAC had three teams earn bids to the 2016 NCAA Tournament: Tulane, UConn and East Carolina. Tulane won the regular-season title and UConn captured the conference tournament crown.

The 2017 season begins on Feb. 17, with conference play commencing on March 31. The 2017 American Athletic Conference Championship will be May 23-28 at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Fla.

2017 AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE
PRESEASON BASEBALL POLL
 
  Team (First-Place Votes) Points
1. East Carolina (6) 48
2. Houston (1) 42
3. Tulane (1) 35
4. UConn 30
5. Cincinnati 22
6. USF 21
7. UCF 13
Memphis 13

2017 PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM

Pos, Name, School, 2016 Statistics

P, Tim Cate, UConn, 5-1, 2.73 ERA, 82.1 IP, 101 K, 27 BB

P, Evan Kruczynski, East Carolina, 8-1, 2.01 ERA, 116.2 IP, 95 K, 27 BB

P, Seth Romero*, Houston, 6-4, 2.29 ERA, 94.1 IP, 113 K, 28 BB

P, Ross Massey, Tulane, 10-3, 2.29 ERA, 9 0.1 IP, 51 K, 18 BB

RP, Joe Ingle*, East Carolina, 6-3, 3.59 ERA, 12 SV, 52.2 IP, 75 K

C, Travis Watkins, East Carolina, .326, 7 HR, 44 RBI

1B, Hunter Williams, Tulane, .294, 9 HR, 30 RBI

2B, Jake Willsey, Tulane,.265, 10 HR, 31 RBI

SS, Kevin Merrell, USF,.320, 1 HR, 22 RBI, 16 SB

3B, Willy Yahn, UConn,.319, 3 HR, 46 RBI, 7 SB

OF, Dwanya Williams-Sutton*, East Carolina, .360, 5 HR, 27 RBI, 7 SB

OF, Corey Julks*, Houston, .332, 3 HR, 28 RBI, 10 SB

OF, Chris Carrier, Memphis,.280, 6 HR, 38 RBI, 15 SB

DH, Joe Davis*, Houston, .331, 14 HR, 58 RBI

*unanimous selection

PRESEASON PLAYER OF THE YEAR                

DH, Joe Davis, Houston, .331, 14 HR, 58 RBI

PRESEASON PITCHERS OF THE YEAR            

LHP, Tim Cate, UConn, 5-1, 2.73 ERA, 82.1 IP, 101 K, 27 BB

LHP, Evan Kruczynski, East Carolina, 8-1, 2.01 ERA, 116.2 IP, 95 K, 27 BB

 

About The Author Phil Stanton