Everything's coming up roses for St. John's as they head into the 2016 season. If last season was an indication of what this team can do, then the Johnnies have quite a season ahead of them.
Last season Ed Blankmeyer's team finished the season with a record of 41-16 over the stretch of what was a remarkable season for the Red Storm. In conference play they finished with a record of 14-3, and on an overall note finished the off the season with a fifteen game winning streak. Tying the mark for second longest active in the country and also the longest in program history since 1977. They captured a record eighth Big East Tournament crown and for the thirty-fifth time made their way to the NCAA Tournament, a total that ranks tied with Oklahoma for ninth all-time. In the tournament the Johnnies would fall to Arkansas in a 4-3 loss in the regional final, bringing their season to an end.
Through it all they were anchored by the tutelage of Blankmeyer and a roster filled with talent. Among that talent was Ryan McCormick who took home Big East Pitcher of the Year honors, Tim Hackimer who set the career saves mark for the Johnnies, and Alex Caruso who took home honors during the Big East Tournament.
While McCormick is gone, Hackimer who was drafted by the New York Mets is coming back, as is Caruso in what could be another stellar season for the St. John's.
Players to Watch
Tim Hackimer, RHP
Last June, Hackimer opted to return back to St. John's following being selected by the New York Mets in the 15th round of the MLB Draft. This is great news for St. John's and terrible if you have to face the sidearming in the dying innings of the game. Last season Hackimer went 4-1, with an ERA of 1.92 and a school record mark in saves with 15 on the season. He also is know the career record holder for saves with 28 and appearances with 96. Hackimer will be continuing his work where he left off from last season.
Alex Caruso, OF
Returning for his senior season, Caruso was last season's batting champion in the Big East as he hit to a tune of .382/.480/.426. While he lacks power, his best asset at the plate is controlling the strike zone and getting on base as the lead-off hitter. Along with taking home a batting title, Caruso also took home outstanding player honors during the Big East Tournament. Once again and for the final time in his college career he will be leading off St. John's line up.
Mike Donadio, OF
Entering into the 2015 season, Donadio was reigning Big East Rookie of the Year. He followed suit in 2015 batting mostly third in the order and posting a slash line of .302/.382/.416 along with 64 hits and 33 runs batted in. Much in the same vain as Alex Caruso, Donadio is not a power hitter but does know how to get on base and work the plate. St. John's is not a power hitting team, so they will need the likes of Donadio and Caruso to work their patient magic at the plate to get the job done.
The best case scenario is pretty simple for St. John's. Blankmeyer's team pick ups where it ended last season. In the process taking home another Big East crown and this time around try to work their way through the regionals to punch their first ticket to Omaha since 1980. Winning the College World Series itself is tough to predict, but another Big East crown could be well within full grasp once more.
St. John's schedule this season is slightly tougher than last season. Worst case for the Johnnies this season would be struggling to cope with their schedule, especially with road games against Florida State and CSU Bakersfield. On top of that the Johnnies falter in Big East play especially against Creighton who usurps St. John's as Big East title holders.