Just four points separate the three top teams in the 2016 edition of the Big 12 baseball preseason coaches' poll. TCU tops the poll with 57 points, while Oklahoma State is second with 55 and Texas sits third with 53.
All three teams earned three first-place votes marking the first time in conference preseason poll history that three or more teams have received multiple first-place votes.
The two-point separation between No. 1 TCU and No. 2 Oklahoma State is the closest in preseason history along with the 2011 poll, which separated Oklahoma and Texas by two points.
The Frogs claimed the Big 12 title in 2015 with an 18-5 conference mark. TCU advanced to its second straight College World Series after an appearance in 2014 when the Frogs also won the Big 12 postseason crown. TCU has earned multiple preseason top 25 rankings for the year, marking the seventh consecutive year the Frogs will be ranked entering the season. In 2016, the TCU returns 15 letterwinners and welcomes 18 newcomers. Mitchell Traver, a preseason All-American, headlines the returning corps, while National Gatorade Player of the Year Luken Baker highlights the incoming class.
Oklahoma State has appeared in the NCAA postseason each year under head coach Josh Holliday who has been at the helm since 2013. An OSU alum, Holliday has guided the Cowboys to an 127-57 mark in his short time in Stillwater which includes a conference championship in 2014 and an appearance in the Big 12 Championship finale each of the past two seasons. The Cowboys return seven starters from a year ago including All-Big 12 performers Corey Hassel, Ryan Sluder and Donnie Walton.
Texas, which joined Oklahoma State and TCU in the NCAA postseason last year, won its fifth conference postseason title in 2015. The Longhorns welcome back Tres Barrera, who led UT in batting a season ago, along with 2015 Big 12 Championship Most Outstanding Player Zane Gurwitz and sophomore pitcher Connor Mayes, who ranked ninth in the league in ERA in 2015. Recently enshrined in the ABCA Hall of Fame, Augie Garrido will embark on his 20th season with Texas.
Oklahoma earns its highest ranking since 2013, checking in at No. 4, while Texas Tech is fifth. West Virginia, Kansas, Kansas State and Baylor round out the sixth through ninth spots, respectively.
The preseason frontrunner has gone on to win the regular season on six occasions and the postseason title four times. A different league team has won each of the past five Big 12 titles with Texas the last team to repeat as regular season champions (2009-11). Since 2011, Baylor (2012), Kansas State (2013), Oklahoma State (2014) and TCU (2015) have each won the Big 12.
The 2016 season begins on Friday, Feb. 19, with conference play starting the weekend of March 18.
2016 BIG 12 COACHES PRESEASON POLL
|2.||Oklahoma State (3)||55|
First-place votes in parentheses. Coaches are not permitted to vote for own team.