A star is rising on the CSUN baseball team: first baseman Dominic D’Anna was recently recognized by Baseball America as one of the top 220 college prospects in the nation.
“I was really excited when I heard,” D’Anna said. “I guess it’s a pretty prestigious list. It’s an honor.”
D’Anna, a junior, is returning to play baseball in the spring after a hand injury left him sidelined for the second half of the 2009 season.
“It was hard just sitting there all day not being able to play,” D’Anna said.
The offseason presented an opportunity for him to get back to 100 percent, health-wise.
“First and foremost I was just trying to rehab my hand,” he said.
To get back into shape, D’Anna played in his second summer ball league in Missouri, where he hit .350 and caught the eye of scouts looking for the best college talent.
During his summer in the Midwest, D’Anna was one of the top players in the MINK League, one of eighteen college leagues that Baseball America chooses its top prospects from.
The list also included the top 20 prospects from Team USA. D’Anna was one of eight athletes from the Big West Conference named to the list.
Playing in the major leagues has been a dream of D’Anna’s ever since he started playing at El Camino Real High School.
“It’s always been a thought in the back of my mind, but it’s become much more serious in the past year,” he said.
Asked if he models his game after any current major league players, D’Anna responded, “I don’t try to play like any one player. I do my best to be me.”
Being named to the list has not changed D’Anna’s outlook on the game and does not feel any added pressure to produce.
“I don’t really think about the big picture or let it get in my head. I just have to go out there and play.”
D’Anna’s presence will surely be a boost to the Matadors’ squad this year, which sorely missed his power and production during the second half of last season. His .326 batting average, 7 home runs, and 32 RBIs put him among the team leaders even though his season was cut short by the injury.
D’Anna has high expectations for the upcoming 2010 season.
“I’d like to have a high batting average, lots of RBIs and help my team score runs,” he said. “As a team, we’d like to make the NCAA tournament.”
Having D’Anna back in the lineup could allow CSUN to make a run at the College World Series. His powerful presence provides the team with an anchor on offense. D’Anna likes what he has seen in limited practices so far.
“There’s a lot of excitement,” D’Anna said when it came to the overall mood of the team this season. “We have a lot of good position players fighting for spots. I think we look pretty good, and that we’ll compete.”
With renewed health and hope, D’Anna is now on track to be one of the top performers in the conference. Northridge baseball fans hope this spring gives them a chance to watch him shine.