this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
Spartanburg quarterback Jones gets offer from Michigan
What about Beaver/Newsome? This Jones guy is a rising junior. And this is how he got his offer:
Cornelius Jones hasn't played a down for the Spartanburg Vikings varsity football team yet, but Michigan has seen enough to offer him a scholarship.
The junior quarterback received his first offer Tuesday, after Vikings coach Freddie Brown sent the Big Ten school a five-minute video of Jones from a scrimmage.
That is a hell of a five-minute video. The article mentions that Jones hasn't played forSpartanburg in "a couple of years" because he "got in some trouble"... what kind of trouble can an eighth-grader get in? Don't answer that.
Burl Ives. The NHL draft approaches, and Red Line Report ranks incoming blueliner Brandon Burlon one of the top ten available. Okay, it's #10, but still:
Brandon Burlon rounds out Red Line's top 10 list. There's not much buzz about him, but we feel he'd be a solid choice anywhere after No. 20. He's got great feet and a mean edge. He's as fundamentally sound in his own end as any defender in the draft, and we think he's got some untapped offensive potential as well.
Yost Built has a little more on Burlon and notes Greg Pateryn is projected by one Sabres site as a potential fifth-round target. Not bad for a guy who was promised very little scholarship money.
Stones. Michigan's baseball team may have received some unexpected good news in the MLB draft, when two draft-eligible juniors fell to the fifth round. Jason Christian, rated at about the end of the third round, was picked by the As. He's widely expected to sign and the relatively small drop probably won't affect that.
Zach Putnam, however, has to be disappointed after he fell to the second-to-last pick of the fifth round after widely being projected as a sandwich pick or even a late first-rounder. Juniors usually sign because they lose their leverage if they return, but Putnam's drop might motivate him to return. Baseball America:
The Indians finally put Zach Putnam out of his misery, taking him with the penultimate pick of the fifth round. If the Indians put him in the bullpen, expect him to move quickly with his fastball-splitter mix. However, Putnam might prove to be a tough sign this low. Suffice it to say he's had an enigmatic career when it comes to scouts, who seem to like him less than his performance would indicate.
A recent change in the draft rules allows teams that draft college juniors to retain their rights until a couple weeks before the next year's draft. (High schoolers have to be signed by August 15th.) If Putnam thinks he's been shorted, he could return to Michigan in the hopes he has a wicked pissah of a senior year and either forces the Indians to shell out considerably above slot or watch him re-enter the draft (and hopefully go much higher). His situation bears watching, which is more than you could say before the draft.
Meanwhile, the Indians went Michigan mad, drafting Adam Abraham with the 411th pick and Nate Recknagel with the 591st. Cislo and Fetter were not drafted; Mike Powers went in the 31st round to the Mets. We'll know about everyone's fate by August 15th.
Raise a glass to the NCAA hockey rules committee. In marked contrast to the constantly blundering football committee, they've made every effort to improve the game. To wit, the rules changes for this year:
No change after an icing. As per the NHL rule that everyone loves.
Limited-application shootout. When I heard college hockey might be considering the addition of a shootout, I was pretty leery. The Pairwise is so jittery and shootouts are so random that instituting them would add even more weirdness to the NCAA's selection criteria. But this seems okay:
In a release from the NCAA today, it says the rules committee has voted to maintain the current game structure of 60 minutes, followed by a five-minute overtime, but individual conferences are allowed to use a shootout at their discretion.
The shootout could be used to award points towards the league race, though any game decided by a shootout would go into the record book for NCAA Tournament qualifying purposes as a tie.
I'm still not a big fan of the idea -- seems gimmicky -- but if those are the rules any grumbling I have is minor.
All games have two referees now. This one I'm not so sure of. The CCHA had zero competent referees at last count and will now have twice as many incompetent ones. OTOH, cutting down an incompetent ref's responsibilities should edge him towards competence, or at least consistency. We'll see how it goes.
All faceoffs are held on faceoff dots. This is a minor change but a good one. Those faceoffs right inside the blue line have always bothered me. Your reward for winning one is the puck outside of the zone and a dump-in. Now those will be from the proper dots inside the zone, and winning one will lead to a scoring chance. More chances == always good.
Only in Ohio. Ha-ha:
A Cleveland-area principal says he's embarrassed his students got proof of their "educaiton" on their high school diplomas.
Westlake High School officials misspelled "education" on the diplomas distributed last weekend. It's been the subject of mockery on local radio.
Etc.: You remember these?
Mike Barwis had one, and some wolves.
Continued from yesterday.
RHP Tyler Mills
Mills was Michigan's Gatorade player of the year and was the highest-rated recruit M picked up according to PerfectGame. Despite that, he may be the player with the least information available. High school stats:
The 6-foot-3, 200-pound senior right-handed pitcher started 6-1 with a 1.50 ERA, recording 75 strikeouts in 51 innings at the time of his selection and leading the Oilers (24-3) to a third consecutive Saginaw Valley League championship and a berth in the Division II postseason regional tournament. A returning First Team All-State selection, Mills, also an outfielder, had produced a .426 batting average, 33 runs scored, 30 RBI and five home runs through 27 games.
LHP Bobby Brosnahan
Brosnahan will almost assuredly redshirt after undergoing Tommy John surgery just seven innings into his senior season. That sounds like a sure way to use up a scholarship on a guy who's never going to contribute, but these days TJ surgery has a super-high success rate. It just takes forever to recover:
Tommy John surgery is considered one of the major advancements in sports medicine in the last quarter century. The New York Times reported in 2007 that the surgery has an 85 percent success rate and that one in seven pitchers in the major leagues had the surgery.
"I'm not worried about it. The surgery has been around for about 30 years ... they've got it down to a science," Brosnahan said. "Most of the guys they repair now come back stronger.
"Nobody likes to have it, but if you work hard through rehab you can come back better than ever."
Before the unfortunate pop in his elbow, Brosnahan had the requisite silly numbers, going 8-0 with an ERA of under one as a junior. Kentucky, Michigan State, and "some southern schools" were interested.
RHP Kevin VanGheluwe
VanGheluwe is also injured, and real scary-like:
"His (right) arm was discolored," Collins said. "It was like if you held it out of a car window and lost circulation. His dad (Mark VanGheluwe) took him to get examined and they gave him some medication to disperse the clot. He contacted (U-M coach Rich) Maloney and he told them to come immediately to U-Hospital. On Thursday, he had surgery to break up the blood clot and they said his muscles were pushing against the rib cage on that (right) side. I was told it was a normal case to remove that top rib on that side. And that was done Friday. Both were successful."
Jesus. As a junior, he had some wicked impressive stats:
VanGheluwe was 11-2 with a 0.79 ERA last season. He also hit .454 with 10 home runs and 55 RBI. He was named to The Detroit News first team All-Metro and to the All-State Dream Team by the Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Association.
High school stats are, as always, totally meaningless. But this guy from some little Michigan newspaper says...
He is one of the best prep baseball players I've ever seen (maybe the best) and here's hoping for a full recovery.
...and he's seen literally dozens!
Elsewhere, an Indians blogger who appears to know his drafting like whoah singled him out as a guy who might be an excellent late pickup:
6'2" and 205' and a University of Michigan signee he was all-state as a junior and had a 21-2 mark coming into his senior year but he had blood clots in his right arm and had a rib removed this off-season and so is out for the entire season.
Dude... rib removed... you don't think? Nah.
His coach, and a bit on his skillz:
"He's still growing," Kuppe said of the three-year starter. "I think what's most impressive is that he's gotten better all three years, and he's going to keep getting better."
The 6-foot-3, 190-pound ace has four pitches in his arsenal, including a fastball that he can dial up to 89 mph and a curveball that hits 79 mph.
Unlike Brosnahan, VanGheluve should be ready in the fall.
RHP Brandon Sinnery.
Michigan has now hit for the cylce at New England prep schools, picking up players in basketball (Courtney Sims and Kendrick Price), hockey (many; Max Pacioretty is the current hotness), football (Mike Cox), and baseball (Sinnery). Hopefully Sinnery is closer to Patch than Sims.
Though the other offers Sinnery received don't exactly seem impressive -- Vermont and Manhattan, with Elon and Florida Atlantic mentioned among the suitors in contact -- the articles on him state specifically that his scholarship is a full one. Baseball teams have only 11.7 scholarships to offer and often carry many more players than that*. A full ride is something usually reserved for the Putnams and Abrahams of the world.
PerfectGame.com rates him an 8.5 on their ten-point scale. 8 is "mid-round pick and definite D-I prospect"; 9 is "top ten rounds, top D-I prospect." Their scouting report:
Brandon Sinnery is a 2008 RHP from Worcester Academy, residing in Franklin, Massachusetts, with a 6'4"/170 pound frame. Lean and lanky frame, projectable body, short circle arm action, good arm speed, solid mechanics, FB [fastball] has life at 86 mph, solid CB [curveball] with bite at 71 mph, CH [changeup] has sink and fade at 74 mph, pounds the zone, good student
They rate him the #3 pitcher in Massachusetts. He is purported to have four pitches, and his mom likes him:
His pitching repertoire is impressive - a fastball in the upper 80s, along with a curveball, changeup and splitter. But his mother has been more impressed with the lessons he has learned off the mound.
"We've seen him lose with dignity, and seen him win in very difficult pressure situations," Donna said. "It's been interesting to see the life lessons that have come out of baseball."
A right handed pitcher for Worcester Academy (42K's, 7BB's, 0.88ERA, 5-1 record with 2 saves, 30 2/3 IP, 12hits), he was selected to the 1st Team All League-Central New England Prep School League.
"What sets Brandon apart from others who have talent is his determination, focus, and the ability to perform under pressure," said Peter Kostacopoulos, his 2007 Varsity Baseball coach. "These are the qualities that define success and give some athletes a competitive edge. I am sure that Brandon will continue to combine his baseball abilities with his personal qualities to ensure himself continued success in the future."
Maloney called him "wiry" and specifically said that he could be good "with development"; a redshirt may be in order.
I dunno, man, and it doesn't sound like anyone does, either. There does not appear to be a Putnam or an Abraham amongst the recruits, but they again locked down the best guy in the state and picked up three guys from elsewhere who should contribute.
Jeremy Gallon, an electron-sized wide receiver from Florida, has just committed to Michigan. He's the #74 prospect in the country to Rivals but only a three star (and the #132 player in the southeast) to Scout; other offers were from Auburn, Iowa, and a bunch of non-Big Three Florida schools. Informative update coming.
Informative Update: I'd actually gone out and collected items of interest on Gallon earlier this week after he named Michigan his leader in a Rivals article, so this is relatively quick.
At Apopka -- the Orlando Sentinel's #1 team in the state for 2008 -- he is a old-school single wing quarterback, which took a little getting used to:
"I was confused. I was like, no quarterback? What kind of offense is this?" Apopka running back Jeremy Gallon. "But then as the days went on and we started to play ... I started to like it."
He's variously listed as 5'8" or 5'9". Yes, he is another one of those guys.
Gallon has a super-weird disconnect between his Rivals rating, which is about as high as a 5'8" kid not named Noel Devine will ever get, and those offered up by Scout (as mentioned: meh) and ESPN. ESPN rates him a 77, also meh, and says($):
Ideally, he is a scatback/slot receiver/corner candidate with outstanding speed, quickness and change-of-direction skills. He is undersized, but compensates with his movement skills and toughness as an overall player. Has great feet and is really slippery as a runner-- is very tough to get a clean shot at.
The evaluation is can be summed up as "nice but electron-sized and thus limited." His offers -- Michigan, Auburn, Iowa, Kansas, and some others, no attention from the instate powers -- line up with the skeptical view.
Why is Rivals so high on him? This article gives an indication. Prepare for some gushing:
Rivals.com recruiting expert Barry Every got a chance to evaluate Gallon and loved what he saw.
"He's a cross between Noel Devine and Chris Rainey," said Every. "He's super quick, his change of direction is probably in the top 1/10th of the top 1 percentile. He's got good speed. He's magic with the ball in his hands. He could make a great punt returner. He could be receiver, cornerback and possibly a running back."
Jeepers. Some choice quotes from his coach:
"He really plays every position," Darlington said. "He plays quarterback for us but we run the single wing offense so our QB is really like a tailback. In 14 games though, he completed 65% of his passes. He was 6A [largest classification, btw -ed] player of the year in our area and he was runner-up in the state. He runs a 4.4 and he power cleans 300 pounds." ...
"Any college that's seen him has been flabbergasted by him," Darlington said. "But nobody has seen him. A lot of the bigger schools don't come by here, I guess because we're out here in the middle of the state."
Despite the limited recruitment activity, Darlington is sure that Gallon has high end potential and he should know. Darlington has coached players such as former Miami standout and current New England Patriot Brandon Meriweather.
"When he runs, he doesn't look like he's running very fast but nobody can catch him," Darlington said of Gallon. "He's very wiggly. He's a lot like Percy Harvin. He's got amazing hands. You can throw the football at him from anywhere and he catches with his fingers. He just snatches it out of the air like a baseball."
Percy Harvin, Noel Devine, and Chris Rainey: this serves as your explanation. A little more from his coach:
In Apopka's second-round playoff victory against Edgewater, Gallon rushed for 257 yards, caught a touchdown pass and covered Edgewater's best receiver the whole game.
"Jeremy Gallon may be the best player that's every played at Apopka," Darlington said of the school that was home to NFL players Warren Sapp and Brandon Meriweather.
And, what the hell, one more:
"This is the same staff that had (former North Fort Myers star) Noel Devine at West Virginia last year," Darlington said. "I think that's what they're thinking with Jeremy, to move him around and find different ways to get him the ball. He's a special athlete and he's a great fit for what they're going to do on offense."
Gallon is only 5-9, 165-pounds but is one of Apopka's strongest players. He led the team in six of eight categories and had the third highest point total in school history in the "Super-Darter" test, which measures strength, speed, agility and endurance. His led his team in the power-clean lift and had a 40-yard dash time of 4.38 seconds.
You get the idea.
Gallon is the second receiver to commit and will likely be joined by two or three more with Michigan thin on receivers during their transition to the spread 'n' shred; one of the two running back recruits will also get a look in the slot. He's Michigan's first commit from heavily-scoured Florida in this class and Michigan's fifth Rivals 100 recruit.
Now... uh... maybe some linemen or something? (TN OL Alex Bullard picks Friday but most expect it to be Tennessee.)
Baseball recruiting turns out to far more byzantine and arcane than football or basketball recruiting. There are thousands of players coming into college and no authoritative, free scouting service to cover it. Players can come in with as little as a quarter of a scholarship, and a huge number of top kids sign big-bucks contracts after the draft. Who has the top recruiting class? Ask on August 16th, the day after the deadline for major league teams to sign their draft picks. It won't be Michigan, or anyone in the Big Ten.
PerfectGame.com does have a primitive ranking where their top recruit is worth 1585 points, their number 1584 is worth one point, and you can extrapolate from there. The Big Ten according to them:
|Rank||College||Recruits||Total Points||Top Ranked Recruit||Ranked Top 200||Conference|
|49||Iowa||10||6857||Phil Schreiber||0||Big 10|
|72||Michigan||7||4017||Tyler Mills||0||Big 10|
|76||Michigan State||4||3783||Clayton Vanderlaan||0||Big 10|
|84||Illinois||5||3205||Corey Kimes||0||Big 10|
|108||Penn State||3||2300||Joey DeBernardis||0||Big 10|
|109||Indiana||4||2226||Blake Monar||0||Big 10|
|127||Minnesota||5||1483||Kurt Schlangen||0||Big 10|
|129||Purdue||6||1415||Joe Haase||0||Big 10|
|133||Ohio State||1||1350||Ross Oltorik||0||Big 10|
|192||Northwestern||3||205||Zachary Morton||0||Big 10|
Providing points per recruit here is pointless since no one knows exactly how many scholarship are being spent: Ohio State's one guy might be taking up a full slot and Indiana's four might all be on the minimum.
Some guidance from a couple guys who are more familiar with the scene then I am. First, Dan Kittell:
I assume you have seen the list of guys Maloney signed in the fall. [uh... now I have! -ed] lots of pitchers (one from Pioneer & one from Mass. they are high on, among others), a catcher from Cali and a couple SSs (one from TC, one from Ill who is ranked the #8 guy in the state, apparently). i wouldn't worry about finding out how good these guys are until the MLB draft in June. unless there is a Putnam-type kid (i don't think there is), there won't be much to read about. even if there is a putnam type kid, he would be a late rounder b/c they have signed w/ M and are probably firm commits (putnam was drafted out of HS IIRC, but was a late flyer pick by the local Tigers b/c he knew he wanted to go to M).
I think the usual mode of operations at this level is to sign pitchers w/ potential, RS them to develop their fundamentals and hope they come around by year 2-3. rules of thumb at this level: RHers w/ low 90s fastballs are a dime a dozen. they need other pitches (ZPs splitter, actually he throws 4-5 pitches for strikes according to maloney). ANY lefty that throws in the 90s is a good pitcher & most likely a high end guy.
As far as position players, they signed 2 SSs, so expect Christian to bolt. not sure
how to gauge position players at this level, unless they are obvious high end guys. Abraham was a hockey player, Reck started out at Oakland. guys who hit .450-.500 in HS are a dime a dozen, so it's hard to tell who the high end guys are until the draft.
A slight correction from Colin:
I think Dan was a little much with 90+ from RHP being standard. ~92 is average MLB from a RHP, iirc, so for the Big Ten it isn't quite that. But if the program is thinking of itself as a national power, then it needs a little more than Big Ten average. But Dan is right about secondary offerings. Everyone I saw out there yesterday had a hell of a time throwing anything but a fastball belt high for a strike. That has to change.
So bear all that in mind.
C Coley Crank
Kittell offered this up on Crank:
This catcher from Cali mightbe a good one... 6-2 220 or so and can hit for power. played on plenty of Cali HS all star travel teams i think. Size is the only thing (w/o the benefit of draft evals) that i can use as a gauge. Berset is a good player, but a 5-10 185lb catcher is not a good prospect at any level. Look for him to get pushed.
PerfectGame.com on Crank:
Coley Crank is a 2008 C from Pinole Valley HS, residing in Pinole, CA, listed at 5'11" 215 lbs. Body - strong, physical, stocky. Offense - 2 for 4 with a 2BL, 3 Rs in two games, strong, flat swing, physical, good present power, balanced, easy power, short swing, ball exits bat well, power to all fields, middle of order bat. Defense - ok arm, consistent pop times, simple technique, takes time, flashes competitive pop times.
That scouting report was from '06 and may be a little outdated. They gave him an 8 -- "solid D-I prospect, mid-round draft pick" on their ten point rating scale. Maloney echoes the assessment:
A catcher out of Berkeley, Calif., Crank is an all-league selection in both baseball and football, and will add power to U-M's lineup. He was named to the 2007 Junior Sun Belt Oklahoma All-Tournament team, and played in the 2007 Area Code Games in Long Beach. "Coley Crank is a really strong, young man," Maloney said. "He's six-foot, 220, just built like a house. He'll give us added depth at the catcher position, and provide a powerful bat in the middle of the lineup."
A possible replacement for Recknagel's power, it appears, and probably a guy who will see significant time as both a catcher and a DH.
SS John Lorenz
According to someone -- who, exactly, is never revealed -- Lorenz was the #8 prospect in Illinois this year:
An honor roll student, Lorenz is listed as the No. 8 player in Illinois' class of 2008 as a shortstop and is captain of both the baseball and basketball teams. As a junior, he set school records with 9 home runs and 45 RBIs while hitting .422 and was named MVP of the Griffins' conference and regional champion team.
"John Lorenz is an outstanding infield prospect. He has a strong arm, a good bat and is very athletic," Michigan coach Rich Maloney said.
Lorenz only looked at Big Ten schools, visiting a "plethora" of them before deciding on Michigan. Do you need more evidence Jason Christian is outta herrrre? Everything you need to know is encapsulated here:
Lorenz, who will automatically be entered in to the amateur baseball draft, has talked with several professional scouts and expects to be drafted. However, Lorenz will only forgo his freshman year at Michigan if the contract offered is substantial.
Meanwhile, the Griffin shortstop expects to get immediate playing time at Michigan as the Wolverines' current shortstop is expected to leave after this season to play professionally.
Lorenz was a three-sport star early in his high school career and only recently gave up serious travel basketball, so his skills are a little more raw than guys who've played every day. He may have more upside than most.
SS Kevin Krantz
Krantz is an instate kid with the usual insane stats (.475, 8HR, .848 slugging and .617 OBP) garnered against questionable competition: Krantz is from Traverse City. Though he was a D-I caliber pitcher (Michigan State recruited him there), he'll be a position player at Michigan:
"The recruited me solely as an infielder and a shortstop," Krantz said. "I feel my best position is shortstop."
There's another article that says basically the same things, with one more confirmation that Christian is gonzo:
Michigan has a returning junior at shortstop in Jason Christian. But Maloney told Krantz that he expects Christian to be a high draft pick next June and leave school early.
Is Jason Christian returning for his senior year? It's hard to tell.
Krantz doesn't have any accolades or rankings, and the articles on him specifically state his scholarship is a partial one. (That may be an artifact of his home state: if you're from California or Illinois tuition is like 30 grand.)