BASEBALL AMERICA RELEASE (pdf)
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Cal Poly junior center fielder Alex McKenna is a member of the 2018 Baseball America Preseason All-America Third Team.
On Monday, Baseball America announced its preseason All-America teams. McKenna, the lone player from a Big West Conference school honored, was a first-team All-Big West selection last spring after hitting .360 with 85 hits, 13 steals and 45 runs scored, all team highs.
McKenna produced 11 doubles, two triples and five home runs, driving in 31 runs, mostly from the leadoff spot in the batting order. He started all 56 games and led the Mustangs with 30 multiple-hit games and 10 multiple-RBI contests.
McKenna had a four-hit game in the finale of the Cal State Fullerton series with a double and a home run and also recorded 11 three-hit contests, including five RBI with two home runs and a single against Santa Clara.
McKenna finished No. 30 in the nation in hits per game (1.50) and produced hitting streaks of eight, seven and six games. He hit .389 in Big West games and, for the season, did not commit an error in 145 chances.
The Alemany High School graduate was named the team's Ozzie Smith Most Valuable Player and also earned the Monty Waltz Big Stick Award last spring. After his solid sophomore campaign, he played summer ball in the Cape Cod League for Yarmouth-Dennis, hitting .298 over 31 games with nine doubles and two triples. He also stole 15 of 22 bases and knocked in 16 runs.
Florida, the top-ranked team in the Preseason Top 25, also leads the way on Baseball America's Preseason All-America team with two first-team members and four total players earning Preseason All-America honors.
Baseball America annually polls major league organizations' scouting departments to vote on the team and asks that they make their selections based on performance, talent and professional potential. In the past, the Preseason All-America team has been a predictor both of the first round of the draft and of team success. Baseball America received responses from 18 MLB teams.
Florida led all teams with six Preseason All-Americans last year and went on to win the national championship. In addition, nine members of the 2017 preseason first team became first-round draft picks last June, including College Player of the Year Brendan McKay. The lone sophomore on last year's first team – Oregon State second baseman Nick Madrigal – projects to join them as a first-rounder this June.
Florida and Wichita State are the only schools with multiple first-team honorees. Twelve schools from seven conferences are represented on the first team. In all, the 42 players on the three Preseason All-America teams represent 31 schools.
Cal Poly opened practice for the 2018 season last Friday, preparing for its opener Feb. 16 against Gonzaga in the Surprise Tournament at Surprise, Arizona.
In other Mustang baseball news:
• Perfect Game ranks Cal Poly No. 40 in its preseason NCAA Division I poll.
"Cal Poly missed the NCAA Tournament in 2017 after going 28-28 overall, but the Mustangs did go 16-8 and finished second in a very competitive Big West Conference," notes Perfect Game. "They won all but one of their weekend conference series, losing to conference champion Long Beach State in early May, and overall rebounded well from their 8-16 non-conference schedule over the first two months of the season.
"While losing their top two starters, Spencer Howard and Erich Uelmen, won't be easy to overcome, they are getting back 6-foot-3, 210-pound right-hander Jarred Zill, who missed most of 2017 due to injury but went 8-4 with a 2.95 ERA over 97 2/3 combined innings as a freshman and sophomore. Last year's closer, Michael Clark, will serve as the team's Friday ace, with Trent Shelton and Bobby Ay taking the other two weekend spots.
"The offense will be paced by conference player of the year favorite Alex McKenna, who can do a little bit of everything as his .360-5-31 line and 13 stolen bases may suggest, and he also didn't commit a single error in center field. Overall the Mustangs return seven of nine regulars in the starting lineup, including shortstop Kyle Marinconz and catcher Nick Meyer."
• Former Cal Poly designated hitter Brian Mundell is one of 17 players the Colorado Rockies have chosen as non-roster invitees for Spring Training.
A seventh-round fraft choice of the Rockies in the 2015 Major League Baseball Draft, Mundell hit .299 in 67 games at Lancaster (California League) and .302 in 52 games at Hartford (Eastern League) last summer. He was invited to play in the Arizona Fall League for the Salt River Rafters and hit .262 in 23 games with eight doubles, two triples, a pair of home runs and 16 RBI.
The 6-3, 230-pound Mundell played at Cal Poly from 2013-15, hitting .275 with 29 doubles, five triples, 20 home runs and 117 RBI. His 11 home runs in 2013 are the most by a freshman in Cal Poly's 23 Division I seasons and Mundell was named a Freshman All-American by Collegiate Basseball Newspaper.