Feb. 5, 2001
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The annual Collegiate Baseball magazine college preview edition has tabbed Notre Dame senior shortstop Alec Porzel (Lisle, Ill.) as the 2001 BIG EAST Conference preseason player of the year while listing Irish senior righthander Aaron Heilman (Logansport, Ind.) as the BIG EAST’s preseason co-pitcher of the year.
Collegiate Baseball earlier ranked Notre Dame 14th in its preseason poll while naming Heilman a first-team preseason All-American and Irish sophomore rightfielder Brian Stavisky a second-team All-American.
CB’s college preview edition includes six Notre Dame players among “BIG EAST players to watch”: Heilman, Porzel, Stavisky, junior centerfielder Steve Stanley, junior catcher Paul O’Toole and senior righthander Danny Tamayo. The magazine’s listing of top professional prospects in college baseball for 2001 included Heilman (listed seventh), Stavisky (No. 18) and O’Toole (45th).
CB also picked Notre Dame to win the 2001 BIG EAST regular-season title, followed by newcomer Virginia Tech, Rutgers and Seton Hall.
Porzel’s preseason honor is all the more noteworthy considering the fact that his teammates Stavisky was tabbed the BIG EAST preseason player of the year by both Baseball America and the BIG EAST coaches poll.
Porzel heads into 2001 on the verge of becoming the first Notre Dame player ever to reach 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in his career (29, 26) and he could challenge Notre Dame career records in as many as six categories, including RBI, hits and doubles.
A clutch performer whose career highlights included a unique six-hit game (with inside and outside-the park home runs), Porzel was name a second team all-BIG EAST shortstop in 2000 (behind player of the year Darren Fenster of Rutgers) after ranking as the BIG EAST’s best all-around hitter. His stats in 2000 BIG EAST regular-season games included the league’s sixth-best batting average (.375), plus league-leading totals for RBI (27) and doubles (11). He ranked second among BIG EAST players for conference slugging percentage (.667) and fourth in hits (36), home runs (5) and triples (4).
Porzel’s overall season totals in 2000 included team-best totals in RBI (58, third BIG EAST), doubles (24, first BE) and slugging percentage, plus nine home runs and a .342 batting average.
Heilman shared preseason billing from CB with Rutgers sophomore RHP Bobby Brownlie, who also was named the BIG EAST preseason pitcher of the year by both BA and the BIG EAST coaches poll.
Irish prospects for 2001 season boosted by the return of the three-time All-American Heilman, who elected to return for his senior season rather than signing the Minnesota Twins after being selected with the 31st overall pick in the Major League Draft.
Heilman was named the BIG EAST pitcher of the year in 2000, after posting a 10-2 record, 3.21 ERA, 118 strikeouts and just 29 walks in 103.2 innings pitched. The 6-5, 225-pound righthander’s career numbers at Notre Dame include a 28-7 record, 14 saves, a 2.80 ERA and 314 strikeouts (one shy of tying the Irish record) in 280 innings pitched.
Collegiate Baseball 2001 Preseason Picks
Predicted Order Of Finish (2000 finish and 2000 RPI power rating)
|1. Notre Dame||(T-2)||33|
|2. Virginia Tech||(N.A.)||68|
|4. Seton Hall||(T-2)||28|
|6. Boston College||(5)||64|
|8. West Virginia||(7)||101|
|9. St. John’s (92)||(8)||117|
Preseason Player of the Year
Alec Porzel, Notre Dame, Sr., SS (.342, 9 HR, 58 RBI, 10 SB, 24 2B)
Preseason Pitchers of the Year
Aaron Heilman, Notre Dame, Sr., RHP (10-2, 3.21 ERA, 118 Ks, 29 BB)
Bobby Brownlie, Rutgers, So., RHP (10-1, 2.55)