AZUSA, Calif.--In its annual college baseball preview, Baseball America named 2014 Fairbanks Goldpanner and Azusa Pacific sophomore Josh Staumont the NCAA Division II preseason Pitcher of the Year. Baseball America, widely renowned as one of the top baseball publications in the country, also listed Staumont as the No. 9 sophomore Major League prospect across all levels of college baseball.
Staumont, who joined current Cougar pitching coach John Verhoeven in a move from Biola to Azusa Pacific over the summer, led the Golden State Athletic Conference in strikeouts (109) as a freshman, and has since garnered recognition as one of the top prospects for the 2015 draft thanks to a fastball with a verified velocity of 98-99 mph.
In his first two starts with the Cougars this season, the La Habra Heights native has posted a 1-1 record with a 3.00 ERA. He’s tallied nine strikeouts in nine innings of work, including five in rainy conditions against No. 12 ranked Chico State last weekend.
As a freshman with the Eagles he helped Biola toss its first no hitter in over 40 years when he and three others combined to no-hit The Master’s in a 6-0 win. In the game he pitched the first 5.1 innings, registering three strikeouts in that span.
Staumont was also named the top Division II prospect by both Baseball America and Perfectgame.org, which tabbed Azusa Pacific as a top-10 Division II team in its season preview. Perfectgame.org ranked Cougar junior pitcher Adam McCreery as the No. 3 Division II prospect.
Azusa Pacific has had 35 players drafted to the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, including 10 since 2007. Last season two Cougar alums played Major League Baseball, with Kirk Nieuwenhuis competing in his second season with the New York Mets, while Stephen Vogt was a postseason hero for the Oakland A’s after hitting a walk-off RBI single to lift the A’s to a 1-0 win over the Detroit Tigers in the American League Division Series.